Environmental & Social Management

Contributing to sustainable growth through the promotion of Environmental & Social standards in our investments.

Environmental & Social Management

BIO aims to have a positive impact on the local communities where it invests, including through decent and safe working conditions, respect of human rights and environmental sustainability. While investments may bring such positive outcomes, they may also have adverse environmental or social effects if not properly managed.

BIO refers to and promotes a set of internationally recognised standards and principles, such as the IFC E&S Performance Standards, thereby covering a comprehensive array of environmental, social and human rights topics.


Assessment and Management of E&S Risks and Impact

  • Identify funding proposal’s environmental and social risks and impacts;
  • Adopt mitigation hierarchy: anticipate, avoid; minimize; compensate or offset;
  • Improve performance through an environmental and social management system;
  • Engagement with affected communities or other stakeholders throughout funding proposal cycle. This includes communications and grievance mechanisms.

Labour and Working Conditions

  • Fair treatment, non-discrimination, equal opportunity;
  • Good worker–management relationship;
  • Comply with national employment and labour laws;
  • Protect workers, in particular those in vulnerable categories;
  • Promote safety and health;
  • Avoid use of forced labour or child labour.

Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention

  • Avoid, minimize or reduce project-related pollution;
  • More sustainable use of resources, including energy and water;
  • Reduced project-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Community Health, Safety and Security

  • Anticipate and avoid adverse impacts on the health and safety of the affected community;
  • Safeguard personnel and property in accordance with relevant human rights principles.

Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement

  • Avoid/minimize adverse social and economic impacts from land acquisition or restrictions on land use:
    • Avoid/minimize displacement;
    • Provide alternative project designs;
    • Avoid forced eviction.
  • Improve or restore livelihoods and standards of living;
  • Improve living conditions among displaced persons by providing:
    • Adequate housing;
    • Security of tenure.

Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources

  • Protection and conservation of biodiversity;
  • Maintenance of benefits from ecosystem services;
  • Promotion of sustainable management of living natural resources;
  • Integration of conservation needs and development priorities.

Indigenous Peoples

  • Ensure full respect for indigenous peoples
    • Human rights, dignity, aspirations;
    • Livelihoods;
    • Culture, knowledge, practices;
  • Avoid/minimize adverse impacts;
  • Sustainable and culturally appropriate development benefits and opportunities;
  • Free, prior and informed consent in certain circumstances.

Cultural Heritage

  • Protection and preservation of cultural heritage;
  • Promotion of equitable sharing of cultural heritage benefits.

Into our operations

BIO E&S experts work with their colleagues and clients to manage E&S risks and opportunities. Each potential investee is first assigned a risk category, resulting in minimum due diligence activities and E&S requirements. Once the E&S risks and opportunities have been identified and assessed, any required improvements are contractually agreed upon with the clients and monitored.

Investees are also contractually bound to respect local environmental and social laws and conventions, including ILO Core Conventions and applicable international standards. BIO actively supports its investees to improve on their E&S performance in a supportive and constructive way. However, in case of non-compliance, and as a last resort, contractual requirements may be activated.

Human rights

Alongside the state duty to protect, respect and enforce human rights, businesses have the responsibility to respect these rights as well. Each of the IFC Performance Standards has elements related to human rights dimensions and are expected to cover most human rights that are relevant to our clients’ operations. In higher risk contexts or if BIO considers that IFC Performance Standards do not sufficiently cover a human right in a given investment,

BIO will give special attention to this right and adopt specific measures in connection with the E&S assessment and monitoring of such investment.
In line with the IFC Performance Standards, higher risk clients are required to have a grievance mechanism that can facilitate early indication and prompt remediation. BIO also has its own whistle blowing mechanism providing an online platform for third parties to submit grievances.

Solar panel supply chains

In 2021, there were disquieting reports about forced labour concerning the Uyghur minority in China. This raises many questions about how to deal with the risk of investing in projects involving solar panels.

BIO vehemently condemns any use of forced labour in any of its investment projects, and in any of the supply and off-taker chains of these projects, and will communicate this position in all relevant relations with (potential) clients and other stakeholders. BIO will favour the creation of fully transparent alternative solar panel supply chains so that any risk of forced labour can effectively be excluded. BIO will keep itself informed on the development of such alternatives and will support them with investments and technical assistance. Moreover, BIO will seek to align itself with European DFIs, IFC and the World Bank Group on a joint policy to address the risk of forced labour in solar panel supply chains.