FAQ on sustainability

The sustainability questions that EKN is most frequently asked about are what requirements we have and how we follow up on transactions, as well as about exports to countries with undemocratic governments.

1

What requirements does EKN set?

EKN requires companies to take responsibility for impacts on the environment, human rights and working conditions in transactions that EKN guarantees. The applicant for a guarantee must declare that the transaction is free from corruption.

2

How are the requirements fulfilled?

For transactions with a risk of negative impacts, EKN requests information about the buyer company and an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA)  if the transaction involves a new project. If necessary, EKN may contact local stakeholder organisations and obtain information from external sources and experts.

For large projects, EKN visits the site to ensure that the project’s environmental and social impact is consistent with the information that has been provided. EKN may include reporting requirements as a condition of the guarantee.

3

Why does EKN work on sustainability issues?

It is part of our mandate. EKN is a Swedish Government authority and takes responsibility for Sweden’s goals and values. Social and environmental risks are critical also from a financial perspective. Transactions guaranteed by EKN must be sustainable in the long term. EKN works together with companies to ensure a responsible export business.

4

How does EKN counteract corruption?

The applicant and exporting company must declare that the transaction is free from corruption. If corruption is discovered, the EKN guarantee may be rendered void. EKN also performs its own corruption risk assessment.

5

How is confidentiality handled at EKN?

According to the principle of public access to official records, EKN must provide information and be transparent. According to legislation on confidentiality, EKN must treat information as confidential if it could damage the guarantee holder, if made public.

6

Does EKN insure exports to countries with dictatorship regimes?

Sweden has trade with most countries in the world. Global trade is important for development and change. There are only a few countries in the world on which the global community has chosen to impose trade sanctions. EKN sets requirements for responsible export to all countries. In some countries and industries, the environmental and social risks are higher and therefore require a more thorough review.

7

Does EKN insure exports to poor countries with debts?

EKN does not guarantee transactions to government buyers in poor countries with a difficult debt situation if the country has reached its limit for commercial borrowing, set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or if the transaction is not in line with the country’s development strategy. 

8

Does EKN assess the risk of violation of human rights in transactions with defence materials?

In the case of exports of defence materials that require an export licence from the Inspectorate for Strategic Products (ISP), EKN does not make any assessment of whether the transaction is consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights (UNGPs).

In such transactions, the ISP has a specific mandate from the Swedish government to investigate the appropriateness of the export of defence material, taking into account among other things human rights in the buyer country. EKN performs the customary anti-corruption assessment, since this is not done by the ISP.

In transactions where the buyer is a country's defence force or a company with military assignments  and where an export licence from the ISP is not required, EKN performs the customary risk assessment in relation to the UNGPs.