EP3 and IFC PS Course: the Good, Bad and Ugly

Equator Principles III IFC Performance Standards 2012 Training Course

Returning from a course on the Equator Principles (EP III) and IFC Performance Standards (IFC PS) in London, it is time to reflect on feedback provided by participants, and plan next event at TD Bank in Toronto on 29 Oct 2013. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p27qSt-Bl

After developing and co-delivered over two dozen training courses focused on international benchmarks such as Equator Principles, IFC Environmental and Social Performance Standards, and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), I remain both curious and excited about the serendipitous conversations which unfold during such events. They help all participants - including trainers - to discover 'the Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ elements of these benchmark setting standards and their application.

On 23 September 2013, Dan Siddy and yours truly delivered an updated version of Prizma’s course on the IFC Performance Standards and Equator Principles to a diverse group of participants in London. This time, they came from France, Denmark and the UK. The projects we touched on were largely based in in emerging markets, such as Central Asia, China, CIS and Africa.

I would like to share with you the key messages which emerged from the review of the evaluation forms. Before doing that, allow me to thank the “unsung heroes” of the course: participants who generously share their experiences and/or raise probing questions which contribute to and leverage the learning process. Also, our host, Parsons Brinkerhoff, deserve a special “thank you” for ensuring we had the perfect workshop environment in a convenient location in Central London. The venue also happened to be near a traditional pub. This provided a good opportunity to digest the course over a suitable beverage and share additional "war stories".

When asked about the presenters’ grasp and expertise relating to the IFC PS and EP, our evaluation forms recorded an average rating of 4.8 out of maximum of 5. This exceptionally high rating suggests that the right trainers were presenting and facilitating the right course. I feel that our experience working for branded consultancies, serving at multilateral financial institutions, and being actively engaged in projects and capacity building was instrumental in achieving such a rating (see LinkedIn profiles: Dan Siddy and Mehrdad Nazari).

When asked if the course was a good investment of their time, and if they would feel comfortable recommending the course to others, we received a very respectable rating of 4.2 (out of maximum of 5). The overall rating of the program received a similar high rating of 4.1 and we appreciate constructive suggestions offered to further improve the course.

Overall, the comments received suggest that the most valuable part of the course related to the use of case studies, linking standards and project finance, discussing the role of the Independent Engineer, and our approach to characterizing the ‘new school’ of impact assessments designed to make them bankable (=EP/PS compliant).

In terms of improvements, we received some valuable and, at times, conflicting suggestions. We noted that our course had a very heavy workload,  which we acknowledge and intent to continue (perhaps experimenting with some advance reading for course participants). Others requested even more case studies and/or second training day, which we will need to think about for 2014. We also noted the need to improve our timekeeping and the clarity of some of our slides.

Our next course will be held on 29 October 2013 and hosted by TD Bank in Toronto. I am pleased to be co-delivering that session with Dr. Bill Kennedy, a former colleague from my days at the European Bank. Bill recently carried out a review of Canadian Equator Banks for the Canadian Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development.

Update (22 Nov 2013):  We successfully delivered the course hosted by TD Bank in Toronto,which was both interesting and fun. Since that time, Prizma was engaged by a confidential client in the financial services sector to deliver a 1-day course on 19 December 2013 in Europe. - You can access the latest course brochure here or request additional information from mehrdad at prizmasolutions.com.