Paper and Printing


Paper is one of the most significant waste streams for an organization like IFC.  IFC is addressing the environmental impacts of paper use by reducing print volumes, increased use of electronic publications, reducing paper use with behavior change approaches, improving the environmental quality of purchased paper, and recycling paper waste.


Since FY02, IFC has reduced institutional paper purchases at its headquarters office in Washington D.C. (its largest facility) by over 50%.


Our Global Paper Target is to reduce paper consumption IFC-wide by 15% by FY15. An internal audit in FY14 indicated that we reduced HQ paper purchases by 37%.

Printing Paper Procurement:  Since 2008, IFC has purchased 100% recycled content paper for all of our printing needs in our Washington, DC, office.   Our internal print shop (producing IFC operational documents) uses:

  • 100% post-consumer recycled and chlorine-free print paper for uncoated white text papers for all offset and digital, web and sheet-fed presses
  • Paper that contains no endangered, ancient, or old-growth forest content. (primarily FSC certified)
  • Soy-based inks only
  • Digital short-run and on-demand printing to reduce print runs and waste
  • Direct imaging, waterless process, offset press to reduce use of materials and chemical
  • 100% post-consumer recycled content card stock for business cards
  • Work with clients to recommend productions techniques, designs, etc that are more environmentally responsible
  • Recycling of all possible by products and waste


Reducing Print-runs & Electronic Publications:  Over the last several years, our Corporate Relations team has worked to reduce the print-runs of several important publications including the IFC’s Annual Report, which was made available online for the first time in 2009.  Translations of the Annual Report were also made available online.  Another prominent IFC publication, Telling Our Story, determines its print run solely based on internal demand as measured in pre-orders, and also posts an online e-book version that gets a higher volume of readers than the print version.  Since 2008, a holiday e-card has been available for staff to send to partners and colleagues as an alternative to the paper version.  In 2011, IFC completely eliminated its paper holiday card in lieu of the e-card.


A More Efficient Print System: In FY14, the IFC also began implementing a new print system to modernize print technology, eliminate waste and reduce costs. The new World Bank Group Print System will not only cut down the number of print jobs that are never picked up or recycled, it will lower our carbon emissions and energy consumption through the removal of excessive and inefficient printers. The system will be rolled out in all Washington D.C. offices by end-FY16.


Facilities upgrades in headquarters office: In the DC office, IFC upgraded its paper towel dispensers in FY09, resulting in annual savings of 1,740,000 feet of paper roll and approximately $10,000, with a one year payback period.   That same year, new napkin dispensers reduced napkin use by 25%.  All napkins are 100% recycled content.


Paper Recycling:  IFC recycles paper in most of its offices.  In areas where recycling is not available, many offices donate partially used paper to local artisans or schools.

Behavior Change:  Encouraging staff to print less has also been a cost-effective and realistic way to reduce IFC’s paper use. For example, duplex printing is the default for all printers on our network and we ask all staff to review their documents closely for typos to avoid re-printing, archive and review documents electronically, reduce the amount of handouts distributed at meetings and to use the “print preview” feature, amongst other habits to reduce printing.