Is the World Bank’s Provisional Corporate Scorecard an Improvement from the Old Format?

As the World Bank develops its new Corporate Scorecard as part of the Evolution Roadmap, BIC provided comments to improve the effectiveness of the Bank’s reporting. While the provisional Corporate Scorecard has a stronger focus on impacts, there is still insufficient attention paid to the adverse effects of Bank investments and marginalized communities.

As part of the World Bank’s Evolution Roadmap, a reform process meant to improve the Bank’s ability to address global challenges, the World Bank is revamping its Corporate Scorecard. The Corporate Scorecard is a set of performance indicators that is supposed to allow the board of the World Bank Group, Management, and the public to monitor the Bank’s performance in key areas. The intent of the revamped Corporate Scorecard is to move away from metrics on inputs and internal processes and instead focus on outcomes aligned with the World Bank’s new mission and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On September 7th, the World Bank released a provisional Corporate Scorecard in its second Development Committee report, “Ending Poverty on a Livable Planet: Report to Governors on World Bank Evolution.” The provisional Corporate Scorecard includes 22 indicators divided into 12 subject areas, a significant divergence from the prior Scorecard format that included over 100 indicators divided into three categories. Though the indicators within the provisional Corporate Scorecard are still subject to change and the methodologies of the indicators have yet to be released, the provisional Corporate Scorecard shows the direction of the reform process. 

World Bank President Ajay Banga has emphasized the importance of the Scorecard reform in the Evolution Roadmap. At the 2023 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, Banga called the new Scorecard “our yardstick of accountability and a guidepost that our teams can rally around and work toward.” Reforms to the Corporate Scorecard are long needed. Our comments on the Evolution Roadmap noted that the previous iteration of the Corporate Scorecard suffered from a lack of disaggregation and a weak focus on outcomes. While the provisional Corporate Scorecard shows improvements from the prior Corporate Scorecard by generally focusing on outcomes over money spent, there is still a notable lack of disaggregation among marginalized groups and an overriding focus on benefits without consideration of adverse impacts.

The provisional Corporate Scorecard generally succeeds in focusing on outcomes related to its investments. Out of the 22 indicators included in the Provisional Scorecard, ten are holdovers from the prior Scorecard. Almost all of these holdovers are client result indicators which focus on project-level outcomes. Among the 12 new indicators, most of them illustrate direct connections between investment and impact. For example, while the prior Scorecard measured overall changes in levels of deforestation, the provisional Scorecard includes a new indicator on deforestation prevented by World Bank operations. 

Though the stronger focus on impacts is a step in the right direction, there is almost no focus on the adverse impacts from investments. The scorecard includes an indicator on “millions of people with reduced vulnerability to climate risks,” but there is no consideration of impacts from projects that have increased communities’ vulnerability to climate risks. Likewise, the new deforestation indicator does not include measurements of deforestation caused by World Bank projects. When active projects such as the Bisri Dam, Sal de Vida, and Pronaca, and the Hotel Xcaret Mexico threaten the integrity of the local communities’ environment, a sole focus on positive outcomes prevents holistic evaluations of the Bank’s environmental impacts.

Furthermore, there are no indicators that focus on the availability of redress for project-affected communities. While the prior scorecard at least included broad indicators on project quality based on ratings from the Independent Evaluation Group and stakeholder feedback, the Provisional Scorecard includes no evaluation of projects with negative results. With the IFC and MIGA finalizing their Approach to Remedial Action and Responsible Exit Principles based on a draft that failed to detail the institutions’ responsibility to deliver remedy, the lack of focus on accountability is deeply concerning. There are also no indicators that evaluate the effectiveness of measures to prevent Gender Based Violence and other negative project-related impacts, the quality of community consultations, or the consistency of information disclosure. 

There is also weak disaggregation within indicators. Our comments on the Evolution Roadmap noted that it is not helpful to aggregate results across distinctive sets of marginalized groups, such as persons with disabilities, Indigenous People, and LGBTQI+ people, since each group faces different barriers to accessing project benefits. The Provisional Corporate Scorecard does not take that advice. Indicators are only “disaggregated and aggregated by [fragile and conflict-affected situations] FCS, sex, youth, partnerships, and World Bank collaboration, where applicable.” While this is an improvement from the prior Scorecard which only disaggregated some indicators by lending arm, the complete lack of focus on marginalized groups within the Scorecard is concerning. 

The failure to consider the disaggregated impacts of development on marginalized groups has detrimental effects on development outcomes. For example, in the 2018 UN Flagship Disability and Development report, researchers found that people with disabilities are more vulnerable to climate crises, more likely to face gender discrimination, and have greater barriers to accessing health services. Despite the broad understanding that development cannot be inclusive without consideration of marginalized communities, the World Bank still fails to fully consider the intersectionality of its work. In our own analysis of 11 World Bank social protection projects, we found a consistent failure to adequately assess the barriers to project benefits for marginalized groups, insufficient differentiation between marginalized groups, and a lack of LGBTQI+ inclusion in projects. The provisional Corporate Scorecard is a missed opportunity to mainstream consideration of marginalized groups in its operations. If the Corporate Scorecard is the basis of accountability with stakeholders, the continued omissions of marginal groups from impact reporting will undermine the Bank’s efforts to prevent harm and promote equality and inclusion. 

Though the new focus on outcomes within the provisional Corporate Scorecard is well received, the lack of tracking of adverse effects from Bank investments and the failure to disaggregate impacts on marginalized groups illustrates the overarching issue with the Evolution Roadmap: the lack of consideration for the communities that host World Bank projects. While we welcome the focus on mobilizing resources towards global challenges, leaving the most marginalized communities to carry additional risk will limit the effectiveness of the efforts and is contrary to the Bank’s development mandate. As the World Bank works to finalize the Corporate Scorecard, the Bank should further disaggregate the results and include indicators on adverse impacts of investments.