July 12, 2011 — IFC has launched a new Web portal aimed at advancing the environmental and social performance of financial intermediaries in emerging markets.
The portal, "Financial Institutions, Resources, Solutions & Tools (FIRST) for Sustainability," will serve as a global one-stop-shop resource on environmental and social risk management, environmental business opportunities, and sustainability-related tools and information developed by IFC. It can be accessed at www.firstforsustainability.org, and contains resources to help FIs:
• Implement IFC environmental & social requirements
• Learn from case studies of sustainability in action
• Benefit from energy efficiency and renewables
• Improve efficiency in food production and agribusiness
Speaking at the launch event, Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Business Advisory Services said, “IFC wants to be first for sustainability. But more importantly, we want our clients to be first for sustainability. By improving the quality of resources and information available to financial institutions, FIRST for Sustainability will help them better manage their environmental and social risk and raise their financial performance."
James Scriven, Director of the IFC Global Financial Markets Department, added, "This Web site will serve as a valuable tool for IFC's growing network of over 729 global relationships, with 542 financial intermediaries around the world and 187 private equity funds. It is through this vast network that IFC can have a positive influence far bigger than itself."
FIRST was made possible thanks to the work of the Climate Business Unit in Financial Markets, Investment Support Group of the IFC’s Environment and Social Development Department, and the generous contributions of the governments of Finland and Sweden.
The dissemination and implementation of FIRST will be achieved through the establishment of a global network of regional partners that will provide local and regional support to financial institutions. Selected partners in each region will be able to draw upon content from the Web site and develop complementary customized material to address the market conditions and needs of financial institutions in the regions.
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