Environmental and Social Risk Management Program

The Environmental and Social Risk Management Program will be implemented in three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria). Its aim is to ensure that lending to economic activities does not come at the cost of human well-being, natural resources and vital ecosystems.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Africa
Climate-friendly growth
01.09.2015 - 31.12.2022
CHF  1’967’355

In most countries, businesses and individuals do not pay for the negative environmental and social effects they cause. Hence, social and environmental risks do usually not inform the development of business plans as well as daily operations. IFC?s Environmental and Social Risk Management Program (ESRM) aims to address this problem. The ESRM is based on the assumption that financial institutions (FIs) can play a key role when it comes to pushing change in the market because FIs are in a position to influence business behaviour through their ability to allocate capital by lending money to companies.


The overall objective of the ESRM program is to increase the uptake of environmental and social standards by FIs in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. This is expected to lead to an improvement in environmental and social performance of local businesses in the long term.

Medium-term outcomes

Development of effective regulatory policies, procedures and standards in order to create an environment which is conducive to the uptake of ESRM systems.

Training to local consultants builds up relevant E&S expertise in the markets of the program countries. This expertise can be used/ purchased by FIs in order to implement their own ESRM systems.

Increased awareness on E&S risks, increased level of publicly available information on E&S issues as well as improved information dissemination among FIs and other stakeholders.


Expected results:  

Training and advisory services make the regulator (mainly the central bank) more effective in dealing with E&S issues. In particular, the regulator will be supported in revising existing and designing new E&S risk management policies and procedures.

Development of material and manuals which can be used for E&S risk management training.

Development of sector-specific guidelines that fit the relevant country context.

Provision of country-specific E&S information to the public, mainly through the development of country specific portals of the FIRST for Sustainability website (www.firstforsustainability.org).

Directorate/federal office responsible SECO
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
  • International Finance Corporation

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’967’355 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    0 Budget inclusive project partner CHF    2’693’528
Project phases Phase 1 01.09.2015 - 31.12.2022   (Current phase)