Doing Better Business Through Effective Public Consultation and Disclosure: A Good Practice Manual
In every investment, IFC seeks to maximize its development impact. This includes working to avoid or mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts and, beyond this, to enhance the benefits to communities directly affected by projects. IFC has strengthened its capability and procedures to deal with these issues. IFC has, furthermore, adopted revised environmental and social policies modeled closely on those of the World Bank, but specifically designed to reflect IFC’s private sector mandate and project cycle.
A critical component of this new policy and procedural framework deals with the need for, and the benefits of, consultation with people affected by IFC projects. In-depth reviews of our track record and existing practices, have shown that IFC and the private sector sponsors of its investment projects, would benefit from better guidance on how to identify project affected people and carry out meaningful, culturally appropriate consultation with them.
This Good Practice Manual seeks to address this need. While it was initially designed to be an integral part of IFC’s in-house procedural framework, the subject is of relevance to private sector investors at large.
Good practice also includes having management structures and skills to ensure long-term dialogue with affected communities. The advantages for project sponsors are clear. Consultation and disclosure with affected people and groups brings local knowledge to a project’s design, construction, and operation, thereby increasing efficiency and avoiding future costs. Candid, two-way communication can help to identify and solve problems and conflicts while they can still be resolved in an atmosphere of trust between the sponsor and other interested parties, such as community groups, NGOs, and government agencies. The long-term sustainability of investments is critically dependent on good relations with all stakeholders.