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Export Credits Guarantee Dept: Sustainable Development

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Export Credits Guarantee Department is taking to promote environmental sustainability. (210846)

I have been asked to reply.

In its statement of business principles, published in December 2000, ECGD stated that its activities would

“take into account the Government's international policies, including those on sustainable development, environment, human rights, good governance and trade”.

ECGD set out in its case impact analysis process (CIAP) how it would assess the environmental and social impacts of the goods or services to be exported and the overseas projects for which it has received applications for support. This document describes ECGD's approach to assessing those impacts and states that projects which comply with the relevant international standards will normally be considered to be acceptable on environmental and social impact grounds.

In the ‘Sustainable Development and Human Rights’ section of its statement of business principles, ECGD stated that it would:

“press for the establishment of a multilateral framework of common guidelines for assessing environmental and social issues related to project implementation”.

ECGD played an instrumental role in securing agreement within the OECD in 2004 to the OECD Council Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (the Common Approaches). This recommends that OECD members, before taking decisions on officially supported export credits, should apply common approaches for identifying and evaluating the environmental impacts of projects and existing operations that benefit from officially supported export credits. The text of the Common Approaches was revised in June 2007; this brought the OECD recommendation closer into line with ECGD's existing practices.

In 2006, ECGD was also instrumental in obtaining agreement at the OECD on improvements in the terms under which OECD export credit agencies can provide support for exports to renewable energy projects.

The texts of ECGD's business principles and of its CIAP are available through ECGD's website:

www.ecgd.gov.uk.

The text of the 2007 Common Approaches is available from the OECD at:

http://webdomino1.oecd.org/olis/2007doc.nsf//Linkto/tad-ecg(2007)9.