Export Development Canada bows to concerns of large consulting engineers
Export Development Canada has conceded to concerns by the consulting engineering industry and others about its prop...
Export Development Canada has conceded to concerns by the consulting engineering industry and others about its proposed disclosure policies.
The export credit agency, which provides financial and insurance services to Canadian firms doing business overseas, had been proposing that information about the environmental impact of projects should be disclosed to the public 45 days in advance of any formal agreement. The requirement was to have applied to large “Class A” projects that have a potential major impact. Now the agency will simply try to encourage exporters to reveal the information, but will not require it as a precondition.
After the Auditor General of Canada reviewed and reported on the agency’s activities in 2001, EDC Canada began a program of reform and sought input from stakeholders and the public. Large consulting engineering firms said they were upset with the proposals on disclosure, declaring that the policy would put them at a disadvantage when competing with overseas firms for work. They asked EDC to wait until predisclosure was common practice among credit agencies in other countries who are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Though EDC has not implemented the requirement for advance disclosure of environmental information, it has already implemented a more rigorous framework for environmental reviews. Also EDC’s disclosure of approved projects has increased, and now it releases information on individual transactions on its website. Since the practice was implemented last October, only one project sponsor has refused to let the information be published.