We are accountable to our partners, clients and communities as we aim to achieve our development objectives in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

At IFC, we work with the private sector to create markets and jobs for people in developing countries who urgently need them. We strive to unlock new, innovative opportunities for the communities in which we work, but we are also accountable to the people that are affected by the projects we finance. We are accountable to our partners, clients and communities as we aim to achieve our development objectives in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Our Approach

IFC has adopted a systematic approach of engaging when we first become aware of complaints or concerns. Early-stage prevention and proactive problem-solving are always better. In parallel, IFC’s accountability and oversight mechanisms continue to address the risks associated with the complexity of our operations, including working in challenging, fragile, and extremely poor environments.

A jaguar at the Centro de Rescate Las Pumas in Canas, Costa Rica August 9, 2018. Photo © Dominic Chavez / International Finance Corporation

Strengthening Environmental & Social Accountability

IFC is delivering on a series of accountability and transparency reforms, including in response to the External Review on IFC’s environmental and social (E&S) accountability. In late June 2021, the Boards of IFC and MIGA approved a new Policy for the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), ensuring people’s access to a predictable and transparent complaints process, with an increased focus on outcomes for communities, IFC/MIGA clients, and other stakeholders. The CAO Policy, which was developed following an external public consultation, puts greater emphasis on resolving complaints early and proactively, including remedial management action plans developed in consultation with complainants and clients.

Additionally, efforts are underway to strengthen IFC’s overall approach to accountability E&S risk management, including improving systems and procedures for E&S due diligence and supervision; strengthening grievance responsiveness both at the institutional and project levels; and developing a potential approach to enabling remedial solutions for stakeholders negatively impacted by projects.

Teatek workers using a ramming machine as they install the metal posts, in the Benban Solar Park in Benban, Egypt on December 11, 2018. Photo © Dominic Chavez/International Finance Corporation

Independent Accountability Mechanisms

Our work is evaluated by two independent accountability mechanisms:

  1. The Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) is mandated to address complaints from people affected by IFC projects in a manner that is fair, objective, and equitable — with the objective of enhancing environmental and social project outcomes and fostering greater public accountability of IFC.
  2. The Independent Evaluation Group is an independent unit reporting directly to IFC’s Board of Directors. IEG’s mission is to strengthen World Bank Group institutions through evaluations that inform strategies and future work — and lead ultimately to greater development effectiveness.
  3. The Integrity Vice Presidency is an independent unit that investigates and pursues sanctions related to allegations of fraud and corruption in World Bank Group-financed projects.

Our Governance

Ultimately, the 186 countries represented on IFC’s Board of Directors provide the highest layer of accountability and oversight for the institution.

Govind Singh (left), chief executive officer of Utkarsh Small Finance Bank, greets Irawati Devi and her family at their home in Harhua Village, on September 20, 2018. Irawati is small-business owner who has taken several microfinance loans from Utkarsh. Photo © Dominic Chavez / International Finance Corporation

Stakeholder Engagement & Response

Engagement is critical to our ability to deliver results. Through regular consultations and partnerships with civil society organizations, the private sector, and others, we form a continuous feedback loop with our stakeholders about key sustainability issues.

We are accountable to the people affected by the projects we finance. We value feedback and concerns raised by stakeholders as an important part of the process of understanding, avoiding, minimizing and mitigating negative impacts and helping projects achieve their intended, positive, development impacts.

IFC has developed an approach to receive and respond to environmental and social (E&S) complaints, with an emphasis on early and proactive resolution. Every issue raised with IFC is assigned to a case officer who facilitates communication with complainants and resolution of complaints. Find more information about E&S complaints here.

IFC Position Statement on Retaliation Against Civil Society and Project Stakeholders (English FrenchSpanish)

Mega Benban workers carry medium voltage cables in the Benban Solar Park in Benban, Egypt on December 11, 2018. Photo © Dominic Chavez/International Finance Corporation


IFC believes that transparency and accountability are fundamental to fulfilling our development mandate and strengthening public trust in IFC and our clients. IFC's Access to Information Policy reaffirms and reflects our commitment to these principles. We disclose information about our projects, including project-level environmental and social review summaries, through our disclosure portal. Recently, we have committed to enhancing transparency around IFC’s Blended Finance tools. For more information about the IDA 18 Private Sector Window projects, concessionality and how it is calculated, and governance of blended finance resources, visit IFC's Blended Finance page.
Students enjoying class exercises while learning about graphic design, at Uniminuto, a private university that serves low income students in Bogota, Colombia on March 30, 2017. Photo © Dominic Chavez/International Finance Corporation


We believe that learning from our experience and gathering feedback from stakeholders is critical to achieving our mandate. We are continually improving our procedures, good-practice guidance, and learning materials based on our engagement with partners, analytical work, and operational experience. We also help clients understand and find solutions to difficult challenges they face.