Sustainability Reports

Sustainability Reports

World Bank Group publications and other reports

World Bank Group Reports and Tools

Working with Smallholders: A Handbook for Firms Building Sustainable Supply Chains

Senior Agribusiness Specialist, Advisory Services, IFC

Working with Smallholders: A Handbook for Firms Building Sustainable Supply Chains - See more at: future of agriculture depends in large part on innovative solutions emerging from private firms. It also depends on new and innovative partnerships between different stakeholders in the food system. IFC, in addition to increasing its programs and investments in agriculture, is scaling up programs that improve the livelihoods of small farmers by linking them to modern supply chains providing opportunities to increase their productivity and improve their farming practices.

IFC recently published a handbook for firms who wish to expand their supply chains by working with small farmers. The handbook aims to enable more productive interactions between private firms and small farmers. It is designed as an overview of key topics for sustainability and supply chain managers at agribusinesses, plantation companies, and extractives. It covers a broad range of topics including farmer aggregation, training and communication strategies, standards and certification, access to inputs, farm management, the role of women in supply chains, and measuring results.

The Handbook can be accessed through a new IFC website,, which aims to bring together firms and service providers interested in small farmer supply chains. It also presents related activities and events, including IFC’s past and upcoming roundtables on small farmer engagement.

 Download the Handbook

Good Practice Handbook: Assessing and Managing Environmental and Social Risks in an Agro-Commodity Supply Chain

Sector Lead, Agribusiness & Forestry, IFC

Good Practice Handbook: Assessing and Managing Environmental and Social Risks in an Agro-Commodity Supply ChainCompanies increasingly understand that managing social and environmental risks is fundamental to success and market access. IFC recently published a Handbook to offer its agribusiness clients practical advice for managing these risks. This new tool unlocks the “how to” on supply chain mapping and risk categorization of suppliers, and provides crucial support to regional traders and processors in understanding IFC’s supply chain requirements as reflected in IFC’s Performance Standards.

IFC will be offering interactive webinars and workshops to drill down on specific areas of interest.

For agricultural companies, managing the potential impact of their activities is an immense challenge, given this industry’s use of land and water and its economic significance to poor and vulnerable people. Effectively managing these risks means that agribusinesses must identify not only the risks of their direct activities, but also the risks inherent in supply chains for the agro-commodities they need.

Another IFC tool, the Global Map of Environmental and Social Risks in Agro-Commodity Production (GMAP), has supported IFC business development with agro-commodity traders and trade finance.  It presents a database of 150 country-commodity combinations (e.g., Brazil/soy, Ghana/cocoa, Vietnam/coffee), using a methodology aligned to IFC’s Performance Standards. It aims to facilitate financing decisions by assigning a color-coded risk score to each country-commodity combination. It can be accessed at

Download the Good Practice Handbook

Investing in Agribusiness: A Retrospective View of a Development Bank’s Investments in Agribusiness in Africa and Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Agribusiness Adviser, World Bank

Investing in Agribusiness: A Retrospective View of a Development Bank's Investments in Agribusiness in Africa and Southeast Asia and the Pacific

This study analyzes the experience of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) as an investor in commercial smallholder and estate agriculture and agro-processing in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia and the Pacific between 1948 and 2000. Analysis of the data was undertaken to determine whether success and failure can be correlated to any critical factors.  This has brought into the public domain a number of hitherto hidden insights about the ground realties of these investments.

This review of CDC agribusiness investments corroborates the view that agribusiness investments are risky, particularly when the investment is in a start-up. While only one fifth of projects were rated complete failures, one third of equity investments generated at least moderately attractive internal rates of return, and overall about 55% resulted in financially viable projects. The majority of projects in both Asia and Africa ended up being sustainable businesses that delivered broadly the number of jobs and level of turnover that had initially been anticipated.

The analysis of CDC’s agribusiness portfolio demonstrates both historical potential and pitfalls and illustrates the need to continuously adapt and innovate to achieve both political and commercial sustainability. Find the report here.

Another new joint study by the World Bank and UNCTAD entitled “The Practice of Responsible Investment Principles in Larger Scale Agricultural Investments:  Implications for Corporate Performance and Impact on Local Communities” uses a sample of 39 mature agribusiness investments in Asia and Africa, plus interviews with over 500 people from the communities surrounding these businesses.  It paints a nuanced picture of their perception of upsides and downsides of agribusiness. It also responds to the demand by investors and Governments for best practices and the pitfalls to avoid. The report’s evidence-based recommendations ultimately will help provide fairer and better outcomes for all.

Download the Report

Other Sustainability Reports

A harvest of practical insights : lessons learned in agriculture, agribusiness, sustainable rural development and climate change

IFC Sustainability Resources Brochure 2013

Other Reports

The UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability 2013
This study presents findings from the world’s largest CEO study on sustainability to date. More than 1,000 top executives from 27 industries across 103 countries assess the past, present and future of sustainable business; discuss a new global architecture to unlock the full potential of business in contributing to global priorities; and reveal how leading companies are adopting innovative strategies to combine impact and value creation.
Read the report

The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa
By Calestous Juma

This report integrates research and policy ideas from an international panel of some of the most influential thinkers on agricultural development. It presents enactable policy ideas for advancing agriculture throughout Africa, at the national and regional levels. It includes a wealth of case study material from Green Revolution and educational initiatives in India, China, and throughout Latin America. It is authored by C. Juma, a professor of the Practice of International Development and faculty chair of Innovation for Economic Development Program at Harvard Kennedy School.
Read the report
Link to a CNN interview

Post-green revolution food systems and the triple burden of malnutrition
By Gómez, Miguel I.; Barrett, Christopher B.; Raney, Terri; Pinstrup-Andersen, Per; Meerman, Janice

Changes in food systems and in the understanding of the global malnutrition challenge necessitate fresh thinking about food systems-based strategies to reduce malnutrition. This paper introduces a special section that offers such new perspectives. It discusses trends with respect to indicators of the triple burden of malnutrition to understand the extent of global malnutrition challenges and then relate those to food systems transformation in developing countries.
Read the paper

Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance
Published by Dalberg Global Development Advisors

This report aims to inform investors, multinational commodity buyers, and donors on how to deploy capital in a way that will strengthen small farms. A directional estimate suggests global demand for small farmer agricultural finance could be as large as $450 billion. This report leverages the experience and insights of an advisory committee that included Root Capital, Technoserve, and ANDE, plus interviews with over 65 commodity buyers, investors and value chain experts.
Read the report

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