IFC holds itself as a bond issuer embedding the highest standards of Environmental, Social and Governance practices. IFC’s ESG policies, guidelines, and tools are widely adopted as market standards and embedded in operational policies by corporations, investors, financial intermediaries, stock exchanges, regulators, and countries. This helps emerging markets raise their ESG standards and level the playing field. There have been a number of studies looking at the relation between companies’ ESG and their financial performance. The vast majority of them find a direct link: companies that do good by the environment, their labor force, and communities, do well financially.
In 2019, INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION received a rating of AAA (on a scale of AAA-CCC) in the MSCI ESG Ratings assessment.
IFC’s Alignment with SDGs
As part of the World Bank Group, IFC has two overarching goals—ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity—that are aligned with the SDGs. Through direct investments and advisory services, IFC provides private sector solutions that lay the foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. IFC contributes to the SDGs through two pathways namely: project outcomes and market creation
Learn more about how IFC aligns to the Sustainable Development Goals here
IFC’s ESG Approach
As part of its funding program, IFC actively issues ESG bonds also known as Socially Responsible Investments. Our funding program finances loans to IFC Clients. A subset of our loan portfolio is funded through our established Green Bond program which finances climate friendly projects and our Social Bond Program which finances projects that aim to alleviate social issues. Both programs are fully aligned to the capital markets’ most referenced frameworks: The Green Bond Principles and The Social Bond Principles.
All projects financed by IFC must adhere to stringent ESG standards and our Sustainability Framework which help our clients do business in a sustainable way. It promotes sound environmental and social practices, encourages transparency and accountability, and contributes to positive development impacts. IFC's Performance Standards, which are part of the Sustainability Framework, have become globally recognized as a benchmark for environmental and social risk management in the private sector.
IFC’s Sustainability Framework consists of
Nearly 90 percent of our clients believe that our environment, social, and governance support is key in helping them reach their long-term business goals, improve their relations with stakeholders and local communities, and boost their brand value and recognition.
IFC believes that transparency and accountability are fundamental to fulfilling our development mandate and strengthening public trust in IFC and our clients. We disclose information about our projects, including project-level environmental and social review summaries (ESRS), through our disclosure portal.
Our work is continuously evaluated by two independent accountability mechanisms:
The Independent Evaluation Group is charged with evaluating the activities of IBRD and IDA (the World Bank), the work of IFC in private sector development, and MIGA's guarantee projects and services. The goals of evaluation are to provide an objective assessment of the results of the Bank Group’s work and to identify and disseminate lessons learned from experience.
The Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) is the independent recourse mechanism for IFC and MIGA. The CAO responds to complaints from project-affected communities with the goal of enhancing social and environmental outcomes on the ground.