OECD countries have agreed to a recommendation that calls for stronger environment-related requirements for export deals to qualify for export credit backing from their governments’ export credit agencies (ECAs).


This latest recommendation, which replaces one agreed in 2003, requires OECD member governments to review projects for their potential environmental impacts and to benchmark them against international standards, such as those of the World Bank Group.


It also calls for more public disclosure of information, which will increase transparency for the most sensitive projects.  In addition, ECAs will exchange information more regularly in order to improve common practices and promote a level playing field between export credit providers.


Governments provide official export credits, through ECAs, to support national exporters competing for overseas sales. Most official export credit support involves insurance or guarantee cover for credits provided by private financial institutions. ECAs can be government institutions or private companies operating on behalf of government.


In 2005, the amount of business covered by such support was in excess of US$65bn.


The chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantees (ECG), Nicole Bollen, says this agreement “strengthens the environmental guidelines for ECAs and shows ECAs’ willingness to keep pace with improvements in environmental policies of other financial institutions”.