Corporate Responsibility

The World Bank manages its internal operations to safeguard the wellbeing of staff as well as the ecosystems, communities, and economies in which it works. Progress is tracked in the World Bank Annual Report, the index of sustainability indicators based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the biennial Sustainability Review.

Our commitment

The World Bank is committed to operating in a sustainable way in our day-to-day operations.

Since formalizing our commitment in 2002, we have made noteworthy progress toward curbing carbon emissions from World Bank facilities, business travel, and major meetings; increasing resource efficiency in our facilities; and attracting, retaining, and leveraging the most talented and diverse professionals.

" I want us to lead by example as we manage our triple bottom line—environmental, social, and economic impacts. We will continue to reinforce our efforts to prevent pollution, promote more efficient use of natural resources, and manage relationships with our supply chains in a more holistic way. The well-being of the people and the communities where we operate is just as important as the well-being of our staff. "

Statement by President Jim Yong Kim, October 2, 2014

Sustainability reporting

Read about progress made in fiscal 2016 in the World Bank Annual Report 2016 and the 2016 GRI Index.  The Sustainability Review—a biennial report—details fiscal 2015 efforts made to manage our corporate impact on climate and the places where we work and live, while promoting the wellbeing of the people employed and ensuring the sustainability of our financial resources.

A detailed materiality methodology is used to determine what aspects to include. We hope that you read the Sustainability Review online, but if you do choose to print, please do so double-sided and in black ink.

World Bank Corporate Responsibility Program

The World Bank Corporate Responsibility Program catalyzes and mainstreams sustainability throughout the institution and is accountable to a cross-cutting committee of senior managers. The Corporate Responsibility Program works in partnership with units across the Bank Group to promote resource efficiency, and to raise awareness among World Bank staff about their everyday impact on such issues as commuting and recycling. The program plays a significant role in increasing transparency about the Bank’s environmental and social commitments, practices, and performance to outside stakeholders, such as civil society organizations and the impact-investor community.




With a comprehensive program to measure, reduce, offset, and report its greenhouse gas emissions, the Bank strives to be a leader in climate action. Emissions from Bank facilities, employee air travel, vehicle fleet, and major meetings declined in fiscal 2015 by 5,000 metric tons—equivalent to taking 1,000 passenger vehicles off the road. GHG emissions data lag by one fiscal year.

We achieved this decline by reducing reliance on diesel generators on a global scale and with energy-efficiency upgrades to the office in Chennai, India. We also decreased electricity use in four buildings at headquarters, in Washington, DC.

Unavoidable emissions are offset through the purchase of Voluntary Emission Reduction and Certified Emission Reduction credits. Credits from a small-scale hydropower project in Madagascar, which was the first run-of-the-river hydropower project and the first carbon development project in the country; a Gold Standard-certified cook stove project in Sub-Saharan Africa; and a biogas digester project in Vietnam offset emissions from fiscal 2015.

Increasing the efficiency of how we run our business—by managing resources, diverting waste from landfills, and fostering sustainable staff behavior—promotes sustainability while decreasing the costs of everyday operations.

Maintaining sustainable offices

The Bank has offices in 129 countries, and it constructs, manages, and upgrades its facilities with sustainability as a guiding principle. To date, five of its overseas offices are certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. LEED recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices around the world. Six World Bank offices currently in design or under construction are being prepared for certification. Also, upgrades to 10 existing buildings will reduce energy costs and increase efficiency.

In Washington, DC, where 60 percent of Bank staff are located, three buildings are LEED certified. Energy conservation efforts under way are estimated to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent upon completion. Work will include a retro-commissioning to identify and adjust less-than-optimal performance in facility equipment, lighting, and control systems; installation of photovoltaic solar panels; and replacement of a cooling tower. The greatest savings are expected from a new lighting standard to replace existing fixtures with LED fixtures.

Implementing smart business practices

We continually strive for efficiency in how we run our business by managing what we procure, the amount of resources we use, and the amount of waste diverted from landfills. Simultaneously, we promote sustainable staff behavior through events and training to encourage sustainable outcomes.

