Export credit agencies (ECAs) are either private companies operating on behalf of their country’s government or are governmental agencies themselves which in either case, provide support to promote domestic companies' international export of goods and services. ECAs are a hitherto under-researched contributor to lock-in of fossil fuel infrastructure. This study reviews external policies and standards as well as internal policies and commitments that may affect ECAs’ portfolios – specifically their support to fossil fuel and low-carbon technology projects. Most international standards are applied on a purely voluntary basis. Moreover, they are mainly focused on increasing transparency and promoting social and environmental safeguards while not directly affecting the ECAs’ portfolios. Most importantly, none of them has explicit requirements to phase out support to fossil fuels and align operations with the Paris Agreement. The standards thus do not support fossil fuel project support phaseout.
Only few of the countries covered in this study made explicit commitments and put in place policies that may affect the portfolios of their ECAs with regards to their support for fossil fuels. Most of the ECAs reviewed in this study have made broad statements and commitments related to social and environmental sustainability – mostly through their CSR strategies and reports. However, only a few ECAs made explicit commitments related to climate change and most importantly to phasing out support for fossil fuels. While most ECAs have made at least some commitments related to coal, only a few of them made such commitments for the oil and gas sector (usually with no concrete timeline). Overall, most ECAs seem to be at a very early stage of taking climate change considerations seriously and integrating them into their business strategies or global value chain. As a result, many of the reviewed ECAs still provide significant support to fossil fuels and little support to low-carbon projects. None of the ECAs reviewed in this study is therefore in line with the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement.