2 October 2019


IFU’s updated Sustainable Investments Handbook explains how our requirements should be interpreted and can be implemented.

IFU’s objective is to promote investments, which support sustainable development in developing countries in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner.  Therefore, IFU is committed to ensuring that the projects in which we invest reduce sustainability risks and adverse impacts and generate development impact.

This may include

  • creation of decent work opportunities
  • access to affordable and sustainable energy
  • resilient infrastructure
  • local tax contribution
  • sustainable consumption and production
  • gender equality and health
  • food security

IFU’s sustainability requirements for direct investments in project companies are outlined in IFU’s Sustainability Policy and in the new, updated Sustainability Handbook. The handbook explains how the requirements should be interpreted and can be implemented to ensure that sustainability is an integrated part of the strategic and daily operation of a company.

The handbook applies to all direct investments made by IFU and IFU managed funds. However, funds and financial institutions in which IFU invests may also use the handbook in their dialogue with their portfolio companies and clients.

The handbook explains IFU’s requirements and expectations for project companies to manage risks and impacts related to ESG issues and business ethics as well as development impacts.

It emphasizes potential risks and impacts that require particular attention. Project companies must continually assess whether sustainability issues need to be addressed, so they do not risk violating national legislation or international principles.

IFU requires high-risk projects to comply with the IFC Performance Standards and related IFC Environmental, Health, & Safety (EHS) Guidelines. IFU promotes these standards and guidelines in all project companies, when relevant, and the requirements in this handbook are aligned with them.

It is IFU’s experience that high standards within sustainability are prerequisites for continuous positive returns and long-term business success and may provide benefits like access to markets, reduced staff turnover, cost efficiencies in production and improved stakeholder relations.

We hope you will find the handbook both informative and useful.

Physical copies of the Sustainability Handbook can be ordered by contacting Birgitte Waage,