Export Credit Norway focuses its corporate responsibility work on areas where the company is most exposed to risk and is most likely to have an effect. Environmental and social aspects of the company’s loan transactions are of primary concern, as are measures to combat corruption. Well-founded credit assessments and loan monitoring, along with ethics, integrity and the right kinds of expertise, are key aspects of Export Credit Norway’s approach to social responsibility.
Sound international guidelines are a basic condition for responsible export financing. Export Credit Norway intends to be an effective proponent of sensible framework conditions, especially in the work of the OECD and the development of its “Common Approaches”. Export Credit Norway is also a member of the Equator Principles Association, where more than 94 banks from 37 countries cooperate to identify, assess and manage risks related to environmental and social issues in project finance and large-scale corporate lending.
Category A and Category B projects
Export Credit Norway wishes to promote sustainable solutions and ensure that the contracts/projects we finance take account of environmental and social conditions.
Responsible management of a project’s environmental and social risks is integral to Export Credit Norway’s lending operations and its approach to processing loan cases. Projects under review in categories A and B appear at the top of this page. Thereafter come projects that have progressed further in the execution phase, and finally projects for which a loan has been disbursed.
Abul Khair Group- 75 MW gas-based power plant
Abul Khair Group operates, among other businesses, two steel mills in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The company has entered into a contract with Bergen Engines AS to purchase 8 gas engines that each generates approx. 9 MW. The engines will supply the steel mills with energy for the operations and compensate for lack of stability on the public grid.Read more
AGUA FRIA Solar Energy Project in Honduras
Export Credit and GIEK will participate in the financing of the AGUA FRIA solar energy project in Honduras. Scatec Solar, the EPC contractor, is responsible for executing and delivering the project, as well as for operation and maintenance services after completion.Read more
The Norwegian Penal Code contains corruption provisions pertaining to Norwegian companies, and is a natural starting point for Export Credit Norway’s anti-corruption efforts.
Export Credit Norway aims to prevent corruption associated with export contracts by distributing information as well as by demanding that the exporter, and sometimes the applicant, provide information and statements. It also includes anti-corruption conditions in its loan agreements.
Export Credit Norway seeks to develop a common understanding and set of processes, both within its own organisation and among the export credit institutes, so that Norwegian and foreign exporters will be able to compete on an equal basis.
Export Credit Norway adheres to OECD guidelines for responsible lending in order to prevent developing countries from taking on unsustainable debt.
Export Credit Norway investigates whether financing offers to public buyers/publicly guaranteed buyers in low-income countries are within the public borrowing limits agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, and that the borrowing otherwise accords with the long-term development plans of the country in question.
The guidelines bolster the efforts of the IMF and World Bank to keep developing countries from re-accumulating sizable foreign debts, now that debt loads have returned to acceptable levels under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief (MDRI) initiatives.
Export Credit Norway strives for transparency and openness around the transactions to which the company contributes financing.
The information associated with a given transaction includes the industry, exporter, borrower, project country, loan amount and category of environmental and social risk. We also publish quarterly information on applications received, lending portfolio figures and order backlog.
Export Credit Norway encourages everyone to report circumstances that could threaten the company’s finances, integrity or reputation. Employees and external parties alike can use Export Credit Norway’s whistleblowing channel.
Export Credit Norway encourages employees who may wish to blow the whistle in connection with a compliance breach or other concern to discuss the matter first internally, if appropriate given the nature of the case.
Examples of events suitable for whistleblowing:
- Suspicion of financial irregularities
- Suspicion of other unlawful conditions
- Breach of HSE rules (health, safety and environment)
- Actions that violate core Export Credit Norway values
- Suspicion of unlawful or objectionable conditions in transactions involving Export Credit Norway
How is a whistleblowing alert submitted?
There are three ways to submit:
- Fill out a form
- Send an email to the whistleblowing channel: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send a letter to PwC: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Attn. Marianne S. Pilgaard, Postboks 748 Sentrum, N-0106 Oslo
The Equator Principles
Export Credit Norway has adopted the Equator Principles, a risk management framework used by member financial institutions to assess environmental and social risks in project finance and large-scale corporate lending.
The Equator Principles provide guidelines for identifying, assessing and managing environmental and social risks associated with project finance and large-scale corporate lending. More than 94 banks in 37 countries, including leading global banks in project finance, have officially adopted the Equator Principles since their inception in 2003. The principles are applied in connection with project finance, but also consulting, bridge finance and corporate lending for specific projects.
Export Credit Norway also follows the OECD recommendation on “Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence”. The Equator Principles are in large part congruent with the OECD’s Common Approaches.
In 2018, none of the new loans that Export Credit Norway disbursed met the criteria for reporting under the Equator Principles. The principles do not apply to financing of mobile units such as ships and mobile offshore units, or to loans of less than USD 10 million. However, Export Credit Norway aims to ensure that all projects that receive its financing are carried out in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and that the Equator Principles are applied where applicable.
