IFC Practices for Sustainable Investment in Private Sector Livestock Operations

There are seven fundamental practices that inform IFC investments in livestock and aquaculture projects. These practices must underpin a client’s operations, and IFC works with clients to help them transition to operations that follow these practices during the course of the investment. The goal is to ensure that IFC investment projects are aligned with these seven practices within three years of the investment, with the exception of Practice 7, which must be adhered to from the outset. This due diligence process and action plan is recorded in IFC’s Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS), which produces an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP).

Implement robust animal health management and biosecurity protocols

IFC invests in livestock companies that have formal, documented animal health and biosecurity policies and protocols, supported by appropriate staff training and control systems.

Promote decarbonization pathways and enhance the climate resilience of operations

Investments in livestock companies should be consistent with IFC’s commitment to align with the Paris Agreement on a pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

Implement prudent and responsible use of veterinary antimicrobials and medicines

IFC invests in livestock companies that are committed to the principle of responsible and prudent use of veterinary antibiotics and medicines to mitigate the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Prevent the loss of biodiversity

IFC invests in livestock companies that prevent loss of biodiversity through a public commitment to achieve no net loss of natural habitat. IFC invests in livestock companies that, where applicable, attain a net gain of critical habitat[8] in their operations and make a public commitment to eliminate any significant conversion of natural and/or critical habitat in their livestock and feed supply chains.

Provide safe food

IFC invests in livestock companies that use a food safety management system to consistently deliver safe meat and dairy productsto the market.



Implement animal welfare management systems codified by credible standards

IFC invests in livestock companies that implement an animal husbandry management system, that includes animal welfare, through the application of industry-specific good management practices and available technologies. Where such animal welfare practices are codified in global, regional, or national recognized standards, the investee company implements animal welfare management practices independently verified or certified according to one or more relevant and credible standards.


IFC, like other development-oriented investors, follows IFC’s Performance Standards. The Practices do not replace IFC’s Performance Standards, but rather provide detail on the sections of the Performance Standards that are especially relevant to the livestock sector. They include details of how IFC invests in livestock operations and aquaculture businesses, how IFC conducts due diligence, and what IFC requires of its investee companies.


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Respect relevant national laws and regulations

IFC invests in livestock companies that conduct business legally and responsibly. This requires that the business complies with all applicable laws and regulations, including but not limited to respecting human rights, environmental protection, labor relations, worker occupational health and safety, resource efficiency based on international good practices, and legislation. The legislation should relate to the principles of food safety, animal health management, biosecurity, veterinary antimicrobials and medicines, animal welfare, greenhouse gas emissions, and biodiversity. This applies even in markets where these laws are inadequately enforced. IFC expects its investee companies to ensure that their staff understand and respect national laws, regulations, policies, and standards that affect its business.