“A range of environmental challenges—including pollution, the degradation of forests and biodiversity, marine plastics, and extreme weather events—are putting sustainable economic growth and inclusive development at risk. One of the great strengths of the World Bank Group is in partnering with countries to find local solutions and deliver good outcomes.”
David Malpass, President, World Bank Group
The World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030:
- End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day to no more than 3%
- Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for every country
ALIGNMENT WITH THE STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM, 2020–2030
The World Bank Group (WBG), including its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is committed to actively integrating sustainability into our work with clients and strives to continually manage our corporate environmental and social impact.
In April 2019, the World Bank Group Corporate Responsibility Oversight Committee was re-established to provide high-level strategic leadership and guidance for the institution’s corporate sustainability agenda, including overseeing climate commitments for its internal operations. The Committee is co-chaired by the Managing Director of Development Policy & Partnership and the Managing Director & Chief Administrative Officer. Members include high-level representatives of key units that manage the environmental, social, and economic impacts of our internal activities as well as the reporting and transparency of results.
The World Bank has adopted 10 Sustainability Principles that apply to our internal activities. Linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, these principles are the bedrock for embedding sustainability in the Bank's decisions in the following areas: Corporate Real Estate, Corporate Procurement, and Resource Management. Using these principles in a systematic way will positively impact how we operate our facilities worldwide as well as our supply chain.
We have an active program to measure, manage, report and offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the WBG’s global business operations, including fuel used in boilers and generators, electricity consumed in buildings, and emissions from key meetings and air travel. Utilizing our inventory management plan as a guide, we have collected and managed data from all our offices since 2007 and began using a web-based data management system in 2008 to ensure a transparent and auditable process.
The WBG adopted a global corporate carbon emissions reduction target in line with climate science - to reduce direct and indirect carbon emissions from our global facilities by 28 percent by 2026 from a 2016 baseline. This was announced together with the WBG-wide climate-related commitments at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference. A range of measures are being considered, including using renewable energy wherever feasible and improving energy efficiency.
In 2019, the World Bank Group signed the Cool Food Pledge, committing to reduce food-related emissions from cafeterias, coffee bars, and catering operations at our Washington, DC headquarters by 25 percent by 2030.
Starting in 2006 the WBG became “carbon neutral” for its headquarters, including day-to-day operations and business travel, and since 2009 has been globally carbon neutral for all of its facility and business travel GHG emissions (including country offices).
Between fiscal years 2010-2019, the WBG reduced emissions by 27 percent from its facilities-based emissions (Scope 1 and 2). WBG is on track to meet the current target of 28 percent emissions reduction by 2026 from a 2016 baseline, having reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 9 percent as of fiscal year 2019.
EMS AND REDUCTION EFFORTS
In fiscal year 2019, the Bank Group announced a new corporate carbon emissions reduction target to reduce direct and indirect carbon emissions from its global facilities by 28 percent by 2026, from a 2016 baseline.
The World Bank:
In fiscal year 2019, the Bank's global energy usage within the organization (scope 1 and 2) was reduced by 16,232 GJ, predominately through reductions in electricity use. The Bank invested in energy reduction and efficiency initiatives at the headquarters offices and several non-U.S. offices, which includes the following projects:
- Headquarters has an ongoing project to upgrade to LED lights; the main headquarters building's electricity consumption was down 1,402 GJ between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019.
- Building engineers continuously make minor adjustments to temperature settings, scheduling and other operational changes to reduce energy use.
- Headquarters "J" building: replace the air handler units.
IFC’s largest office, headquartered in Washington, DC, shortened the daily use of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with an aim to save 2 to 3 percent of total energy use. Continued to upgrade the lighting system to LED products and adjust temperature setpoints for water use and for heating and cooling systems. IFC is leading the development and engineering of a new net-zero energy-use WBG office building in Dakar, Senegal. The project is slated for completion in 2020. In fiscal year 19, IFC added 70 solar panels to the roof of its HQ creating savings of 198.8 MWh per year (1.3% of annual consumption). IFC is also studying the potential for adding on-site solar-energy generation at our other owned properties.
