What are the main weaknesses of the IDB Invest’s new Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy?

This update was co-written with Maia Seeger, Executive Director of Sustentarse. 

IDB Invest, the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will begin implementing its new Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy (ESSP) on December 15, 2020. Approved by the board in April, the new policy reveals shortcomings in the institution’s environmental and social standards. Civil society organizations (CSOs) have expressed significant concerns about the policy, issuing a public statement outlining the policy’s shortcomings.

IDB Invest missed the opportunity to adopt a robust Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy and move towards stronger standards for development by incorporating lessons learned from complaints at the IDB’s Independent Accountability Mechanism, the MICI, and from more than 12 years of the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s implementation of the Performance Standards. An effective ESSP proves particularly relevant in the push for a sustainable and transformative post-COVID-19 economic recovery, especially as IDB Invest seeks to increase its role and presence in Latin America and the Caribbean. Civil society hopes that the weaknesses of the new IDB’s Invest ESSP can be balanced partly through robust Implementation guidelines and tools. Read more about the primary and most significant limitations of the ESSP identified by civil society here.