UK Export Finance (UKEF) and Global Witness
Lead NCPUnited Kingdom
Supporting NCP(s)
DescriptionSpecific instance submitted by Global Witness concerning an alleged non-observance of the OECD Guidelines by UK Export Finance (UKEF)
Theme(s)Disclosure, Environment
Date16 Mar 2020
Host country(ies)United Kingdom
Industry sectorFinancial and insurance activities
StatusNot accepted

Read the initial assessment issued by the UK NCP on 9 September 2020: English

On 16 March 2020, NGO Global Witness submitted a specific instance to the UK NCP alleging that the UK’s export credit agency, UKEF, had not observed the Disclosure (Chapter III) and Environment (Chapter VI) provisions of the OECD Guidelines. The submitter claimed that UKEF was failing to support climate objectives as set out in the 2015 Paris agreement by providing export credits to the fossil fuel industry. 

After examining the complaint and the response from UKEF, the UK NCP decided not to accept the complaint for further examination on the basis that, in the NCP’s view, UKEF is not a multinational enterprise for the purposes of the Guidelines.

The UK NCP takes account of the following criteria as set out in the Guidelines’ implementation procedures in deciding whether issues raised merit further examination:

1. Identity of the complainant and its interest in the matter

2. Whether the issues are material and substantiated

3. Whether there seems to be a link between the enterprise’s activities and the issues raised

4. Relevance of applicable law and procedures, including court rulings and how similar issues have been, or are being, treated in other domestic or international proceedings.

5. Whether the consideration of the specific issue would contribute to the purpose and effectiveness of the Guidelines

On this basis, noting that UKEF does not strictly engage in commercial activity and that its primary purpose is to provide financial products that are not otherwise available on the private market, the UK NCP considered the Guidelines do not apply to UKEF as it is not a multinational enterprise for the purposes of the Guidelines. The NCP further noted UKEF does not have a separate corporate legal personality, but rather exists as a government department having its legal personality. In such circumstances, the UK NCP considered UKEF cannot be considered as a multinational enterprise to which OECD Guidelines should apply.

The UK NCP also recalls that statements by other NCPs do not form binding precedent, and that what constitutes a multinational enterprise must be considered on a case-by-case basis.