The International Finance Corporation (IFC)
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group – lending to private clients such as companies, banks and private equity funds.
Founded in 1956, the IFC’s mission is to “Advance economic development by encouraging the growth of private enterprise in developing countries.” The IFC works in over 100 countries, and its membership of 185 countries is the same as the World Bank. It also has the same Board as the World Bank, with shares dominated by the US, with a 20% voting power, and European countries which together hold 25%.
Recourse work on the IFC:
Recourse focuses on the IFC’s lending to financial intermediaries (FIs) – third parties such as commercial banks and private equity funds. FI lending comprises over half of IFC’s total portfolio of $31.5 billion. This type of lending is inherently risky since it relies on the IFC’s client to uphold social and environmental standards. Working with our partners and allies, Recourse has tracked and exposed IFC’s links through FIs to human rights abuses, climate-wrecking coal plants, and harms to indigenous communities. Over the years, our campaigns have succeeded in prompting many deep reforms at IFC, making it more accountable and transparent and reducing its high risk activities.
‘Ensuring green equity means equity for people and planet’ Recourse, Heinrich Boell Foundation and BankTrack, Trend Asia and Centre for Financial Accountability, October 2021: examines a new trend for investing equity to achieve green goals and argues how ‘green’ should encompass wider human rights.
‘Is the International Finance Corporation’s greening equity approach working in practice? A case study from India’ Centre for Financial Accountability and Recourse, October 2021: looks at how India’s seventh largest commercial bank, Federal Bank, has vowed to turn its back on coal as a result of signing up to the IFC’s green equity approach.
‘Closing Loopholes: How the IFC can help stop fossil fuel finance’ Recourse and Trend Asia, April 2021: examines how the IFC’s Green Equity Approach could be strengthened to rule out support to fossil fuel projects, such as Indonesia’s Java 9 and 10 coal plants.
‘Coming Clean: Can the IFC help end coal finance?’ Recourse, Trend Asia, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice and Korea Sustainability Investing Forum, October 2020 uncovers an encouraging trend over the past year with IFC explicitly excluding coal in the vast majority of its financial intermediary lending.
Blogs and press releases
Bowing to public pressure, Rizal becomes the first bank in the Philippines to exit coal: https://www.re-course.org/news/bowing-to-public-pressure-rizal-becomes-first-bank-in-philippines-to-exit-coal/ December 2020
A database of the IFC’s active equity clients: https://www.re-course.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/IFC-Federal-Bank-India-case-study.pdf May 2021 To advance transparency and accountability, Recourse created a database of the IFC’s active equity investments in financial intermediaries. The database, which includes 400 IFC investments dating back to 1997, lists the amount, location and date approved as well a crucial information such as whether the investment supports fossil fuels or high risk activities.
Still Bankrolling Climate Change: How MDBs support fossial gas through financial intermediary investments.
The Technical Assistance Paradox: How the World Bank and ADB advisory services are “assisting” dependency on fossil gas
Tread Lightly: Why IFIs should put people and the environment at the centre of the transition mineral supply chain