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IFC Launches Forum to Support Financial Institutions’ Environmental and Social Performance


In Washington D.C.:
Vanessa Bauza
Phone: (202) 458-1603
E-mail: vbauza@ifc.org

Washington D.C., October 25, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today launched its fifth annual Community of Learning, a knowledge-sharing forum aimed at strengthening the environmental and social risk-management of financial institutions and supporting sustainable ways of doing business for companies in emerging markets.

The two-day event includes approximately 150 participants from financial institutions around the world. It focuses on a broad spectrum of issues related to the application of IFC’s recently updated Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability and provides an opportuntity for financial institutions to exchange expertise on environmental and social risk management, environmental business opportunities, and sustainability-related tools and information.

“As many companies struggle to regain momentum in the wake of the global financial crisis, this is a timely moment to underscore the importance of sustainability,” said Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC Vice President. “We have proven that good environmental and social performance correlates to long-term financial performance. IFC’s standards are designed to help companies operate in a fast changing world, to be competitive, and to manage non-financial risks. This is important for sustainable growth in emerging markets.”

IFC’s updated Performance Standards, which will go into effect on January 1, 2012, were revised in critical areas such as climate change; business and human rights; consultations with project-affected communities, including indigenous peoples; and supply-chain management. Originally adopted in 2006, the Performance Standards are the basis for the Equator Principles, a voluntary environmental and social risk-management framework used by 74 financial institutions worldwide. In addition, 15 European Development Finance Institutions and 32 export credit agencies from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development refer to the Performance Standards in their operations. In 2008, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development modeled its own Performance Requirements on IFC’s Performance Standards.

“The Community of Learning leverages expertise from a wide network of financial institutions that reference IFC’s Performance Standards,” said William Bulmer, Director of IFC’s Environment, Social, and Governance Department. “These partnerships help deepen our understanding of emerging trends in sustainability. Our goal is to support our clients and help improve the environmental and social performance of financial institutions in the broader market.”

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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