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IFC Meets with Latin American Companies, Civil Society Groups to Strengthen its Sustainability Standards

Published 06-04-10

Submitted by International Finance Corporation

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, met yesterday with stakeholders from Latin America in Bogota, Columbia, to discuss ways to strengthen its standards on environment and social sustainability. The discussion focused on ways to better address emerging issues that have reshaped the operating environment, such as climate change.

The Bogota consultation is part of a series of global consultations with academics, civil society groups, financial institutions, government and private sector representatives as well as other resource persons to discuss ways to improve IFC's standards on sustainability.

The changes to IFC's standards are expected to have widespread impact in the global financial community, hence the importance of collecting the views from a wide range of stakeholder. Already, 70 major financial institutions from around the world are referring to those standards through the Equator Principles, among which Bancolombia S.A.

"IFC is committed to being a leader in sustainable banking through a process of continuous improvement" says Greg Radford, IFC Director for Environment and Social Development "and our stakeholders' views are critical in helping us to adapt and remain relevant. Consultation is essential to ensure that our updated environmental and social management framework balances the expectations of all stakeholders."

"It is especially important that we ensure those who are affected by our projects, are adequately informed and consulted so that we can address their concerns and improve the development impact of our initiatives as well," said Bruce Moats, Director for Corporate Relations.

Over 30 participants coming from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, as well as from Canada and the United States exchanged views.

Some of the key recommendations made by the participants, included:

  • IFC should encourage companies to meet good international industry practice and resource efficiency standards.
  • IFC should consider the challenges for small and medium enterprises to comply with the Performance Standards.
  • IFC should mainstream gender throughout the Performance Standards.
  • Community participation, transparency and information flow to the communities affected throughout the life of the project are critical and should be managed appropriately.

The review and update process began in September 2009 and will end in January 2011 with the public release of the updated.

For more information or to participate in the review and update process, please visit our website at: www.ifc.org/policyreview

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping play a prominent role in addressing the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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International Finance Corporation

International Finance Corporation

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services.

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