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IFC and Construction Materials: Helping Support Infrastructure

Developing countries cannot make progress on their poverty reduction and economic growth strategies without roads, ports, schools, hospitals, and other community institutions. And without an affordable and ready supply of the basic building blocks of infrastructure and housing – cement, glass, and other materials – even the most well-intentioned infrastructure development policies will fall short.

IFC has invested over $4 billion in the building materials sector. This has helped increase the availability of affordable local sources, which are critical to developing a thriving construction sector and to building the physical infrastructure that countries need for economic growth and poverty reduction. Better infrastructure, in turn, drives GDP growth, creates jobs, and encourages additional foreign investment. IFC’s world-class sustainability standards also help client companies reduce their environmental footprint, enhance their social responsibility efforts, and improve governance, all of which contribute to a strong triple bottom line.

Supporting the Building Industry in Developing Countries

Cement and glass are usually consumed close to where they are manufactured because of the high relative cost of transporting such goods over long distances. But these industries are capital-intensive and require long-term funding, which is not always available in developing countries. Through long-term investments in cement and glass industries in emerging markets, IFC is increasing the availability – and affordability – of locally produced building materials.

Leadership in Sustainability

IFC can help clients improve their environmental profile, reduce waste, strengthen corporate governance, and build stronger relationships with local communities. For an industry with a significant environmental footprint – for example, cement plants produce 5 percent of man-made carbon dioxide worldwide – sustainability is an increasingly critical issue. IFC’s guidance can help companies interested in elevating their environmental and social standards beyond compliance, which can enhance their brand and improve their public image.

IFC’s partnership with clients extends beyond environmental, health, and safety management systems to encompass energy efficiency, control of gas and dust emissions, quarry rehabilitation, resource recovery, and local community development programs. IFC has consistently found a strong business case for environmental and social sustainability. Benefits to the environment and local communities enhance worker productivity and often improve a company’s bottom line. IFC investments often add a “seal of approval” to a company’s operations, giving investors and consumers confidence in the company’s integrity.


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