Rubiel Rios Andrade dries cacao on his farm in township of La Paz, Colombia on January 13, 2016. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank
IFC launched its Integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance Project in Colombia in 2023 to support the development of a range of market mechanisms to promote environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards and assist companies in the real and financial sectors in improving their ESG performance.
The project aims to strengthen the regulatory (including voluntary) environment for ESG by improving the regulations and supporting its implementation to level the playing field for all companies across the market. It assists the financial regulator, Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia, and other selected regulators in adopting or implementing ESG standards and builds their capacity to understand and manage ESG risks better and implement ESG standards and regulations in the market.
The project aims at strengthening the capacity of local intermediaries and industry associations to improve their ability to promote, train, and advise on ESG standards, focusing on the governance of environmental and social practices and ESG risk management in the financial sector, capital markets, and priority industries in the real sector.
The project provides in-depth technical advice to companies to improve their ESG performance, including through the following:
During the 2015–19 Corporate Governance Colombia Project, IFC was a key player in implementing comprehensive regulatory reforms that aligned local corporate governance standards with international best practices, creating sustainable capacity in a wide range of local market intermediaries to provide ongoing corporate governance trainings and services to the market, and promoting the adoption of better corporate governance practices in firms. IFC was also involved in raising awareness across a broad cross-section of businesses and market participants, and working with the national government to raise corporate governance standards, which contributed to Colombia becoming the 37th member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
IFC played a key role in establishing the Instituto Colombiano de Gobierno Corporativo, the first corporate governance institute in Colombia. The institute and IFC published multiple documents on corporate governance and established locally renowned programs such as the Corporate Governance Certification for board members.
IFC had an active role in developing the Women on Boards certification and community in partnership with Centro de Estudios de Gobierno Corporativo, an initiative of Colegio de Estudios Superiores de Administración. The community now includes more than 450 women in leadership positions throughout the region.
IFC assumed technical leadership of Mesa de Finanzas Sostenibles, a roundtable held by national guilds to discuss sustainability self-regulation and transparency, among other key topics. These guilds include the banking association, pension fund association, and stock exchange association, among others.
IFC has worked with universities to promote and publish research on corporate governance best practices and helped establish university curriculums focusing on corporate governance.
The Integrated ESG Project is implemented in partnership with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland SECO.
The new Integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance Project is now selecting local partners.