  1. Procurement: We implement strategies for achieving cost savings and best value in the procurement of goods and services necessary for our operations. Recently implemented procurement review committees have increased senior management awareness of the impacts of purchases, enabling the Bank to better address fiscal, social, and environmental impacts in procurement processes.
  2. Paper use: Paper consumption in the Washington, DC, offices has decreased by 37 percent since 2007.  A recent uptick has been noted due to the increased use of the Bank’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain-of-Custody-certified print shop. To ensure that the impact from paper used is minimal, the Bank’s new paper procurement process gives more weight to sustainability criteria than to cost. As a result, the Bank switched from 10 percent to 30 percent postconsumer waste paper for premium coated sheets, and maintains 100 percent recycled paper for copiers. The effort has helped to migrate all paper products to FSC-certified paper.
  3. Working locally, connecting globally: Virtual collaboration tools help Bank staff to stay connected to each other and to clients. In fiscal 2016, staff conducted 339,000 virtual meetings, with 78,700 held in video conference–telepresence rooms, nearly 220,000 online via WebEx, and 41,000 personal conference line sessions. This practice is also proving essential for staff safety and business continuity while minimizing reliance on business travel.
  4. Commuting to work: Choosing sustainable modes of transportation to commute to work is becoming easier for staff working in the Washington, DC, area. In fiscal 2016, 72 percent of staff working in Washington chose no- to low-carbon footprint options such as cycling and carpooling, compared to 52 percent in fiscal 2011. To encourage and accommodate staff driving electric vehicles, dual electric charging stations were doubled in number to 12 in parking garages.
  5. Sustainable food: The Washington, DC, offices also house four cafeterias that cater to the diversity of staff while safeguarding good health and environmental conscientiousness. In fiscal 2016, one cafeteria attained two stars from the Green Restaurant Association standard. Work is under way to apply this standard to all cafeterias. In addition, bottled-water consumption declined by 5 percent in the past fiscal year.

Engaging with our host communities

The Bank takes our responsibility as a neighbor in our host communities seriously. Fiscal 2016 was another record-setting year, as World Bank Group staff donated $2.9 million to nonprofits and programs that service those in need. This amount was matched by the institution, and resulted in $5.8 million donated into the Washington, DC, region and the world. Campaigns in 34 Country Offices set their own records, raising $188,000—including the corporate match—for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Staff also responded to flooding in Myanmar and the earthquake in Ecuador with donations totaling $40,000. Our local grants programs continued to support capital campaigns and performance measurement. In total, community giving was $6.5 million in fiscal 2016 (see   


Representing 174 nationalities, our 11,000-plus staff members are the World Bank’s greatest resource. We share our passion to work in development across the globe and are united by a common purpose: to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 and to promote shared prosperity, and to do so in a sustainable manner.

Our human resources vision is to i) build a workforce with the right skills, at the right time, who can offer the best development solutions to our clients; and ii) make the WBG the best place to work in development. A few highlights from fiscal 2016 are listed below:

1. Careers: The Career Framework for World Bank operations was established to outline career paths for key roles. This new emphasis will help staff systematically think about and understand career opportunities across the institution.  

2. Diversity: We completed the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certification process for the Washington, DC, location, achieving the initial level of “EDGE Assess.” The assessment covered five areas: company culture; leadership development, training, and mentoring; recruitment and promotion; flexible working; and equal pay for equivalent work. The certification is effective for two years, during which time the Bank Group will complete work on an action plan to address the findings and progress to the second level, “EDGE Move,” as well as conduct the assessment in non-US locations.

Cultivating staff knowledge

Learning is a key enabler of the Bank’s ability to deliver solutions to clients, share cutting-edge knowledge, and retain top talent. In fiscal 2016, 86 percent of the salaried workforce attended at least one learning event, not including the corporate mandatory programs, averaging 3.3 days per staff member. Eighty-three percent of staff who took these trainings were based in Country Offices and 88 percent at headquarters, in Washington, DC. In January 2016, President Kim launched the Open Learning Campus (OLC) as a single destination to accelerate development solutions through learning for WBG staff, clients, and global partners (see

Resolving workplace conflicts

Promoting a positive and respectful workplace helps the Bank to retain its superior staff. Conflict, a natural occurrence in the workplace, is addressed through the Bank’s Internal Justice System (IJS), which offers informal, formal, and investigative services. During fiscal 2016, 1,404 cases were opened by the informal services (Respectful Workplace Advisors, Ombuds, Mediation), 126 cases were opened by the formal services (Peer Review Services, Administrative Tribunal), and 249 cases were opened by the investigative services (Ethics and Business Conduct, Integrity). This year, for the first time in five years, the IJS caseload dropped. The IJS continued its outreach efforts, with numerous visits to Country Offices.

Safeguarding staff voice

Staff rights and interests are also represented by the WBG Staff Association (SA). More than 10,500 staff globally are members of the SA, with an additional 90 Country Office Staff Associations established around the globe. In fiscal 2016, SA representatives, elected by staff, advocated for strengthening benefits and support systems to maintain the Bank Group as an employer of choice; taking action on the outcomes of the staff engagement survey; and implementing fair treatment of staff identified for redeployment or exit as a result of the strategic staffing exercise.


At the World Bank, we combine premier development knowledge and expertise with significant financial resources to advance the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. We enhance the Bank’s capacity and resources by increasing revenues, reducing costs, and reinvesting in the institution. These actions enhance our financial strength to serve growing demand from clients and meet an ambitious development agenda. Explore further:


Contact Us

Corporate Responsibility