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Path to sustainability: Applying sustainability principles to the World Bank’s internal operations

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© World Bank
© World Bank

The World Bank Group is committed to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable way. This applies to the way the Bank itself operates as well as how we design projects for clients. This means we are always mindful of the Bank’s own impact on the ecosystems, communities, and economies where we have offices.

Sustainability Principles. To this end, we have 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 almost 150 facilities worldwide as well as our supply chain.

Now that we have these Principles in place the next step will be setting short and long-term targets – a direction articulated in last year’s Corporate Responsibility Strategic Plan.

Fiscal Year 2017 Highlights. In terms of the Bank’s internal operations, we have made significant progress on our SDG commitments. Consider that in the last year we accomplished the following:

  • 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from managed and owned facilities between 2015-2016. That’s equivalent to taking over 700 passenger cars off the road for one year.
  • Two more buildings designed and constructed with sustainable design specification – in Lao and New Delhi.
  • $56 billion raised in World Bank bonds for sustainable development.
  • SDG-linked Bonds launched, directly connecting returns to performance of companies that are advancing SDG goals.
I encourage you to read the biennial Sustainability Review and accompanying sustainability indicators, based on the Global Reporting Initiative standard, for more information.

Shared challenges
We are continuing to build partnerships with our counterparts at the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and other development institutions. Our goal is to create lasting change by sharing experiences and seeking solutions to common challenges we face in curbing environmental and social impacts from our internal operations.

Share Your Views
We hope these Principles not only inform but also inspire you to further the cause of sustainability in all aspects of work and life. Your role is key and I encourage you to reach out to us with comments and reactions:


Shaolin Yang

Former Managing Director and World Bank Group Chief Administrative Officer (MDCAO)

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