Washington DC, October 3, 2005 —The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, confirms that it is continuing its process of evaluating the
environmental and social impacts of two proposed pulp mills on the Rio
Uruguay. This study is part of IFC’s due diligence associated with the
possible financing of each mill.
IFC’s established policies and procedures require a thorough process of
identification and analysis of environmental and social costs and benefits
associated with projects it is asked to help finance. These procedures
include consulting with affected populations to ensure their views are
heard and factored into IFC’s decision-making process. The current
focus of the environmental and social assessment of the pulp projects is
an IFC-commissioned Cumulative Impact Study (CIS) that is currently in
progress. The findings of the study will be a primary input into
IFC’s decision-making process regarding prospective financing of each
As a development institution, IFC recognizes the substantial economic benefit
these enterprises can bring to Uruguay’s economy. These two projects represent
the largest direct foreign investment in Uruguay’s history, equivalent
to some 10% of GDP, with the projects’ combined effect expected to raise
GDP by over 1.6%. IFC is also aware that the neighboring communities of
Fray Bentos in Uruguay, and Gualeguaychu in Argentina, have raised concerns
about the possible social and environmental impacts of the plants on the
surrounding area. The key issues identified in these expressed concerns
will be examined within the Cumulative Impact Study.
IFC is an acknowledged global leader in environmental and social standards
for the private sector in emerging markets. The Corporation is committed
to the strict observance of its policies, which require that any project
financed by the Corporation meet world-class environmental and social standards.
IFC promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition
countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances
private sector investments, mobilizes capital in the international financial
markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.