Swedbank adopted the Equator Principles in 2019. By following and supporting the Equator Principles Swedbank ensures that projects the bank finance and advise are developed in a manner that are socially responsible and reflect sound environmental management practices.

The process
When a transaction in Swedbank is identified that is subject to the Equator Principles, a nine-step process shall be followed.

1) Members from the business areas, sustainability and risk unit are appointed for an internal Equator Principles Reviewing Team (EPRT). The team determines if the project falls within the scope of the principles.

2) The EPRT categorises the underlying project A, B or C. This categorisation refers to a potential spectrum of environmental and social risks and impacts, from significant (category A), limited (category B), to minimal or non (category C).

3) For all Category A and Category B Projects, the EPRT reviews if the client has conducted an Assessment process to address the relevant environmental and social risks and impacts of the proposed Project. The Assessment Documentation should propose measures to minimise, mitigate, and offset adverse impacts in a manner relevant and appropriate to the nature and scale of the proposed Project.

4) The fourth step is for the EPRT to review the Project’s compliance with social and environmental standards. The standards of assessment are determined by where the Project is located, whether it is in a so-called Designated Country or not, wherein a Designated Country refers to those countries deemed to have robust environmental and social governance, legislation systems and institutional capacity designed to protect their people and the natural environment. For a Non-Designated Country, the EPRT assesses the Project’s compliance with the following international environmental and social standards, such as IFC Performance Standards and World Bank EHS Guidelines, which are further described in the EP. For Projects located in Designated Countries the EPRT assesses compliance with national laws and regulations.

5) For all Category A and Category B Projects, the EPRT assesses if the client has prepared, developed or maintained an environmental and social impact assessment, system and/or plan. In addition, the EPRT also assesses that the Project’s stakeholder dialogues and its grievance mechanisms comply with the principles.

6) For all Category A and B Projects, the EPRT review whether an independent social or environmental expert has independently assessed the Project’s compliance with the Equator Principles.

7) In line with the normal credit process the credit committee decides whether or not a credit limit can be granted, whereby the Equator Principles assessment shall be part of the documented analysis. The credit decision should include covenants for Equator Principles compliance. The client shall be compliant with the principles in order to receive finance.

8) For all Category A and B projects, the EPRT assesses that an independent monitoring of the Project is accomplished by the client.

9) For all projects, Swedbank reports and discloses details of transactions subject to the Equator Principles