Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory

A family in Moribadou village, Guinea, in the vicinity of an IFC-financed iron ore project. © Ted Pollett / IFC

In addition to financing, IFC offers advisory services to help companies increase benefits to the communities in which they operate, including through supply chains and royalty payments. We aim to raise the bar on how business sustainability and community development are implemented while establishing a technically-grounded foundation for long-term socioeconomic empowerment that enables communities and companies to profit and share value.

Since 2007 we have supported enhanced benefit sharing with local communities through demonstration projects and capacity building, besides codification and exchange of good practice. Companies around the world engage in community investment efforts as a way to promote local development and improve relations with stakeholders around their areas of operation.

For the private sector, community investment—a subset of overall sustainability, social performance, and corporate responsibility—is linked to competitiveness and to creating an environment conducive to investment. In contexts where social risks and expectations are high, benefits channeled effectively through community-investment programs and partnerships can help companies gain social license to operate, access land and water, reduce project and reputational risks, boost productivity, meet government requirements or global standards, and/or successfully compete for the next venture.

Approach and Services

Good practice in this area continues to evolve. Companies are moving away from philanthropic donations and practices created for a particular purpose to more sophisticated and strategic ways of planning and delivering benefits across broader geographic areas. There is greater emphasis on the business case—via the lens of risk and opportunity—and on creating shared value by aligning business goals and competencies with the development priorities of local stakeholders. Other trends include a focus on building social capital and local ownership through multi-stakeholder processes, factoring sustainability and handover/continuity strategies into project design and measuring and communicating results to optimize both business and societal value.

Our benefit-sharing services focus on five broad areas:

  • Community investment and sustainability strategies
  • Local supplier and value-chain development
  • Revenue management and social accountability
  • Water stewardship and cooperation
  • Capacity building and knowledge creation

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Examples of our work

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