Since their launch in 2003, the Equator Principles were based on existing environmental and social policy frameworks established by the International Finance Corporation. There are now more than 118 financial institutions in 36 countries who have officially adopted the Equator Principles, covering over 70 percent of international Project finance debt in emerging markets.
The Equator Principles is a risk management framework, that facilitates the process of determining, assessing, and managing environmental and social risk in project finance. It provides a minimum standard for due diligence to support responsible risk decision-making.
The framework recognises the importance of climate change, biodiversity, and human rights, and advises that negative impacts on project-affected ecosystems, communities, and the climate should be avoided where possible. If these impacts are unavoidable then the process considers how they can be minimised, mitigated, and/or offset.
Regularly large infrastructure projects, whilst solving an issue, also delivered significant negative impacts on local people, their environment and associated businesses. Financiers and consultants were so focused on the project’s investment process that they sometimes failed to assess and manage the potential environmental and social risks in a structured way during the lifetime of the project.
This is a highly technical framework, that needed to be communicated globally, in a very human way. For organisations to make changes, and fully understand the principles we needed to develop a learning programme that would make an impact on individuals and produce lasting behaviour changes, thus preserving more indigenous people, native wildlife and natural environments.
Using our specialisms in storytelling drama, transforming organisational content into plain English and using psychological learning theory we approached this project strategically to develop a unique learning structure.
The learning tool has two modules, including two mini-documentaries and 25 minutes of drama. It’s an executive learning tool that comprises of nearly four hours of learning. All the content needed for the tool was carefully analysed, broken-down and reprised into a digestible programme, allowing learners to pause and save their progress and pick up the tool again when convenient.
It leads the learners through what the Equator Principles are, their relevance, impacts, and how to run projects alongside them. Our case studies, watercooler facts, narratives and quizzes all support every different type of learner digest, understand and apply their learnings in real life scenarios.
A lot of filming challenges were faced when producing the dramas for this tool, as we had to create an African boardroom in the south of England. The casting was carefully considered to sensitively represent a cross-section of characters, who wouldn’t solely represent one country/nationality.
The benefits of using the Equator Principles have greatly increased the attention and focus on social/community standards and responsibility, including those for indigenous peoples and consultation with locally Affected Communities. They have also triggered the development of other responsible environmental and social management practices in the financial sector and banking industry and have provided a platform for engagement with a broad range of interested stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), clients and industry bodies.
None of this would have been possible without the extensive work Limetools produced to train all the banks and project managers on how to abide by the rules, and more importantly have them understand why they should.
Since initial publication of the online learning tool, Limetools have now produced three follow-up iterations of this learning programme (with full reviews and policy update expansions as the principles have evolved), proving it’s still required, relevant and continues to be used globally.