The Equator Principles

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The Equator Principles (EPs) is a risk management framework adopted by financial institutions for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects. It’s primarily intended to provide a minimum standard for due diligence and monitoring to support responsible risk decision-making.

The EPs apply globally to all industry sectors and to five financial products: 1) project finance advisory services, 2) project finance, 3) project-related corporate loans, 4) bridge loans and 5) project-related refinance and project-related acquisition finance. The relevant thresholds and criteria for application is described in detail in the scope section of the EPs.

The EPs are adopted and applied voluntarily by what’s known as ’Equator Principles Financial Institutions’, or EPFIs. In 2024 128 EPFIs in 38 countries have officially adopted the EPs, covering the majority of international project finance debt within developed and emerging markets.

The last review update of the EPs came into full effect as of 1 October 2020. Amendments and new commitments were made related to human rights, climate change, indigenous peoples and biodiversity. The scope of the EPs has also been extended to capture more project-related transactions. The final EP4 document and a summary of stakeholder input received during the consultation period, plus EPA’s response to those recommendations, can be found at

ING was one of the earliest adopters of the EPs in 2003 and served as chair of the Steering Committee from 2012–2014, where we played an important role in finalising EP III. ING was one of the process coordination for the review that resulted in EP4. We actively advocate and promote the EPs, as we recognise their ability to positively contribute to society.

ING has a well-established Environmental and Social Risk Framework (ESR Framework) that lists the standards we expect of clients and ourselves, including application of the EPs.

Applying the Equator Principles

As an Equator Principles Financial Institution (EPFI) we don’t provide project finance or project-related corporate loans to clients that are unable to or choose not to comply with the principles.

We also implement the EPs in our internal environmental and social policies, procedures and standards. These are embedded in our ESR framework, and require involvement of the following three banking areas:

  1. Front office: The departments that originate transactions and have direct contact with clients or sponsors.
  2. Risk managers: The departments that provide control over Front Office activities and generally can sign off on the environmental and social impacts for ’low-risk’ EP deals.
  3. Environmental and social risk: The dedicated department within risk management that assesses the environmental and social impacts associated with ’high-risk’ transactions.

The full text of the Equator Principles can be found on the Equator Principles website.

Please find ING’s most recent Equator Principles reporting on the Members & Reporting page of EP.

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