Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate sustainability is very important for Credendo. We conduct our business in a manner that is socially responsible and forward-looking, taking into consideration our impact on the environment, on society, on the economy, on our stakeholders and on our people. We pay attention both to the impact of our own activity (direct impact) and to the impact of the transactions we support (indirect impact), and these considerations are also reflected in our governance. We go further than the legally required obligations in order to act sustainably as a corporation. Discover more about Credendo’s corporate sustainability at this link.
Credendo – Export Credit Agency, working under the guarantee of the Belgian State, ensures that its activities are financially sustainable. The premiums collected from its insured companies shall be risk-based and shall be appropriate to cover long-term operating costs and losses. This commitment complies with the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (see the OECD website), and has been integrated into Council Directive 98/29/EC. Credendo – Export Credit Agency does not receive credits from the Belgian State budget.
Credendo – Export Credit Agency promotes responsible and sustainable business practices related to the environment, human rights, combating corruption and promoting sustainable lending to lower income countries.
Credendo will only take an insurance application into consideration if:
- the application is compliant with applicable national and international sanction regulations;
- the applicant (exporter or investor) conforms to the environmental and social national legislation;
- the project and transactions are compliant with local laws and regulations;
- Credendo receives all information requested to assess the environmental and social risks and impacts;
- Credendo considers that the environmental and social impacts are acceptable.
There will be no indemnity paid by Credendo if the insured does not comply with national and international legislation and regulations. Any projects covered by Credendo must obtain the related environmental permits approved by the appropriate authorities.
Credendo – Export Credit Agency promotes responsibility and sustainability both internally and in the transactions we cover. Credendo – Export Credit Agency promotes the environmental and social performance of its clients through projects that help to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the following:
- SDG 3: Good health and well-being
- SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
- SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
- SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
- SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- SDG 13: Climate action
Credendo – Export Credit Agency supports projects and exporters’ involvement in renewable energy, climate protection and water projects by offering special terms on the basis of OECD agreements. These may include credit periods of up to 18 years with flexible repayment terms to provide feasible project financing.
Credendo – Export Credit Agency supports projects in developing and emerging countries when they are economically feasible and compatible with development policy goals.
Credendo covers many projects that contribute directly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals: projects related to hospitals and public health infrastructure, drinking water, wastewater treatment, waste reduction and prevention, energy efficiency, renewable energy, electricity, information and communication technology, development of economic activities including sustainable tourism, road development and public transport, and climate change. For example, in Kenya, Credendo covered the supply and installation of wind turbines; in Zambia and Cameroon we supported drinking water supply projects; in Benin we covered dredging works aimed at coastal protection for the shoreline in Cotonou to address the impacts of climate change; and in South Africa and Chile we covered equipment for solar power towers.
Credendo – Export Credit Agency expects companies to operate as environmentally and socially responsible partners. We are in constant dialogue with the largest export companies in Belgium on how to promote sustainable and responsible business practices, and there is an ongoing evaluation process for the environmental and social management systems and management capacity of our clients.
For this reason, Credendo – Export Credit Agency assesses the environmental and social impacts of all transactions for which applications of cover are received. It also verifies that no human rights violations are implied. Credendo – Export Credit Agency takes into account the interests of both civil society and the export community, with commercial confidentiality, quick decisions and a level playing field for competitors being the primary concerns.
- Environmental and Social risk assessment framework
- Environmental and Social due diligence process
- Screening and Classification
- The basis of the impact analysis is inspired by the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence (The “Common Approaches”). This recommendation calls for environment-related requirements for export deals, in order for them to qualify for export credit support from the OECD countries’ Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). It requires these agencies to review projects for their potential environmental impact and to benchmark them against international standards, such as those of the World Bank Group.
- Credendo – Export Credit Agency has taken an active role in negotiations on the OECD Common Approaches. Based on the first text, which was approved in 2000, we drew up an environmental policy that came into effect on 1 January 2002. The text was revised for the last time in 2016, and the internal procedure was adapted accordingly.
- Credendo – Export Credit Agency regularly exchanges information with other OECD members to promote a global level playing field for officially supported export credits.
- Environmental impacts refer to the project-related impacts on the environment as a result of the construction and operation of the project. Social impacts refer to the project-related impacts on the local communities directly affected by the project, and on the people involved in the construction and operation of the project. These social impacts encompass the relevant adverse project-related human rights impacts.
- According to the OECD Common Approaches, only projects, goods and services that are directly linked to export projects with a credit period of two years or more are governed by these environmental rules. Credendo – Export Credit Agency has decided to extend the area of application for these rules and applies them to project-related cash transactions and investments as well.
- Exporters are encouraged to abide by the social standards mentioned in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, containing recommendations mainly about equal treatment, human rights, child labour and also the fight against bribery.
- In our environmental and social (E&S) due diligence process, we refer to national and international norms and standards to assess and address the risks and impacts on the environment and for the local population. There is a specific focus on climate change and biodiversity for the environmental aspects, and on the working conditions, the impacts on health and safety, resettlement, indigenous peoples, vulnerable groups and cultural heritage for human rights aspects.
- Credendo – Export Credit Agency uses the Performance Standards (PS) of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) to assess the risks and impacts related to the environment and human rights, and to ensure that the project for which the insured is applying is performed according to higher international standards:
- Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts (PS1)
- Labour and Working Conditions (PS2)
- Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention (PS3)
- Community Health, Safety and Security (PS4)
- Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement (PS5)
- Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources (PS6)
- Indigenous Peoples (PS7)
- Cultural Heritage (PS8).
