Associate Environment and Social Specialist

The World Bank
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit    

The ESG Sustainability Advice and Solutions department (CEG) is IFC’s center of excellence in the area of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and offers a range of expertise to help IFC’s Investment and Advisory clients identify and solve complex environmental, social, and corporate governance risk-related challenges, and to find value-added opportunities in their business operations. CEG includes approximately 290 staff and long-term consultants, roughly fifty percent of whom are based in regional offices and many of whom are considered experts in their respective fields. More details can be found at       

IFC is unique among Development Finance Institutions to have this cadre of in-house environment, social and corporate governance experts. It is through this expertise that CEG delivers on the two goals of its strategy: (i) partnering with IFC’s investment departments to manage ESG risks associated with their investments and find solutions to client issues and (ii) leveraging our ESG expertise and operational experience in emerging markets to maintain IFC’s leadership in sustainability through ESG standards – the Environmental and Social (E&S) Performance Standards ( and the Corporate Governance Methodology ( – and to encourage the effective adoption of these standards by companies and investors across the emerging markets. IFC’s standards have been widely adopted in emerging markets by development banks, project finance banks (, and export credit agencies such that over the last decade US$4.5trillion have been invested adhering to them. 

Objectives/Purpose of Assignment

IFC’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards define IFC clients’ responsibilities for managing the E&S risks and impacts arising from their business activities. Where local communities are potentially impacted, they should have recourse to communicate their concerns to the client company through a project-level grievance mechanism, and, if necessary, to IFC directly. They also have access to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (, IFC’s independent accountability mechanism. In order to facilitate this process and strengthen IFC’s approach to response and resolution of E&S complaints, CEG is creating a dedicated Complaints Response Support (CRS) Team within CEG. 

The CRS team will track and support complaints submitted to CAO, as well as complaints received directly by IFC (e.g., through external relations, country offices, via project teams, sent to IFC senior management, etc.). The Team’s core responsibilities are to: (i) help roll-out and implement new operational procedures and protocols on Complaint Response; (ii) support investment teams in the CAO complaints handling process, including publicly disclosed Management Responses to CAO findings; (iii) centrally track non-CAO complaints and promote early action / problem solving by investment teams and management; (iv) develop guidance, tools and training to support effective complaints response; (v) compile and disseminate relevant data and lessons learned; (vi) serve as Secretariat to the corporate-wide Complaints Working Group; (vii) develop and rollout procedures to address reprisals against project stakeholders/complainants; and (vii) support the Board Review of CAO/IFC E&S Accountability and its recommendations. 

The Associate E&S Specialist position will play a key role in delivering the CRS work program, which is often high-profile and time-sensitive, requiring interaction with senior management, internal and external stakeholders, the Board secretariat, and CAO. 

Duties and Accountabilities

  • Advise project teams on CAO processes and responding to E&S complaints/concerns based on case precedent and awareness of broader CAO relationship. Engage across departments and propose solutions to address E&S issues at the project and systemic levels. Oversee coordination of IFC’s formal responses to CAO.
  • Develop new procedures, web content and public interface for receiving and responding effectively to E&S complaints from project-affected communities or other external stakeholders on IFC-financed activities outside the formal CAO process.
  • Manage communications between IFC and CAO and ensure consistency and accuracy in messaging and information disclosed. Proactively identify and resolve challenges.
  • Be responsible for following up with teams on implementation of IFC stated commitments in response to CAO and non-CAO complaints at both the institutional and project levels.
  • Develop and deliver analysis, reports, and presentations to IFC staff, management, and external audiences on trends, case studies, date and good practices related to the complaints portfolio.
  • Identify and document good practice and lessons learned, and help develop staff training and guidance materials related to complaints response e.g. e-learning; videos; tipsheets, etc.

Selection Criteria

  • Graduate/advance degree in environmental or social sciences, international development, sustainable development, or other relevant discipline, plus a minimum of five years of relevant professional experience. Experience with community engagement, civil society, grievance mechanisms, or mediation/negotiation skills a plus.
  • Exemplary project management skills and ability to manage multiple tasks under tight deadlines. Demonstrated ability to adapt to changing circumstances, organize and prioritize deliverables, and maintain attention to detail.
  • Pragmatic, solution-oriented, problem solver with a high degree of responsiveness and proactivity.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and concisely in spoken and written English is essential.  Superior editing capabilities. Additional language skills a plus.
  • Experience in research and analysis. Ability to synthesize and analyze diverse E&S related data and information, craft clear and concise points or messages, and communicate on complex E&S issues in a manner that can be understood by non-experts.
  • Excellent interpersonal, listening and communication skills including the ability to relate well with a wide range of internal & external parties (including senior staff, management, CAO, and CSOs) and seek solutions in potentially tense or conflictual situations.
  • Ability to work as a member of a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team, work effectively in and influence a team.
  • Experience working with portfolio information and database management. Strong technological skills and familiarity with data tracking and management programs.
  • High personal integrity and emotional intelligence, with demonstrated ability to handle sensitive matters in a discreet and respectful manner. Diplomatic approach and calm under pressure.
  • Knowledge of IFC Sustainability Framework and Performance Standards a plus.