The report demonstrates that banks can gain a competitive edge
by integrating sustainability into their business strategy
Washington, D.C., March 26, 2007 – IFC (International Finance Corporation),
the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, issued today a publication
entitled “Banking on Sustainability,” which demonstrates that banks that
integrate environmental, social, and governance concerns into their business
strategy and seek out opportunities in those fields add value to their
The publication provides practical examples of 14 financial institutions
in 12 countries that have taken concrete steps to integrate sustainability
into their policies, practices, products, and services.
“While detailing the evidence of potential benefits for banks in integrating
sustainability into their business strategy, the report reveals a dramatic
shift in banks’ awareness of these benefits,” said Rachel Kyte, IFC Director
of Environment and Social Development.
In a 2005 IFC survey, 86 percent of 120 financial institutions interviewed
reported positive changes as a result of steps they had taken to integrate
social and environmental issues in their business.
“There are real opportunities for banks in reaching previously unserved
segments of the market, including women entrepreneurs or energy efficiency
projects,” said Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Director for Global Financial Markets.
“The publication provides a tool for banks to recognize these opportunities.”
The report shows how 14 financial institutions
· implemented social and environmental management
· developed innovative financial products to
expand their business into areas related to social and environmental sustainability
· reaped positive business impact by integrating
social and environmental considerations into their operations and investment
Examples include Banco Itau-BBA, the first bank in Brazil to require explicit
consideration of environmental issues in its lending activities; Banco
Cuscatlan, one of the leading commercial and retail banking institutions
in Central America, which introduced a comprehensive environmental management
system; and Unibanco, Brazil's third largest private bank, which disclosed
nonfinancial information, including information on sustainability, through
Publication of the report was made possible by donor support from the governments
of Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United
Kingdom. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org/environpublications.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and
competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable private
sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering
basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and
improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed
more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized
an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing
countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more
than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate
private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business-enabling
environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental
and social sustainability. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.