Apart from transactions related to defence, all applications submitted to Credendo – Export Credit Agency that are related to a sensitive sector (forestry, energy, chemicals, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing, construction and food production) are classified:
- Category A: a project is classified as category A if it has the potential to have significant adverse environmental impacts. Category A, in principle, includes projects in sensitive sectors or located in or near sensitive areas;
- Category B: a project is classified as category B if its potential environmental impacts are less adverse than those of category A projects. Typically, these impacts are site-specific, and few, if any, are irreversible;
- Category C: a project is classified as category C if it is likely to have minimal or no adverse environmental impacts;
- Category N: a transaction is classified as category N if it does not relate to a ‘project’ (an identified location) or to a sensitive sector.
- Credendo – Export Credit Agency reviews not only the potential impacts of the projects, but also the measures that can be taken to prevent, minimise, mitigate or remedy adverse impacts and/or to improve environmental and social performance of the projects through an environmental and social impact assessment report (ESIA) and management and action plans. We also use specific questionnaires that must be filled in by the exporters and information databases focusing on environmental and social risks.
- If Credendo has received the information requested and if the environmental and social impacts are acceptable, the application will be taken into consideration. In some cases, conditions can be added to the insurance policy contract on how to prevent, mitigate and manage the impacts. Subsequently, a monitoring process is put in place to check that the conditions are met by the insured (through the delivery of monitoring reports).
Transactions under review
- If a transaction is placed under category A, the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and project details will be made available to the general public at least 30 days prior to the day that the offer of cover or the insurance policy is issued.
- Exceptions can be made if the ESIA contains confidential information.
- This section contains transactions in categories A and B where a policy has been issued.
Implementation of the general anti-bribery and corruption principle
In parallel with the development of the 1997 Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the OECD has taken several initiatives to promote responsible business conduct. For more information on these initiatives, see http://www.oecd.org/corruption/.
One of these initiatives is the development of the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. These guidelines contain far-reaching recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries, and provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in areas such as employment and industrial relations, human rights, the environment, information disclosure, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation.
Implementing these recommendations can help enterprises to avoid and address adverse impacts related to workers, human rights, the environment, bribery, consumers and corporate governance that may be associated with their operations, supply chains and other business relationships. This is highly encouraged by Credendo.
The OECD has also developed the Recommendation on Bribery and Officially Supported Export Credits (hereafter the “Recommendation”), to help deter bribery in export transactions. Through the adoption of this Recommendation, Credendo – Export Credit Agency has committed to take appropriate measures to support the fight against bribery and corruption. This Recommendation applies to transactions from all types of official export credit support.
In accordance with this Recommendation, the exporter must certify, among other things, in a specific self-declaration form, that neither they nor any natural or legal person acting on their behalf have been engaged or will engage in bribery and that any commissions and fees paid, or agreed to be paid, can be for legitimate purposes only.
The applicant must also state that they, and any other natural or legal person acting on their behalf (such as agents), do not appear on the debarment lists of the major international financial institutions, and comply with the international and national legislation prohibiting bribery.
The applicant must declare that neither they nor any other natural or legal person acting on their behalf within the framework of the transaction (such as agents):
- are currently involved in criminal proceedings in any court or formally under investigation by public prosecutors for the violation of laws against bribery of any country, and/or
- have been convicted in the last five years for any violation of laws against bribery of any country, been subject to equivalent measures or been found to have engaged in bribery as part of an arbitral award.
The applicant also acknowledges that they will forfeit their rights under the insurance policy and will be required to pay back any compensation received in the event of a false declaration and any breach of national or international legislation related to bribery by themselves or any other person acting on their behalf in relation to the above-mentioned transaction.
As a general principle, Credendo – Export Credit Agency will decline support for a transaction if it concludes, after having assessed the transaction concerned, that bribery or corruption was involved in the transaction, or if the requested self-declaration was not provided by the exporter or other relevant parties.
If there is a credible allegation or evidence for acts of corruption in the award or execution of the export contract, Credendo – Export Credit Agency will report such information to the judicial authorities.
Discover Credendo's corporate responsibility via this link.
What if you notice inappropriate behaviour or you are not satisfied with our service?
Although we aim to provide a service with all required diligence and professionalism, with respect for honesty and business ethics, compliance with any laws, rules, regulations and the best practices of our sector, there may be circumstances where you believe our behaviour was inappropriate or where you are not satisfied with our service.
We value your opinion, which will help us to improve our service and to resolve any compliance issues that may exist.
You can contact your usual contact person to let us know that you have noticed an issue or are not satisfied. If you feel that action is required on a higher level or that the issue is too sensitive to resolve with your normal contact person, you can contact our Compliance department directly (see below How to report a compliance issue or file a complaint?).
How to report a compliance issue or file a complaint?
To ensure that our Compliance function can treat the issue you reported or your complaint and find a suitable solution, we invite you to send us a description of the issue or complaint and include your contact details:
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by letter: Credendo – Export Credit Agency
Attn. The Compliance Officer
rue Montoyerstraat 3
by phone: on 02/788.88.00 – ask to speak to the Compliance Officer