(Senior) Environmental and Social Development Specialist

The World Bank
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Do you want to build a career that is full of meaning and impact? The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. Visit www.ifc.org

IFC is a recognized leader in the area of Environmental and Social Sustainability. Our Performance Standards are widely regarded as a leading global benchmark for the private sector in emerging markets. 

This is an exciting opportunity to join a high-performing senior team tasked with creating a new and impactful environment and social oversight department. The Environmental & Social (E&S) Policy and Risk Department (CES) was created in July 2019 and reports directly to the CEO.  Seeded with 12 seasoned staff, the department is expected to grow to around 30 by the end of the financial year (June 2020). CES has a mandate to enhance IFC E&S risk management and is seeking several experienced E&S Specialists to provide risk management related to IFC’s infrastructure, manufacturing, agribusiness, extractives, and services business.

CES is responsible for:

  • Risk: providing E&S policy and risk oversight of the high-risk projects in IFC’s investment and advisory pipeline, and high-risk and non-performing projects in IFC’s investment portfolio;
  • Grievance Response: supporting IFC operational teams and management in responding proactively to E&S complaints from external stakeholders associated with IFC-financed activities, including responding to the Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO), IFC’s independent accountability mechanism.
  • Policy: maintaining IFC’s E&S policies, procedures and systems; and
  • Knowledge and Learning: developing knowledge products and training programs, including accreditation for IFC staff.

While members of the CES team have a primary focus associated with one of these four tasks, it is a small team and all team members support and contribute across all of these cross-cutting responsibilities.

CES works in close collaboration with IFC’s investment departments and the ESG Sustainability Advice and Solutions Department (CEG) housed in IFC Operations. CES provides an independent review in the management of E&S risk and the implementation of IFC’s E&S policies and procedures.

CES is looking for several dynamic, motivated, and detail-oriented professionals with at least 15 years of relevant experience to support its risk function. The selected candidates will work as part of a seasoned team, guided by Principal/Chief Regional Risk Officers and supported by Associates and Analysts, and will report to the Manager, E&S Risk Management Unit. 

Duties and Accountabilities

Key accountabilities include:

New business:  Reviewing project concept documents, including E&S category, scope of proposed E&S diligence, E&S requirements, contextual risk, etc. and reviewing each processing stage of high E&S risk transactions. This may include:

  • understanding the project scope, the financial investment structure, the extent of the client’s leverage and access to information; 
  • identifying E&S risks and any gaps in proposed E&S risk management approaches;
  • advising on structuring, appropriate mitigation measures and contractual alignment of interest to address risks and impacts;
  • opining on risk and mitigants as proposed by teams in project disclosure documents, board papers, E&S provisions in legal agreements, etc.;
  •  engage with project teams as necessary, and
  • contribute to development of high-quality work products that clearly and logically frame and concisely communicate risks and mitigants.

Portfolio: Portfolio monitoring, particularly reviewing clients’ reporting, investment team E&S monitoring reports (and supporting documentation), portfolio reviews provided by CEG and performing independent analysis of IFC’s portfolio to:

  • maintain a WatchList of high risk, non-performing or complaint generating projects;
  • coordinate with CEG staff to build a clear picture of the issues associated with each WatchList client and review recovery action plans proposed by the investment team for agreement with the client;
  • perform assurance/audit reviews of IFC diligence and monitoring work quality on selected projects;
  • conduct sector/region specific portfolio analysis to identify and assess risks and trends and quality assurance;
  • identify issues and operational weaknesses that are systemic, thematic, or of policy nature and propose procedural or policy clarifications as needed; and
  • contribute to regional supervision program reviews.

Grievance Response: Support CES’ grievance response function in monitoring projects with CAO or other E&S complaints and work with project teams, particularly the CEG social specialist, to proactively engage clients in finding solutions and addressing non-compliances. Serve as an independent Peer Reviewer on CAO compliance investigations and help the team in developing the corporate Management Response.

Policy and Knowledge Management: Contribute to the update of policy documents and developing guidance and procedures based on lessons learned in the new business, portfolio and grievance response roles. Lead and contribute to the development of training, accreditation and guidance of specific topics.

Grievance: Monitor projects with CAO or other E&S complaints and work with project teams to proactively engage clients in finding solutions and addressing non-compliances.  Serve as an independent peer reviewer on CAO compliance investigations and help teams in developing the corporate Management Response.

Selection Criteria

  • Minimum of fifteen years of relevant professional experience, including private sector experience in sustainability and E&S risk management. 
    • Candidates with a focus in the environmental aspects should have a graduate/advanced degree in environment and/or natural resource management, environmental policy or engineering, or similar relevant disciplines as well as proven experience in one or more areas of environmental risk management, such as: environment, health and safety (EHS); risk assessment; occupational, health and safety (OHS); due diligence, environmental site assessment, and compliance audits;  
    • Candidates with a focus on social aspects should have a graduate/advanced degree in social sciences, anthropology, sociology or other related relevant discipline as well as proven experience related to one or more areas of social risk management, such as: stakeholder engagement, labor and working conditions, gender , involuntary resettlement, Indigenous Peoples  including Free, Prior & Informed Consultation (FPIC), and cultural heritage;
  • Familiarity and proven experience in managing E&S issues related to complex transactions involving infrastructure, extractives, manufacturing, agribusiness, and/or services sectors;
  • Knowledge of IFC’s Sustainability Framework and Performance Standards;
  • Strong analytical skills, ability to think strategically, analyze and synthesize diverse information sources, and draw conclusions from sometimes limited data;
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously under tight deadlines;
  • Demonstrated ability to adapt to changing circumstances, organize and prioritize deliverables, and maintain attention to detail;
  • Ability to communicate effectively and concisely in spoken and written English is essential.  Additional language skills are desirable;
  • Excellent interpersonal, listening and communication skills including the ability to relate well with a wide range of internal and external parties and develop solutions in potentially tense or conflicting situations;
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural team, influence and negotiate point of view within teams; and
  • 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.