INVENTORY MANAGEMENT PLANS
Each year, the WBG updates and discloses the Inventory Management Plan (IMP) that presents the current scope and vision of its commitment to inventory and manage GHG emissions for its internal global business operations. The IMP sets forth the WBG’s intention to create a GHG inventory that is consistent with the principles and guidance of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative (GHG Protocol) for its internal corporate GHG accounting and reporting. The inventory methodology is designed to meet the most rigorous and complete accounting and reporting standards. The WBG IMP can be found here: https://www.worldbank.org/en/about/what-we-do/crinfo
The Bank Group has been 100 percent climate neutral since 2009 through a combination of carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates (RECs). In fiscal year 2019, the WBG maintained climate neutrality through the purchase of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) and high-quality Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) that provide tangible development benefits in client countries. These included wind energy projects in Pakistan and Mongolia; a hydroelectric project in Honduras; and a Gold Standard energy reduction project that provides ceramic water purification to reduce the use of firewood to boil water for safe consumption.
The World Bank has worked to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills through a combination of source reduction, reuse, and recycling. Minimizing the amount of material brought into Bank facilities is the first way the Bank manages the amount of waste created. Avoiding unnecessary packaging for purchased items, including encouraging minimum purchase thresholds for office supplies, is one way the Bank accomplishes this. Another way is by mandating that large purchases from vendors, such as the Bank’s latest computer monitor purchase, be delivered in bulk instead of individually packaged. In fiscal year 2018, in all Bank buildings in Washington, DC, a centralized waste collection system was introduced, including composting and recycling, with bins removed from individual offices.
In FY18, IFC launched a reusable food-container program, eliminating nearly 250,000 disposable containers annually. The program helped reduce IFC’s total waste by an estimated 26 percent from 2015, according to our latest waste audit.
Water and Wastewater Management
World Bank facilities conserve the amount of water used through technological upgrades and proactive maintenance practices. This includes purchasing water-efficient fixtures, proactively checking for leaks, and investing in water-efficient equipment in our HVAC systems. In Washington, DC, a water audit was carried out to identify opportunities for improved water efficiency. The World Bank’s Facilities Management unit has begun undertaking some of the priority projects identified.
Addressing water availability in country offices:
World Bank country offices’ conservation efforts depend on the local context. To improve data availability in country offices, processes are currently being put in place. Approximately 80 percent of the global portfolio has reported their water usage in the past 3 years. Two of our largest facilities in India and Kenya undertook energy, environmental, and water assessments with findings completed in fiscal year 2020.
Other environmental measures
The World Bank actively manages the environmental, social, and economic impacts of its internal business operations by striving for net positive impacts on the ecosystems, communities, and economies where it has offices. By implementing its Corporate Responsibility Strategic Plan, the Bank systematically addresses environmental impacts from day-to-day operations, utilizing a set of Sustainability Principles as its guide.
Work is underway on:
- Updating carbon methodology related to air travel emissions. Sixty-eight percent of the WBG's carbon footprint comes from air travel (80% with radiative forcing applied) —by far the biggest contributor. In fiscal year 2019, WBG changed the business travel emissions calculation methodology from UK DEFRA emission factors to the ICAO calculator in line with other UN agencies.
- Reducing paper usage. In fiscal year 2019, the Bank used 358 metric tons of paper for printing—the equivalent of about 2,300 trees (estimated by the Paper Calculator). However, thanks to initiatives such as centralized printers, that amount is trending down from about 500 metric tons just a few years ago. While paper is sustainably sourced, to reduce its use further, a printing reduction campaign will be rolled out.
- IFC waste management goals. IFC plans to reinstitute a composting program with the aim of achieving at least 90 percent diversion of waste from landfill at headquarters. Additionally, IFC will strengthen the reusable food-container program, and further promote other waste initiatives such as the reuse and donation of office supplies and electronic recycling.
- Complete sustainability audits for WBG buildings worldwide. While GHG emissions have been measured from offices globally, water, energy and waste audits were all scheduled to be started and/or completed in fiscal year 2020 (schedules have been impacted by COVID-19). Starting with headquarters and some of the larger country offices, this data will help manage the institution's environmental footprint and set clearer sustainability goals.
World Bank and sustainability
IFC and sustainability