The World Bank Environmental and Social Framework

The World Bank (WB) Environmental and Social Framework came into effect on 1 October, 2018. The framework enhances the World Bank's commitment to sustainable development through ten Environmental and Social Standards (ESS) that are designed to support Borrowers' environmental and social (E&S) risk management.

The WB ESS structure builds upon the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Performance Standards (PS) 1 to 8 that was last updated in 2012. As a result, WB ESS 1 through 8 are similar to IFC-PS 1 to 8, and share many themes and components.

ESS 1: Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts

Sets out the Borrower's responsibilities for assessing, managing and monitoring environmental and social risks and impacts associated with each stage of a project supported by the Bank through Investment Project Financing, in order to achieve environmental and social outcomes consistent with the Environmental and Social Standards.

ESS 2: Labor and Working Conditions

Recognizes the importance of employment creation and income generation in the pursuit of poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth. Projects can promote sound worker-management relationships and enhance the development benefits of a project by treating workers in the project fairly and providing safe and healthy working conditions.

ESS 3: Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention and Management

Recognizes that economic activity and urbanization often generate pollution to air, water, and land, and consume finite resources that may threaten people, ecosystem services and the environment at the local, regional, and global levels. However, more efficient and effective resource use, pollution prevention and GHG emission avoidance, and mitigation technologies and practices have become more accessible and achievable.

ESS 4: Community Health and Safety

Recognizes that project activities, equipment, and infrastructure can increase community exposure to risks and impacts.

ESS 5: Land Acquisition, Restrictions on Land Use and Involuntary Resettlement

Recognizes that project-related land acquisition and restrictions on land use can have adverse impacts on communities and persons. Project-related land acquisition or restrictions on land use may cause physical displacement, economic displacement, or both.

ESS 6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources

Recognizes that protecting and conserving biodiversity and sustainably managing living natural resources are fundamental to sustainable development. Impacts on biodiversity can also adversely affect the delivery of ecosystem services.

ESS 7: Indigenous Peoples/Sub-Saharan African Historically Underserved Traditional Local Communities

Uses the term "Indigenous Peoples/Sub-Saharan African Historically Underserved Traditional Local Communities" to include "Sub-Saharan African historically underserved traditional local communities," "indigenous ethnic minorities," "aboriginals," "hill tribes," "vulnerable and marginalized groups," "minority nationalities," "scheduled tribes," "first nations" or "tribal groups."

ESS 8: Cultural Heritage

Recognizes that cultural heritage, in its many manifestations, is important as a source of valuable scientific and historical information, as an economic and social asset for development, and as an integral part of people's cultural identity and practice. ESS8 sets out measures designed to protect cultural heritage throughout the project life cycle.

ESS 9: Financial Intermediaries

Recognizes that strong domestic capital and financial markets and access to finance are important for economic development, growth and poverty reduction. The WB is committed to supporting sustainable financial sector development and enhancing the role of domestic capital and financial markets.

ESS 10: Stakeholder Engagement and Information Disclosure

Recognizes the importance of open and transparent engagement between the borrower and project stakeholders as an essential element of good international practice. Effective stakeholder engagement can improve the environmental and social sustainability of projects, enhance project acceptance, and make a significant contribution to successful project design and implementation.