IB Becomes the First Chinese Bank to Adopt the Equator Principles
( Beijing , October 31, 2008) In an announcement made today, the Industrial Bank, one of China's leading commercial banks, publicly pledged its commitment to the “Equator Principles”. With this announcement, the Industrial Bank has become China's first “Equator Bank”. In being the first to introduce this advanced international mode, the Industrial Bank has taken the lead among national commercial banks in the enhancement of environmental and social risk management, the promotion of rational and sustainable development. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and whose Safeguard Policies and Performance Standards form the basis of the Equator Principles, has supported Industrial Bank's adoption of the principles.
The Equator Principles (EPs) are a voluntary set of benchmarks for judging, assessing and managing environmental and social risks related to the projects financing. They are based on the sustainable development policies and guidelines of the IFC. The principles advocate that financial institutions take the social and environmental factors involved in project financing into serious consideration and erect the minimum benchmarks for social and environmental factors in project financing that can be put into international practical use. The Equator Principles are a landmark in the history of global financing as they act as a roadmap for the sustainable financing of banks all over the world. So far, over sixty financial institutions from across the globe have adopted the Equator Principles, and the project financing of these banks represents 85% of the world's project financing total. However, before today's announcement by the Industrial Bank, no Chinese bank had announced adoption of the principles.
At a celebration following the announcement, Industrial Bank President Mr. Li Renjie stated that putting Scientific Outlook on Development into practice, deepening the understanding of the relationship between the social responsibility of a bank and its sustainable development, and probing numerous ways of driving the Bank to fulfil its social responsibilities to create harmony between man and nature, environment and society are inseparable parts of the Bank's corporate governance philosophies and development strategies. He went on to say that as the pioneer of resource saving “green credit” in China , the Industrial Bank is no stranger to sustainable finance. The tenet of sustainable finance adhered to by the Equator Principles accords to the tenets of the Industrial Bank. The adoption of the principles will represent the further integration and fine tuning of the sustainable finance system currently existing in the Bank, and will allow the Bank to practice its social responsibility on a much deeper level and wider scope than in the past. Bank President Mr. Li Renjie expressed gratitude for help from IFC policies and access to the organization's experiences that was offered to the Bank in the process of preparing for and confirming its adoption of the principles, and expressed hope that the two organizations would be able to cooperate further in sustainable finance.
IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Lars H. Thunell congratulated the Bank, saying that it had taken another major step towards becoming a “Green Bank”. He stated that the IFC would continue to offer strategic advice and technical assistance to the Industrial Bank as it implements the Equator Principles, which will help the Bank enhance its competitive edge and the long-run value of the institution as well as its clients . Working with the Chinese government to develop green credit policies, the IFC is devoted to helping more Chinese financing institutions achieve sustainable development. Lars Thunell also praised the involvement of EPFIs in supporting IB's decision and capacity building.
Leadership from the People's Bank of China, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Environmental Protection attended the ceremony and congratulated the Industrial Bank on becoming the first “Equator Bank” in China . They also applauded the efforts that the IFC has made to promote green credit in China and called on more Chinese financial institutions to orient their operations around Scientific Outlook on Development , adopt advanced international practices in the management of environmental and social risks in financing project and practice green credit in the interests of achieving sustainable development. Furthermore, two representatives from the EPFI Steering Committee attended the ceremony and congratulated IB namely Mizuho and Itaú BBA.TOP