We are pleased to present Export Development Canada’s (EDC) 9th Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. Corporate Social Responsibility is an overarching principle for EDC and continues to guide our business in support of Canadian exporters and investors.
This report focuses on those issues most material to our business: supporting the Canadian economy, upholding environmental standards and maintaining strong ethics, and reflects our efforts to link CSR to our business strategies and activities. We are also further integrating our CSR reporting with that of our Annual Report. Areas that link directly with our business strategy are indicated by the symbol:
This report is prepared using the recently released Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 guidelines. The GRI Index can be found here.
GRI Indicator G4-EC4
EDC is Canada's export credit agency. Our mandate is to support and develop, directly or indirectly, Canada’s export trade and Canadian capacity to engage in that trade, as well respond to international business opportunities. Our knowledge and partnerships are used by more than 7,100 Canadian companies and their global customers in 190 markets worldwide each year. A Crown corporation accountable to Parliament through the Minister of International Trade, we are financially self-sustaining and a recognized leader in financial reporting and economic analysis.
GRI Indicator G4-4
GRI Indicators G4-18, 19, 28, 29, 30
This report, produced annually, covers EDC’s business activities for the calendar year 2013, with some exceptions. The first exception is in relation to our Green Bond, which was issued in January 2014. As work on the bond was entirely completed in 2013, we have chosen to cover it in this report. The second exception is in relation to the measurement of our operational footprint. It pertains only to our headquarters building, where over 90 per cent of EDC’s physical operations, as measured in terms of square footage, are concentrated.
This report also uses videos and profiles of our customers to give readers a more practical illustration of our CSR performance. Videos included in this report feature Cowater International Inc., an Ottawa-based management consulting firm specializing in developing and transitional countries, and Montreal-based cleantech firm Sonitec Vortisand. Company profiles include a Category A project, the Sadara Chemical Project in Saudi Arabia, and a corporate financing facility for Vale Inc.
GRI Indicators G4-19, LA12
Management of CSR flows from senior management and across the corporation. Key responsibilities are assumed by a variety of teams and committees or working groups. Our Accountabilities diagram reflects this structure.
A materiality review is an exercise undertaken internally each year to identify key stakeholders and their areas of concern. While our stakeholders have not changed, we have taken a new approach to mapping their key issues. Our updated materiality matrix can be viewed here.
GRI Indicator G4-25
To test the integrity of the data provided in this report, we have selected four indicators from key areas of our performance that are material to our stakeholders: environmental performance, human rights, transparency and anti-corruption. The Assurance Statement has been provided by an independent reviewer, Ernst & Young. Facts and figures for which Ernst & Young LLP has provided assurance have been indicated by the following symbol: .
At EDC, our job is to help Canadian exporters succeed in international business. Last year, EDC helped more than 7,100 companies conduct about $95 billion in export trade.
In doing so, however, we often find ourselves working in markets and sectors that can pose potential challenges from a CSR perspective, such as corruption and negative environmental and social impacts.
As a Crown corporation that represents the Government of Canada, we have a clear obligation to make sure the business we support is performed responsibly. It is what the public expects—and it is what we expect of ourselves and our customers.
As a result of this obligation, CSR touches all aspects of our business: from ensuring the transactions we support meet our environmental, social and anti-corruption requirements, to working with Canadian exporters to strengthen their corporate governance so that they can anticipate and respond to CSR risks as they arise.
That is where opportunity meets best practices. We help Canadian exporters find the financing and insurance solutions they need to compete in the global marketplace—to capitalize on opportunities—while ensuring they follow international standards for responsible business.
When it comes to these international practices and standards, we believe that EDC needs to be part of the conversation. Last year, we worked extensively with our Export Credit Agency counterparts and with other Equator Principles financial institutions to share best practices and create greater alignment regarding environmental and social standards. By discussing and sharing best practices, we can ensure that we keep pace with the changing CSR review landscape, but for some services we provide, the ‘standards’ are not always clear. For example, insurance for receivables does not have similar benchmarking OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) or Equator Principles standards as project finance loans. The same is true for general corporate loans, typically used for capital and operating expenditures or to repay debt.
That is why we undertook an initiative last year to help us clarify our own values and risk thresholds relating to our insurance and other financing programs. Internally, this initiative gave us more discipline for when we evaluate the potential CSR risks of transactions for these types of financial products.
It also makes it much easier and predictable for our customers—because they know what to expect when they come to us. These are all part of our ongoing refinements to bring greater value to our customers.
All in all, it was a busy year. And while we are proud of our achievements over the past year, we also recognize there is always more work to do. As you learn more about our CSR activities in 2013, I invite you to look at our scorecard and give us your feedback.
GRI Indicator G4-31
At EDC, being socially responsible is about finding opportunities to help Canadian exporters grow in a way that does not compromise the values of Canadians. By promoting our CSR standards in markets around the world and investing in high-growth sectors like Clean Technology (cleantech), we are helping to position Canadian exporters and investors at the forefront of the global marketplace while ensuring that our CSR standards will be met.
Canada’s export performance has continued its slow but steady growth over the past year, with exports increasing by 3.2 per cent in 2013 and a further 5 per cent projected for 2014. As our country’s economic picture brightens, more and more exporters are choosing to self-insure and return to the private sector for their financing and surety solutions. This has enabled EDC to focus on areas where we are needed most, such as helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs), supporting Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA), and creating opportunities for Canadian exporters to break into emerging markets and integrate into global supply chains.
