November 22, 2017

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IFC Report Shows the Way for the Financial Sector to Better Seize Opportunities and Manage Risks Through Sustainability

Submitted by: International Finance Corporation

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1

Posted: May 30, 2006 – 12:00 AM EST

 

The CSR movement has seen an upsurge in interest in recent years in the role of the financial sector in sustainable development. Financial service providers have an influence on global challenges that stretch far beyond their own operations and are difficult to quantify, but the need to understand and fulfill the wider responsibilities of the sector is clear. The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is at the cutting edge of addressing this complex role.

In its recently released 2005 Sustainability Report, entitled "Choices Matter", the Corporation provides more information than ever before about how IFC is integrating sustainability into products, services and investment choices. It also shows how the largest investor in private equity in developing countries is using its unique position and resources to respond to global challenges such as climate change, poverty, corruption, HIV/AIDS, women in private sector development, and the preservation of biodiversity.

IFC is a leader in providing not only capital but also knowledge, expertise and grants to help clients and stakeholders combine sustainability and business opportunity. According to the report, nearly one-third of IFC employees were involved in these efforts in FY05 and 70% of clients surveyed said IFC adds value to their businesses through knowledge and support in good corporate governance, social and environmental sustainability.

"We utilize our resources and expertise in a way that minimizes the risks while maximizing the opportunities to drive sustainable development where it is needed the most. This is an IFC tradition of which we are most proud. We take our responsibilities very seriously, and hold ourselves accountable in those areas where we can control outcomes. Fundamental to this is continued engagement with affected stakeholders to ensure that all concerns are considered." (Rachel Kyte, Director, Environmental and Social Development Department, IFC)

IFC has also emerged as a global standard setter on environmental and social development for financial market institutions and the private sector. The Corporation's environmental and social safeguards, recently updated, have become a recognized model of good practice among other financial institutions. In 2003, they were adopted as the basis for the Equator Principles, a framework for commercial financial institutions to use when investing in development projects with a capital cost of $50 million or more. As of February 2006, 41 banks had adopted the Principles, and it is estimated that they now cover approximately 80 percent of global project lending.

As shown by the Corporation‚s latest sustainability report, IFC is committed to continuing its leadership role and to continuously improving the sustainability of its operations and its investments.

Highlights include:

  • IFC‚s new environmental and social standards

  • A step by step explanation of IFC's Investment Cycle, indicating how sustainability and development goals are integrated into decision-making

  • An analysis of how IFC deals with the "supervision challenge" when ensuring environmental and social sustainability in its investments

  • A "project anatomy" showing how IFC worked hand-in-hand with a client to improve the environmental, social, and financial performance of their business

  • An overview of IFC‚s response to climate change, including the first-ever assessment of IFC's investments in sustainable energy through its mainstream portfolio ($221 million in FY05)

  • Progress on IFC's commitment to manage its own social and environmental footprint by reducing waste, greening its energy use, and reaching out to communities

    Assurance for the report was provided by The Corporate Citizenship Company.

    To download the report or request hard copies, visit www.ifc.org/SustainabilityReport

    IFC is inviting questions and feedback via tellmemore@ifc.org

    IFC‚s mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people‚s lives. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

  • For more information, please contact:

    Louise Gardiner International Finance Corporation
    Phone: 202 458 0596

    For more from this organization:

    International Finance Corporation

     

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