Atradius DSB launches 'Green Label' to promote greater environmentally responsible export transactions

(Both ENDS, Amsterdam, 29 January 2021). Atradius Dutch State Business (ADSB) recently launched the so-called “Green Label”. This is a methodology to determine whether a transaction can be qualified as a green transaction. Such green transactions are eligible for export credit insurance with specific, more attractive terms and conditions:

  • Cover for up to 95% – in stead of the usual 70-90% – of the total value of project finance transactions;
  • Flexible acceptance criteria for small green transactions up to €5 million;
  •  Flexible definition of export, allowing cover for domestic transactions that have export potential in the long run.

The green label is also meant to be a tool to determine the share of green transactions in ADSB’s overall portfolio. Starting from 2019, ADSB annually reports on this.

Aligning itself with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Netherlands Finance Corporation for Developing Countries (FMO), ADSB reviews whether transactions contribute to:
    a) reduction of climate change (mitigation); or
    b) adaptation to the impacts of climate change; or
    c) reduction of ecological footprint beyond local legal requirements.
The Green Label distinguishes 11 categories of ‘green’ business, which in their turn have a total of 36 sub-categories. In an Annex to the document an overview – Green List – is provided of various types of business within each of these categories.

Depending on the intensity of the contributions of transactions to the environment or climate, they are identified as dark green, middle green or light green, but that does not affect their eligibility for the specific favourable terms and conditions for green transactions. The current Green Label will be valid for one year (to December 2021) and evaluated thereafter to ensure it incorporates further insights and developments.

It is observed that the Green Label aligns well with the EU taxonomy. However it is also noted that there can be differences between the two since the EU taxonomy is valid only for transactions within the EU, while ECA backed transactions are usually located outside the EU.

Both ENDS notes that this distinction between standards within the EU being different from the standards that ECAs may observe abroad is problematic, particularly where it relates to values and concerns that are universal. This is clearly the case where we need to address issues such as climate change, environmental standards or human rights.

Overall Both ENDS welcomes the Green Label as an effort to open up for further dialogue on the green qualifications of specific transactions. Many CSOs might question - for example - whether hydro dams for electricity, biomass, refurbishing thermal power plants or industrial farming should qualify for the label green, or instead a brown label.

Equally, we hope ADSB and other ECAs will prioritize effective instruments to put an end to support for transactions with obvious negative environmental and climate impacts, such as  transactions supporting the exploration and production chains of all fossil fuels. Following recent announcements by the UK government and the new Biden administration in the USA to phase out public support for fossil fuels, it becomes high time for all ECAs to follow suit.