ADB Prohibited Investment Activities List

The following do not qualify for Asian Development Bank financing:

(i) production or activities involving harmful or exploitative forms of forced labor1 or child labor;2

(ii) production of or trade in any product or activity deemed illegal under host country laws or regulations or international conventions and agreements or subject to international phaseouts or bans, such as (a) pharmaceuticals,3 pesticides, and herbicides,4 (b) ozone-depleting substances,5 (c) polychlorinated biphenyls6 and other hazardous chemicals,7(d) wildlife or wildlife products regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora,8 and (e) transboundary trade in waste or waste products;9

(iii) production of or trade in weapons and munitions, including paramilitary materials;

(iv) production of or trade in alcoholic beverages, excluding beer and wine;10

(v) production of or trade in tobacco;10

(vi) gambling, casinos, and equivalent enterprises;10

(vii) production of or trade in radioactive materials,11 including nuclear reactors and components thereof;

(viii) production of, trade in, or use of unbonded asbestos fibers;12

(ix) commercial logging operations or the purchase of logging equipment for use in primary tropical moist forests or old-growth forests; and

(x) marine and coastal fishing practices, such as large-scale pelagic drift net fishing and fine mesh net fishing, harmful to vulnerable and protected species in large numbers and are damaging to marine biodiversity and habitats.

1Forced labor means all work or services not voluntarily performed, that is, extracted from individuals under threat of force or penalty.
2Child labor means the employment of children whose age is below the host country’s statutory minimum age of employment or employment of children in contravention of International Labor Organization Convention No. 138 “Minimum Age Convention” (
3A list of pharmaceutical products subject to phaseouts or bans is available at
4A list of pesticides and herbicides subject to phaseouts or bans is available at
5A list of the chemical compounds that react with and deplete stratospheric ozone resulting in the widely publicized ozone hole
6A group of highly toxic chemicals, polychlorinated biphenyls are likely to be found in oil-filled electrical transformers, capacitors, and switchgear dating from 1950 to 1985.
7A list of hazardous chemicals is available at
8A list is available at
9As defined by the Basel Convention; see
10As defined by the Basel Convention; see does not apply to project sponsors who are not substantially involved in these activities. Not substantially involved means that the activity concerned is ancillary to a project sponsor’s primary operations.
11This does not apply to the purchase of medical equipment, quality control (measurement) equipment, and any equipment for which ADB considers the radioactive source to be trivial and adequately shielded.
12This does not apply to the purchase and use of bonded asbestos cement sheeting