IIC Approves New Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy

Revised policy updates guidelines for IIC investments and technical assistance activities

Washington, D.C., June 26, 2013 The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) has approved a new Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy, laying down a framework of guidelines and principles to enhance its social impact and reduce the ecological footprint of its operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The new policy incorporates internationally recognized standards and regulations and will serve as a yardstick for IIC projects and technical assistance activities. The document is the result of more than a year of extensive research, analysis and widespread collaboration from civil society. A draft version of the policy was released for public consultation earlier this year and received input from prominent civil society organizations including the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and the World Resources Institute.

"The IIC is firmly committed to promoting social and environmental sustainability as part of its development mission in Latin America and the Caribbean," noted Angela Miller, the IIC's lead environmental specialist. "The new policy consolidates our efforts to prevent pollution, mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity. It also seeks to further strengthen our commitment to promoting gender equality, good working conditions and the inclusion of indigenous people and persons with disabilities as part of our work."

IIC activities are subject to an appraisal process prior to implementation where they are vetted to ensure compliance with environmental and social safeguards. The new policy broadens the scope of a previous framework document in effect since 1999. As part of the update, the document now extends to the IIC's comprehensive technical assistance initiatives and includes corporate governance guidelines for the extractive industries and beyond.

The IIC has been training small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and financial intermediaries on sustainability topics for more than a decade. More than 1,000 representatives from the private sector have participated in energy efficiency workshops under the IIC's GREENPYME program and some 220 financial institutions have improved their environmental and social risk management as part of the IIC's annual Sustainability Week.

With a portfolio of close to US$140 million in renewable energy projects, the IIC is an important source of financing for a sustainable energy future in Latin America and the Caribbean. The institution's commitment to low carbon development is further contextualized by a series of energy efficiency audits, which have helped more than 360 SMEs in the region reduce their energy consumption.

The IIC's Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy will come into effect on September 1, 2013 and will be accompanied by a guidance document with details on the policy's implementation on the ground.

About the IIC
The IIC, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, promotes private-sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We help companies streamline management processes and provide them with financing in the form of equity investments, loans, and guarantees. In 2012, the IIC approved 73 operations totaling US$378.9 million. Throughout our history, we have approved nearly 800 direct loans to SMEs and financial intermediaries, for a total of US$4.8 billion. An additional US$2.8 billion has been mobilized through cofinancing and syndication agreements. For more information on IIC activities, visit www.iic.org.

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