EFIC seeks to support the growth of Australian businesses internationally and to create opportunities for our clients when the private market lacks capacity or willingness, filling the ‘market gap'.
Conducting business responsibly is fundamental to any corporation, but particularly to a Commonwealth corporation that has responsibilities to its numerous stakeholders, including a responsibility to be financially successful over the long term.
EFIC's key stakeholders
This Corporate Responsibility Policy sets out many of the guiding principles which enable EFIC to attain an appropriate equilibrium between the different responsibilities EFIC owes to its varied stakeholders. It assists EFIC to balance the need to achieve its mandate of facilitating and encouraging Australian export trade and investment for its clients, while fulfilling its responsibilities to its broader, non-client stakeholders. This Corporate Responsibility Policy helps EFIC with the delicate balance between the need to maintain client commercial confidentiality whilst providing reasonable transparency of the Corporation's operations.
The elements of EFIC's Corporate Responsibility Policy are detailed below, grouped with reference to the Corporation's various key stakeholders.
Responsibilities to exporters
Australian companies exporting and investing overseas operate in competitive markets, often involving significant risk. EFIC's expertise and experience working on complex transactions in these markets can help provide Australian businesses with the knowledge, networks and information to compete successfully.
As an export credit agency, EFIC's products and services are focused on the ‘market gap', where because of country, industry or other risks there is insufficient commercial market capacity.
EFIC structures transactions to provide flexible and innovative financing and insurance solutions to meet exporter and investor needs.
While providing these services to clients, EFIC employees must consider certain corporate responsibilities.
At all times, EFIC employees are expected to be responsive to the needs of clients and to:
- act in a professional and courteous manner; and
- demonstrate integrity.
The EFIC Service Charter has been designed to inform exporter and investor clients of the quality and timeliness of service they can expect to receive from EFIC. The Charter offers clients various ways of providing feedback to EFIC.
Legislation expressly forbids EFIC employees from disclosing client information acquired in the course of their work for EFIC. The obligation (and the limited exceptions) is set out in Commonwealth legislation, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Act.
Responsibilities to the Australian Government
EFIC is the Australian Government's export credit agency, a self-funding statutory corporation wholly-owned by the Commonwealth of Australia. More than 50 other countries in Europe, North America and Asia provide similar facilities for their exporters and investors.
EFIC seeks to increase Australia's exports. For more than 50 years we have been assisting Australian companies exporting and investing overseas by providing a range of competitive finance and insurance services to support the export of Australian capital goods and services and promote Australian investment in overseas projects.
EFIC is a self-funding corporation. Our operating costs are covered by income from client fees and premiums, as well as earnings on investments and the reserves EFIC holds to underpin the business.
EFIC's fees and other charges are consistent with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Consensus Arrangement which sets, amongst other things, minimum fees that can be charged by OECD export credit agencies.
The Australian Government expects EFIC to operate profitably and to pay an annual dividend from profits.
Responsibilities to our employees
EFIC is committed to maintaining an environment in which all our people treat each other with respect, courtesy and dignity, and are similarly treated by those with whom the Corporation has business dealings.
Respectful treatment also includes the right to openly raise sensitive issues and concerns with confidence that appropriate action will be taken.
Responsibilities to the community
Environmental and Social Issues in Relation to Transactions
We have developed our Policy for environmental and social review of transactions to enable EFIC to better identify and assess any significant environmental or social impacts of export transactions, overseas projects and overseas investments for which EFIC support is sought.
The policy and associated Procedure for environmental and social review of transactions details EFIC's reporting and transparency obligations in relation to environmental and social issues.
Each year, EFIC prepares an Annual Report that is tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament, made available on EFIC's website and provided to interested parties to provide information regarding EFIC's business operations.
Channels for community engagement include:
- Members of the community are also invited to provide comments on EFIC's operations via the feedback mechanisms detailed in EFIC's Service Charter.
- EFIC engages with relevant stakeholders on the transactions we support as detailed in our Procedure for environmental and social review of transactions.
EFIC is interested in supporting operations that promote energy and resource efficiency, renewable resources, cleaner production and waste minimisation.
Exporters and investors involved in these technologies are encouraged to approach EFIC regarding finance and insurance facilities for their goods and services.
Addressing human induced climate change is a major issue for the 21st century. The balance of scientific opinion is that global emissions of greenhouse gasses need to be reduced if changes in climate are to be avoided.
EFIC is closely monitoring developments in connection with climate change issues, particularly developments in relation to export credit agencies, international financial institutions and banks involved in international project finance.
EFIC is not routinely asked to provide facilities for nuclear-related exports. EFIC employees are required to flag any potential nuclear transactions for careful consideration by senior management. An EFIC facility would only be provided for nuclear-related exports that were legally permitted. The Australian Government applies strict controls to ensure that Australian exports do not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation.
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs)
EFIC recognises the importance of the Debt Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs), which was launched in 1996 by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Its purpose is to bring the debt burdens of these countries to sustainable levels, subject to satisfactory policy performance, to ensure that adjustment and reform efforts are not put at risk by continued high debt and debt service burdens.
EFIC has agreed that official export credits should not be provided for unproductive expenditure in HIPCs. Unproductive expenditure generally refers to transactions that are not consistent with the poverty reduction and debt sustainability strategies of the HIPC countries, and transactions that do not contribute to their social and/or economic development.
Members of the Export Credits Group within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have also agreed that they will report transactions involving HIPCs on an annual basis, to help ensure that officially supported export credits to HIPCs are not provided for unproductive purposes.