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The Use of Environmental and Social Criteria in Export Credit Agencies' Practices


The Use of Environmental and Social Criteria in Export Credit Agencies' Practices

Export Credit Agencies’ Environmental Guidelines with Reference to the World Commission on Dams

This study surveys the environmental guidelines of eight OECD member states' export credit agencies. Special emphasis was given to the support of large dams; in this context, the study evaluates to what extent the recommendations made by the World Commission on Dams are reflected in the environmental and social guidelines.

The study seeks to determine inter alia:

  • the way in which (i.e. according to which criteria) project applications are assessed;
  • the role of stakeholder interest and involvement;
  • which information about projects should be accessible, and at which point in time this information should be made available.

The study comes to the conclusion that in recent years the ECAs from all countries examined have made significant progress with the integration of environmental and social interests in their lending practices. For instance, large projects are all subject to regular environmental assessments, which are either conducted by the ECAs or by an external environmental consultant. However, disclosure policy represents an issue where room for improvement remains. While a several ECAs have introduced ex-ante disclosure policies, others only publish information about decisions that have been taken. However, effective stakeholder participation can only be achieved if the public has access to detailed information well ahead of the final decision.

The study concludes with an overview of the impact of the World Commission on Dams on Export Credit Agencies and a series of suggestions as to how the WCD recommendations can be better integrated into the lending practices of ECAs.

The findings of the study have been summarised in a 54-page project report and is available for download.



Knigge, Makus; Benjamin Görlach; Ana-Mari Hama et al. 2003: The Use of Environmental and Social Criteria in Export Credit Agencies' Practices. A Study of Export Credit Agencies' Environmental Guidelines with Reference to the World Commission on Dams. Ecologic Institute, GTZ, Berlin/Eschborn.

Ana-Mari Hamada

Editor & Responsible: Frauke Neumann-Silkow

  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit (gtz), Germany
54 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

Executive Summary
1     Introduction
1.1      Background
1.2      Scope of the Study
1.3      Methods and Approaches
1.4      Preview of the Structure
2     Background to the Study
2.1      The World Commission on Dams
2.1.1   Composition
2.1.2   The WCD Framework for Decision-Making
2.1.3   WCD Framework Reactions
2.1.4   UNEP's Dams and Development Project
2.2      Export Credit Agencies
2.2.1   Export Credit Agencies and Dams
2.2.2   ECAs Defined
2.2.3   OECD Reform
2.2.4   Civil Society Critique
2.2.5   Existing Body of Research
3     Survey of Environmental Guidelines in Selected OECD Countries
3.1      Screening
3.2      Thresholds and Exemption Criteria
3.3      Monitoring of Compliance
3.4      Exclusion Criteria
3.5      Transparency and Information Disclosure
3.6      Public Participation
3.7      Environmental, Social and Corruption Guidelines
3.8      Overview Table
4     Experiences with Implementing Environmental Guidelines
4.1      Australia: EFIC
4.2      Canada: EDC
4.3      France: Coface
4.4      Germany: Euler Hermes
4.5      Japan: JBIC
4.6      Norway: GIEK
4.7      Switzerland: ERG
4.8      United Kingdom: ECGD
4.9      United States of America: Ex-Im Bank
5     Discussion and Analysis of Results
5.1      Overview of the Main Findings
5.2      The Impact of the WCD Recommendations
5.3      Transparency and Disclosure Policy
5.4      Costs of Incorporating Environmental and Social Aspects
5.5      Outlook and Perspectives
5.6      Limitations and Caveats
6     Conclusions
7     References
7.1      Literature
7.2      Additional Sources
7.3      Links