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Yangon, Myanmar, April 27, 2017–IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today launched IFC’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Standards in Myanmar language. This is a set of eight internationally-recognized standards that guide companies and government on identifying and managing environmental and social risks to achieve sustainability. With this launch, the standards are now available in nine languages world-wide.
“Companies that use IFC’s Performance Standards as a guideline to strengthen sustainability will pave the path toward new markets,” said Bernard Sheahan, IFC’s Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources Management. “Our experience shows that projects with an early commitment to environmental and social sustainability increase their returns and profitability in the long term.”
Sheahan was joined on a panel by speakers from IFC, the Australian Embassy, the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business and the Yangon Government. Local language versions of IFC’s Performance Standards provide opportunities for companies and government to better learn about environmental and social sustainability, resulting in improved access to international finance, stakeholder relations, and business operations.
“We are learning how IFC’s Performance Standards can be integrated into policy and regulation,” said Daw Khin Thida Tin, Director, Environmental Conservation Department (Yangon), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. “It’s not enough to say your committed to the Performance Standards–we need to ensure that they are applied. The Myanmar-language version makes it easier for us to do so.”
Myanmar needs access to finance to build infrastructure over the next two decades. The government of Myanmar has estimated it needs $2.3 billion to meet electricity-generation targets by 2030, coupled with $11.5 billion to improve roads throughout the country. If applied to business planning and operations, IFC’s Performance Standards could help interested companies and government to raise their environmental and social standards to levels that will attract the high-quality international financiers needed to drive development in a sustainable manner.
Developed in 2006 and updated in 2012, IFC’s Performance Standards are the foundation for the Equator Principles signed on by 89 Financial Institutions.
In 2016, IFC research showed that stock exchanges across the world rely on these standards to construct their sustainability indexes. “As Myanmar grows its stock exchange, the Performance Standards could also help guide its sustainability index, encouraging more companies to become publicly listed,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager. It was estimated that this global trend could be influencing about $120 trillion in assets.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org and www.ifc.org/hydroadvisory