Equator Principles

Project finance: The adoption of the Equator Principles reinforces KBC’s long-standing commitment to environmental and social responsibility in all its activities.

We officially adopted the Equator Principles - the leading financial industry benchmark for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risks in major industrial and infrastructure projects - on 27 January 2004. The Principles are based on well-established policies and guidelines issued by the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group) and the World Bank. KBC has integrated the Equator Principles directly into the KBC General Credit Policy. They are applied throughout KBC’s project finance business worldwide.
In line with the requirements of the Equator Principles, we provide financing or advisory services only when the borrower is willing to comply with the environmental and social processes and policies of these Principles. To this end, we have appointed an Equator Principles coordinator within each entity to act in concert with the central credit department, where ultimate responsibility for reviewing the environmental and social aspects of projects is located.
The latest update came into effect on 1 October 2020. It widened the scope of application of the Equator Prinicples and includes new commitments in relation to climate change, biodiversity, human rights and indigenous peoples. New commitments in relation to climate change include a specific reference to the Paris Agreement and the introduction of a climate change risk assessment by an independent consultant as a requirement for certain projects.Revised version of the Equator Principles

Project finance in 2021

Number of projects financed by risk category:

2021 Category A Category B Category C Total
Project Finance 0 5 4 9
Project Related Corporate Loans 0 0 8 8
Project Finance Advisory 0 0 0 0
Total 0 5 12 17

In 2021, KBC had 17 transactions under the Equator Principles (compared to 22 in 2020), no category A project (projects with potential significant adverse environmental and social risks and/or severe impact), 5 category B projects (projects with potential limited adverse environmental and social risks and/or impact that are less severe) and 12 category C projects (risks considered minimal and projects in legal compliance in the country of execution).

The Category A project requires strict monitoring of the environmental impact as well as reporting to the competent authorities, which is also included in the credit agreement. Furthermore, the project is required to its own monitoring and present the results to the Authorities, including the regional environmental protection agencies.

 Number of projects financed by sector, by region, by designated country and that received an independent review:

2021 Category A Category B Category C Total
Real Estate 0 0 8 8
Infrastructure 0 2 0 2
Power 0 3 4 7
Other 0 0 0 0
Europe 0 5 12 17
Africa 0 0 0 0
Designated Country        
Yes 0 5 9 14
No 0 0 3 3
Independent Review        
Yes 0 5 3 8
No 0 0 9 9
Project Finance Total 0 5 12 17

For an overview of projects please visit KBC Group N.V. (2020) - Equator Principles Association (equator-principles.com)

The reported statistics do not take account of small projects in the renewable energy sector with total investment costs below the 10 million US dollar threshold in both Belgium and Central Europe.

From 2020 onwards our Equator Principles reporting also include large real estate development and real estate re-development projects, however, limited to projects with investment costs exceeding 30 million euros.