EDC

EDC releases environmental and disclosure practices

May 30, 2002

Export Development Canada (EDC) has released revised policies governing its environmental and disclosure practices following a 60-day comment period.

OTTAWA — May 30, 2002 — Export Development Canada (EDC) has released revised policies governing its environmental and disclosure practices following a 60-day comment period.

“Public consultations indicated that we have succeeded in developing strengthened and objective environmental review procedures and disclosure practices,” says EDC president and CEO A. Ian Gillespie. “We believe we have one of the most comprehensive and responsible environmental and disclosure regimes among the world’s export credit agencies.”

EDC began public consultations on strengthening its environmental review practices in August 2001, and on designing its disclosure policy in September 2000. Advice and comments were sought from a range of interested and affected parties, including exporters, business and trade associations, non governmental organizations and the public. More than 150 groups and individuals participated through submissions or appearances at hearings. A summary of the comments and EDC’s response is available on EDC’s web site (www.edc.ca).

EDC’s Environmental Review Directive (ERD) establishes objective and systematic processes EDC must follow in conducting environmental reviews of projects in which the corporation is considering providing financing or political risk insurance services. As a result of public comments, the ERD now provides greater clarity on how EDC will implement the directive and reinforces the objectives of the policy.

The Environmental and Social Reporting section of EDC’s disclosure policy has also been modified.

As a result of feedback, EDC will not, at this time, require advance disclosure of environmental impact information as a precondition of providing services for Category A projects, those which are likely to have significant environmental impacts. EDC will encourage project sponsors to voluntarily release this information, and will also seek consent from sponsors of Category A projects to inform the public when EDC is asked to consider providing financing and political risk insurance services.

Exporters told EDC during consultations that advance disclosure should not be implemented until it is a common practice among most export credit agencies. EDC will continue to show leadership within the OECD on this issue.

“We believe we have achieved a balanced approach. As a result, EDC will be better able to properly fulfill its mandate of supporting exports and trade,” says Mr. Gillespie.

Under its disclosure practices, EDC now releases quarterly aggregate information; information on individual transactions; and information on heavily indebted countries that have borrowed from EDC.

As a result of public comments, EDC will also expand its reporting on individual transactions to indicate which international environmental standards were used to review Category A project-related transactions.

“New disclosure measures such as these continue to demonstrate our commitment to transparency and accountability,” says Mr. Gillespie. “To ensure we build on these commitments, we have created the ombudsman-like position of compliance officer to ensure the integrity of these types of policies and practices.”

EDC provides trade finance and risk management services to Canadian exporters and investors in up to 200 markets. Founded in 1944, EDC is a Crown corporation that operates as a commercial financial institution.

For more information , please contact: Rod Giles, EDC Media Relations

Backgrounder

The evolution of EDC’s environmental and disclosure policies

January 1998: Launch of comprehensive mandate review by the Government of Canada which strongly endorsed EDC’s mandate, role, strategic direction and commercial principles.

April 1999: Environmental Review Framework, which formalized EDC’s environmental review processes, implemented following public consultation and review.

December 1999: Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade recommends that the Government of Canada review EDC’s Environmental Review Framework.

June 2000: Cross Canada public consultations held to help guide the development of a draft Disclosure Policy.

June 2000: Auditor General asked by Government of Canada to review EDC’s Environmental Review Framework.

May 2001: EDC posts its draft disclosure policy for public comment.

May 2001: EDC accepts the recommendations contained in the Auditor General’s Report and makes commitment to address the recommendations through an improved environmental review policy and strengthened internal operating procedures.

August 2001: Stratos Inc., a consulting company hired by EDC to develop and carry out a multi-stage consultation process, launches public consultations on potential revisions to EDC’s ERF.

September 2001: Yolanda Banks, Corporate Social Responsibility advisor, appointed to engage non governmental organizations on EDC’s policies.

October 2001: Disclosure Policy implemented significantly increasing the amount of information released by EDC. Using EDC’s web site as a reporting tool, D1 and D2 were launched under “Corporate Reporting.” D1 provides quarterly aggregate information and D2 provides information on individual transactions. This section of the web site also provides information on Canada Account transactions and EDC loans to heavily indebted poor countries.

October 2001: Advisory Council of prominent leaders established to provide advice on best practices for Corporate Social Responsibility issues.

October 2001: Art FitzGerald appointed to the new position of chief environmental officer, strengthening what is already one of the largest teams of environmental specialists and engineers among export credit agencies in the world.

December 2001: Proclamation of revised ED Act into law on December 21, 2001 resulting in two key amendments: 1) a new name for the corporation (Export Development Canada) and, 2) a legal requirement to review the environmental impacts of projects under EDC’s Environmental Review Directive.

December 2001: The Agreement on Common Approaches to the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credit, was implemented by 25 of the 27 Export Credit Group Members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

January 2002: EDC’s first compliance officer, Alison C. Lawford LL.B., LL.M., appointed.

March 2002: 60 day comment period on EDC’s ERD and Environmental and Social Reporting Section of EDC’s Disclosure Policy ends with EDC receiving 18 submissions from customers,business associations, non-governmental organizations and Canadians.

May 2002: public release of finalized Environmental Review Directive and Environmental and Social Reporting Section of EDC’s Disclosure Policy.

EDC provides trade finance and risk management services to Canadian exporters and investors in up to 200 markets. Founded in 1944, EDC is a Crown corporation that operates as a commercial financial institution.

For more information , please contact: Rod Giles, EDC Media Relations

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