Société Générale has announced it has adopted the Equator Principles, a voluntary set of guidelines for the management of environmental and social issues in project finance.
The scheme was introduced under the guidance of the World Bank and the IFC in 2003, and so far 50 international banks have implemented the voluntary procedures.
This decision to apply the principles follows on from the bank’s major internal programme launched in 2004 to standardise social and environmental analysis procedures.
It is already adhering to other international guidelines, including the United Nations Global Compact, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the private sector, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the responsible Investment Principles.
Société Générale is highly active in the project finance market, and last month was mandated to join a consortium of banks to raise €1.2bn to fund the Ilisu Dam hydroelectric plant in Southeast Turkey. However, this project has raised concerns among lobby groups and NGOs who are worried about the dam’s impact on the region’s environment, local populations and nearby historical sites.
The last bank to sign up to the Equator Principles was BankMuscat, which announced its decision in mid-August. It is also the first bank from across the Middle East region to adopt the principles. It also joined the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the private sector.