NEWS: New IFC Standards to Affect You?

As you may know, this month our blog is focusing on the latest  green innovations.  We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled broadcast today to highlight some important new performance standards that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank (who is known for coming up with catchy names like “International Finance Corporation” for their individual units), has released. 

These performance standards set a framework for companies that are clients of the IFC (primarily multinational development and finance institutions) to improve their sustainability efforts.  Why is this important for you, even though you don’t work for a giant MNE or bank?  Because these standards also serve as benchmarks for other private sector businesses, especially in the natural resources industry. 

We’re looking at you, our lovely mining clients.  You know who you are!  In order to get financing for your projects, you’re going to have to appeal to the requirements of these big financiers who, in turn, have to adhere to the IFC performance standards.  In short, this means that you, very likely, have to adhere to these standards.  

Here are some of the key changes in the new IFC standards:

  • Requirements on migrant labor: IFC clients must identify their migrant workers and ensure that they are treated the same as non-migrant workers who perform the same jobs. 
  • Accommodations: Where accommodation services are provided to workers, everything from salary, to benefits, to dismissal policies, to freedom of movement, must be completely non-discriminatory and equal opportunity in nature. 
  • Third party contractor rules: IFC clients must put in place policies and procedures that enable them to monitor and manage the performance of their third party contractors.  These should be contractually mandated when possible.  This is an impressive development – third party sustainability is often a major obstacle to establishing a green supply chain.
  • Other regulations that should go without saying: The new standards clarify that employment of trafficed workers is prohibited.  IFC clients must do their due diligence on safety issues.  They can’t employ children or use forced labor.

We strongly recommend (especially if you’re in the mining or natural resources industry,) that you check out the complete updated performance standards can be found here.