IFC adds $50bn+ to UNPRI as it becomes first multilateral development bank to sign up

World Bank private finance arm sets out three priority commitments for PRI membership.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector finance arm of the World Bank, has become the first multilateral development bank to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), in a major boost to the fast-growing initiative. The IFC runs well over $50bn in assets, which will be added to the $25trn in assets managed by more than 870 signatories that now belong to the UNPRI.
Its influence may go further in encouraging other large development groups such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to look at signing the PRI.
The IFC has particular experience in sustainable and responsible investments in emerging markets. Its own Performance Standards form the basis of the Equator Principles, the industry standard for banks to manage environmental and social issues in project financing.
The IFC also advises companies, industries, and governments on sustainable finance issues. The IFC’s Asset Management Company, which manages the $3bn IFC Capitalization Fund and the $1bn IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund, has also signed the principles.
The UNPRI currently has just a few national development organisations as members. The UK’s CDC group (formerly the CommonwealthDevelopment Corporation) is a signatory, but other major European national development groups such as FMO in the Netherlands, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries and Swedfund International in Sweden are not.
As part of its signing of the UNPRI, the IFC said it would work on three initial priorities. The first will be to jointly convene events with the UNPRI in emerging markets to help raise awareness of the business case for responsible investment. Second, the IFC will support the UNPRI’s work on private equity by making its procedure for how to manage environmental and social risks available to other PRI signatories. Third, the IFC and UNPRI will work together to support investors to link emerging market investment strategies with the Millennium Development Goals within a fiduciary, market-return context.
Rachel Kyte, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services, said: “Our collaboration with UNPRI will enable IFC’s approach to be shared by investors across a wider range of asset classes and have a larger impact promoting sustainable and responsible investments.”
The IFC and UNPRI will both be speaking about their work in emerging markets at RI’s Sustainable Emerging Markets Conference on May 24/25 in London.
Link to conference information