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CEB upgraded in sustainability performance rating, has its ‘prime status’ affirmed

20 November 2018

Paris - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) was upgraded by one notch to B-, one of the highest ratings for development banks, following a recent comprehensive review of its corporate social responsibility performance. The review was carried out by ISS-oekom, a major ‘non-financial’ rating agency. 

Corporate social responsibility performance reviews are carried out by ‘environmental, social and governance (ESG)’ rating agencies, often called ‘non-financial’ to distinguish them from the well-known financial rating agencies. 

In its comprehensive assessment of institutions’ and companies’ sustainability performance, ISS-oekom employs around 100 strict environmental, social and governance criteria specially selected for each sector. These focus on numerous aspects of an institution’s corporate social responsibility performance and are individually examined and evaluated. For example, the criteria applied in the ‘environmental rating category’ are environmental management system, climate change strategy, travel and transport, and green procurement; in the category ‘corporate governance and business ethics’, the following parameters are taken into account: corporate governance, board independence, executive compensation, shareholder structure, and business ethics; and in the ‘eco-efficiency’ category, the aspects closely examined are energy use, GHG emissions, freshwater use, and paper use. 

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “The outcome of the review conducted by ISS-oekom reflects the great importance that the CEB attaches to all matters associated with corporate social responsibility. By virtue of its profile as the only development bank in Europe with an exclusively social mandate, the CEB has been and remains firmly committed to conducting its business in a responsible and sustainable way. The strong interest from socially responsible investors in the CEB’s social inclusion bonds, issued first in 2017 and again in 2018, has come to underline the confidence of the international investor community in the social focus of the CEB’s activities.”

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.