Washington D.C., October 25, 2011—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today launched its fifth annual Community
of Learning, a knowledge-sharing forum aimed at strengthening the environmental
and social risk-management of financial institutions and supporting sustainable
ways of doing business for companies in emerging markets.
The two-day event includes approximately
150 participants from financial institutions around the world. It focuses
on a broad spectrum of issues related to the application of IFC’s recently
updated Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability
and provides an opportuntity for financial institutions to exchange expertise
on environmental and social risk management, environmental business opportunities,
and sustainability-related tools and information.
“As many companies struggle to regain
momentum in the wake of the global financial crisis, this is a timely moment
to underscore the importance of sustainability,” said Nena Stoiljkovic,
IFC Vice President. “We have proven that good environmental and social
performance correlates to long-term financial performance. IFC’s standards
are designed to help companies operate in a fast changing world, to be
competitive, and to manage non-financial risks. This is important for sustainable
growth in emerging markets.”
IFC’s updated Performance Standards,
which will go into effect on January 1, 2012, were revised in critical
areas such as climate change; business and human rights; consultations
with project-affected communities, including indigenous peoples; and supply-chain
management. Originally adopted in 2006, the Performance Standards are the
basis for the Equator Principles, a voluntary environmental and social
risk-management framework used by 74 financial institutions worldwide.
In addition, 15 European Development Finance Institutions and 32 export
credit agencies from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
refer to the Performance Standards in their operations. In 2008, the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development modeled its own Performance Requirements
on IFC’s Performance Standards.
“The Community of Learning leverages
expertise from a wide network of financial institutions that reference
IFC’s Performance Standards,” said William Bulmer, Director of IFC’s
Environment, Social, and Governance Department. “These partnerships help
deepen our understanding of emerging trends in sustainability. Our goal
is to support our clients and help improve the environmental and social
performance of financial institutions in the broader market.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth
by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and
governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets.
In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our
clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute
to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time
high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.