Civil society organisations publish letter to EIB Board of Directors on draft Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework

Photo credit: nmann77 –

A coalition of 23 civil society organisations have written to the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Board of Directors to share our priorities for improving the recently published draft of the EIB’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework (ESSF), which is expected to be  discussed by the Board on 2 February.  

It is of utmost importance for the EIB to adopt a stronger set of policies and standards guiding its future operations, especially at a time when the EIB is creating a development branch and undergoing a transformation into the “EU Climate Bank”. 

The current draft ESSF fails to uphold sufficient improvements to prevent harm in the following key areas:  

  • protection and promotion of human rights; 
  • transparency and environmental due diligence of financial intermediaries’ investments;  and  
  • keeping particularly vulnerable ecosystems off-limits for investments and ensuring  appropriate assessments of project impacts on protected and internationally  recognised areas beyond the EU, EFTA and enlargement countries.  

A major overhaul of the draft ESSF is necessary for the Bank to uphold its commitment to  support the sustainable development of the countries where it operates, particularly outside of  the EU. 

If the ESSF is adopted in its current form, it would fail to make the EIB a responsible lender  and to strengthen its development impact. Importantly, the ESSF review must not miss the  opportunity to keep up with the expected legislation on the EU mandatory human rights and  environmental due diligence framework. It is not acceptable to take another 8 years for the  EIB to align its ESSF with the currently discussed EU human rights due diligence legislation.  

Below are listed key areas for improvement which could lead the EIB to truly deliver on its  environmental and social commitments. In your capacity as Directors and representatives of  the bank’s shareholders, we urge you to integrate these proposals into the draft Policy and  relevant Standards, before approving the ESSF. 

The rest of the open letter can viewed and downloaded here.

Yesterday, IPHR published the latest episode of the Human Rights Survival Guide podcast, with a focuses on how human rights factors into international financial institutions’ due diligence processes. Listen to it here or on your favourite podcast app: