IFC’s corporate responsibility commitment is to make sustainability an integral part of our internal business operations — holding ourselves accountable to the same environmental and social standards we ask of our clients.
Our commitment to walk our talk connects IFC’s mission with how we run our business. It helps us best serve our clients by attracting and retaining top talent with diverse perspectives. It also boosts our investment potential by ensuring resource efficiency within our operations and helps us position ourselves as sustainability thought leaders.
Our commitment to corporate responsibility is not just good for our business — it is the right thing to do for a better future.
IFC takes seriously the importance of leading by example. We operate in complex environments and face some of the same challenges our clients face. That’s why we’ve chosen an approach to reducing our impact on the environment that is aspirational yet practical. As a financial institution, our environmental footprint is driven primarily by two sources: the buildings we own or occupy and business travel. For more information on IFC’s approach to environmental impact in our investments, please visit IFC’s Sustainability Policy and Standards.
A Longstanding Commitment to Carbon Reduction
In 2008, IFC began its commitment by becoming the first Sustainable United Nations (SUN) member to offset the global carbon footprint from all internal operations, including global business travel. That commitment has grown over the years to include targets to reduce IFC’s carbon emissions, waste, electricity usage and paper use in our headquarters in Washington, DC, and our buildings around the world. We continue to follow rigorous reporting standards, including those set by GRI, an independent international organization that sets standards for sustainability reporting, and CDP, a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts. We report our environmental impact through IFC’s integrated annual report. IFC’s greenhouse emissions data is independently audited as part of the annual report process.
With a greater understanding of the risks posed by climate change — and mounting evidence that we need to take bold climate action urgently — we adopted our first-ever global corporate carbon emissions reduction target in line with climate science. This was announced along with the World Bank Group-wide climate-related commitments at COP24, the 2018 U.N. Climate Change Conference.
IFC’s commitment is to reduce facility-related emissions by 20% between 2016 and 2026 as part of a 28% reduction committed by the entire World Bank Group over the same period. This is IFC’s most aggressive carbon reduction target to date and the first that will be jointly measured and delivered by the World Bank Group.
We purchase and retire carbon credits annually as part of our carbon-neutral commitment, choosing projects that bring tangible development benefits to the communities in which they take place.
More details can be found in IFC Carbon Neutrality Commitment Factsheet.
Commitment to sustainable buildings
After business travel, electricity use in our office buildings is the largest contributor to our carbon footprint. IFC seeks energy reduction solutions in our global real estate portfolio, which includes buildings we own as well as rented spaces. While we have direct control of our owned properties, rented spaces allow us to choose offices that are in green-certified properties.
IFC’s largest office, our headquarters, accounts for nearly half of IFC’s global real estate by square foot and approximately one-quarter of IFC’s carbon footprint. Increasing energy efficiency in headquarters involves a combination of technical and behavioral solutions like LED lighting, shortening the daily use of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and eliminating personal printers.
IFC’s headquarters achieved LEED Platinum and EnergyStar certifications for existing buildings. Our energy-saving projects have reduced total electricity consumption at headquarters by 22% since 2007.
Outside of headquarters, we are taking measures such as being located in green-certified office buildings, following sustainability principles when renovating offices, and making energy-efficiency improvements. Our owned buildings feature green roofing, rain harvesting, and natural lighting.
IFC’s newest addition, a net-zero World Bank Group office building in Dakar, Senegal, was completed in 2020. IFC is also studying the installation of on-site solar energy generation at our other owned properties.