For more information on EDC’s 2013 business performance, please see our Annual Report.
Cowater International is a management consulting firm that specializes in infrastructure and capacity-building projects in developing economies. It serves as an example of how we help Canadian exporters succeed internationally without compromising our CSR standards.
Working with Cowater’s bank, we were able to help them free up the working capital they needed to grow and diversify. Not only was Cowater able to meet their customers’ needs without overextending themselves, but they were also able to direct resources toward the acquisition of another firm.
In the last decade, Cowater’s revenues have tripled. They are the Canadian leader in management consulting for developing economies and are positioned for continued growth.
Our India Infrastructure initiative is a key component of our business strategy. Its objective is to enable Canadian companies to take advantage of the opportunities created by India's infrastructure development by financing projects and providing corporate loans to major Indian borrowers with procurement needs that can be sourced from Canadian suppliers.
Given the CSR challenges in India, accomplishing meaningful business without compromising our standards means we must take special care in choosing our partners. With this in mind, we are focused on building strong relationships with our Indian customers and partners who share our values to help Canadian companies capitalize on a wealth of infrastructure opportunities in the market.
The Canadian Clean Technology sector (cleantech) is rapidly growing and focused on creating technologies that reduce negative environmental impacts and allow for a more efficient use of the earth's resources. Canada has an active cleantech sector with established and emerging capabilities in sub-sectors such as water and waste water management, power generation, and waste-to-energy technology. Many promising companies in this sector are considered to be higher-risk given their commercialization stage and sometimes challenging financial conditions.
Another way we are promoting the development of companies in cleantech and other environmental-related sectors is through our new Green Bond program. The first Green Bond was launched on January 23, 2014, a USD 300-million, three-year global offering.
Our Green Bond will support financing for environmental-related business. This includes work done by companies helping to preserve, protect or aid in the remediation of air, water or soil, or mitigate climate change.
Ethics are fundamental to successful business practices. We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and work with our customers to ensure integrity in every transaction we support.
GRI Indicators G4-SO3, SO4
The challenges posed by corruption and bribery are still an unfortunate reality for many Canadian companies operating in today’s business environment. That is why raising awareness among Canadian exporters on how to protect themselves both in Canada and abroad is an important part of what we do.
In 2013, we engaged with some of our long-term customers at the most senior levels on corruption issues. Through this dialogue, we worked with our customers to provide feedback on the strength of their anti-corruption policies. We provided our expertise on how to set the proper tone at the top, how to encourage companies to make improvements in their corporate governance and how to educate employees about Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA), which criminalizes acts of corruption committed by Canadians abroad.
EDC discloses information on individual financing transactions in order to be transparent to its stakeholders.
A 2012 internal audit of our disclosure practices revealed a shortcoming in our system that resulted in a few cases where there was a failure to publicly disclose information on our website. During 2013, we implemented improvements based on audit recommendations to ensure that disclosure of individual financing transactions as required under our Disclosure Policy were posted to Reporting on Transactions. We have also chosen to undertake a regular reconciliation of the transactional information disclosed on our website to ensure this error does not occur going forward.
At EDC, we believe in the importance of giving back to the communities where we live and work. Our community investment strategy focuses on three priorities: international business and trade education for youth, small enterprise development in emerging markets, and charitable contributions of time and financial resources to diverse social causes.
Now in its 14th year, EDC’s International Business Scholarship competition continues to encourage the next generation of global business leaders. The awards are available to students in 69 universities and 17 colleges across Canada. In 2013, there was a significant increase in the number of applications received (27%), as well as the number of eligible college students who applied (34%). Four college students were chosen as award recipients.
GRI Indicators G4-EC8
Building on its success over the past five years, we have renewed our partnership with CARE Canada.
This partnership is an excellent way for our employees to enhance important skills such as adaptability, problem-solving and inter-cultural communication, while lending their business expertise to CARE offices around the world. In 2013, four EDC employees participated in assignments in Peru, India and Zambia related to CARE’s enterprise and economic development programs.
We encourage our employees to be active citizens in their communities. Through our Charitable Donations Policy we provide financial donations to charitable organizations where our employees demonstrate ongoing involvement.
In 2013, 111 employees participated as volunteers in community activities for the benefit of charities supported under this program. Donations averaging $1,000 were granted on behalf of individual employees and teams to their respective charities.
We also participate in the Government of Canada’s Workplace Charitable Campaign, supporting United Way/Centreaide, Healthpartners or any other registered charity of our employees’ choosing. In 2013, we raised $268,176 and were honoured as one of three recipients of the “National Team Spirit” Award.
The knowledge and expertise of our employees is what drives our ability to deliver value to Canadian exporters and investors of all sizes. Accordingly, providing an attractive and meaningful workplace for a talented and engaged workforce is critical to maintaining EDC’s position as a centre of expertise in international trade and investment, and a top Canadian employer. Read more about our employee engagement here.
|Employee Segmentation* (%)||2013||2012||2011|
|Persons with disabilities||3.18||3.36||3.41|
|*percentages include all permanent employees (active, paid leave, leave)|