The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has released its updated Sustainability Framework that will come into effect January 1, 2012, for projects and companies that have embraced the IFC’s environmental and social performance standards. Chief among the changes to the Sustainability Policy and Performance Standards (PS) is the increased emphasis on free, prior and informed consent. Of course, as in the past, these changes are forward-looking and only apply to projects starting in January. Also, as in the past, companies and funders will be under pressure to step up to the enhanced standards, whether they are required to or not.

In late October, the updated guidance notes to the PS were made available. With the launch of the Sustainability Framework less than two months away, now is the time to start thinking about what the changes mean and what to do about them.

Read some initial thoughts about the priority areas of the Updated IFC Performance Standards.