CSO Comments on Efic Policies and Procedures for environmental and social review of transactions

(Jubilee Australia, Sydney, 9 September 2016) The Jubilee Australia Research Centre and Oxfam Australia have submitted comments on Efic Policies and Procedures for environmental and social review of transactions prior to a 2016 government review. They note that, although Efic’s approach to addressing issues around environmental and social concerns does generally match that of other OECD Export Credit Agencies (ECAs), this unfortunately does not mean that the approach may be considered ‘international best practice’. They outline areas for improvement in relation to the standards that are used, the transparency of reporting, and accountability to affected communities and Australian taxpayers who directly or indirectly support Efic’s work. They add that Australia has long opposed the attempt to curb export credit financing of coal and other fossil fuels. Pressure from Australia and South Korea resulted in the November 2015 OECD agreement being much watered down. That agreement is insufficient for two main reasons. First, it includes coal but excludes other fossil fuels such as natural gas which also contribute to global warming. Efic itself was a financier of the massive PNG LNG deal in 2009. Second, analysis reveals other loopholes in that it leaves out financing for mining, transport and related coal infrastructure. They propose that Efic’s Policy on environmental and social reviews contain a clear statement that Efic will no longer support fossil fuel projects of any type, including all fossil fuel extractive projects and pipelines, transport infrastructure, etc. They further propose that Efic advocate amongst the OECD Export Credit Group to do the same.

Efic has announced that it is considering financing the development and construction of a new Category A project, the greenfields Boikarabelo coal mine and railway in South Africa which faced market concerns in 2015.