OECD’s sector agreement on renewable energy and climate technology
In all its lending Export Credit Norway complies with the “Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits”. A separate sector understanding for projects in renewable energy and climate technology allows for somewhat more favourable terms than the main arrangement does.
The OECD Arrangement includes several sub-agreements containing special terms for different sectors, including a sector understanding for projects in renewable energy, climate technology and water projects (“Sector Understanding on Renewable Energy, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, and Water Projects”). For such projects the sector understanding permits more favourable terms, including loan periods of up to 18 years and more flexible repayment structures. The purpose is to offer special incentives to climate-friendly projects.
OECD sector understanding on coal-fired power plants
The OECD Arrangement also includes a separate sector understanding on financing for coal-fired power plants.
The understanding came into force in January 2017 and means that public-sector export financing for the most emissions-intensive coal-fired power plants will no longer be permitted. Certain exceptions are made for financing exports to countries with special energy needs and to the poorest countries. There has been no change in the ability to finance the most efficient coal-fired power plants and those with functioning carbon capture and storage systems. The purpose of the understanding is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide incentives to invest in more efficient and environmentally friendly power plants.
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are important guidelines for sound business conduct.
- These guidelines are recommendations made by the adhering governments to companies with international operations. The guidelines provide sound principles and standards of business conduct consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards. They cover everything from public disclosure of information to human rights, employment, environmental protection, bribery and extortion, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation. All OECD countries and other countries that have voluntarily embraced the guidelines are obligated by international law to establish a National Contact Point to promote the guidelines, address queries and requests about them, and help resolve complaints about how enterprises are living up to the guidelines. If dialogue and mediation are impossible in connection with a reported guideline breach, the National Contact Point shall publish a final statement on the complaint. These National Contact Points are the only internationally recognised appeal bodies of their kind. In accordance with the Common Approaches, Export Credit Norway is obligated to consider statements and reports issued by the National Contact Point when processing financing applications.Export Credit Norway urges all its customers and partners to familiarise themselves with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, as well as to follow them.Useful links:
Export Credit Norway shall have core values and a culture that help us maintain high ethical standards in our work.
Potential ethical dilemmas are discussed regularly to raise our awareness and bring about agreement on ethical guidelines and improvements. We shall be reliable, we shall act with integrity, and we shall exercise good judgment.
Consideration of environmental and social factors in loan cases
All financing applications received by the Export Credit Norway are categorised, evaluated and followed up in accordance with an assessment of the project’s social and environmental risks.
Applications are classified into three different categories: A, B or C. These categories represent a risk assessment of the environmental and/or social consequences of completing the project. Cases seen as having high environmental risk and/or high risk of negative social consequences are categorized as A projects. Cases in category B are regarded as medium risk, while the risk of environmental and social factors being inadequately addressed is considered low in category C.
Generally, all transactions in category A and B will be subject to specific follow-up requirements. Especially in the construction phase, action plans to reduce environmental and social risks are likely to be required, and will be linked to further loan disbursement. As with all other steps in the process, the estimated severity of adverse effects will be a decisive factor in determining which measures it is appropriate to carry out. The loan agreement may require particular measures and remediation of non-conformances within an appropriate time period. Failure to remedy in the agreed period could lead to a halt or delay in loan disbursement. At worst, a default situation could result.
The Responsible Ship Recycling Standard (RSRS)
Export Credit Norway signs up to the Responsible Ship Recycling Standard.
The objective of the standard is to encourage more industry actors to commit to responsible ship recycling in accordance with international conventions (e.g. the Hong Kong Convention) and EU regulations. Although several shipping companies have already adopted policies for sustainable dismantling of their vessels, many ships continue to be scrapped on beaches, primarily in Southern Asia. The human and environmental impacts of these activities are severe.
The Responsible Ship Recycling Standard was initiated by the Dutch banks ABN Amro, ING and NIBC. Shipping companies that borrow from participating banks must have a so-called “green certificate” for their vessels. This certificate gives an overview of hazardous components incorporated into the funded ship’s equipment and structures. The green certificate improves safety for both crew members during a ship’s operating life and the workers who later dismantle the vessel. A further aim is to minimise negative environmental impact from the recycling process. Shipping companies are also expected to prepare a general policy on ship scrapping within a year after loan disbursement.
“Export Credit Norway is pleased to join the Responsible Ship Recycling Standard. We want to raise awareness of the problem of beaching. Its severe environmental effects and the health and safety consequences for those performing the work” says Export Credit Norway’s sustainability manager, Fanny Fabricius Bye.
The environmental organisation Bellona regards the initiative as an important step towards more sustainable practices:
“Ship scrapping is an unavoidable part of global freight operations. The initiative by these banks to address the environmental and human risks involved is highly appreciated.”
For questions, please contact:
Fanny Fabricius Bye
Project and Loan Administration
Director of Project and Loan Administration
Project and Loan Administration