© © James Morgan / WWF-US

Pakistan faces a multitude of threats from persistent socioeconomic issues, environmental degradation, climate change, and a growing population that exerts significant pressure on the country’s finite resources. In this regard, frameworks like Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) and Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) play a central role in effectively addressing social and environment-related risks, mitigating adverse impacts, and fostering resilience through a holistic approach. 

In order to adhere to such frameworks, environmental and social risk assessments are being gradually introduced and implemented in Pakistan. This work has also been supplemented with capacity building of financial institutions and environmental and social (E&S) professionals to support their implementation efforts.



About the ESRM Training of Trainers (ToT) Project

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) launched its Green Banking Guidelines (GBGs) in October 2017, integrating E&S risks into overall credit assessment. This has helped to ensure a level-playing field across the financial sector and promote sustainable economic development. 

At the same time, SBP, with support from IFC, developed the ESRM Implementation Manual to provide banks with tools and procedures to overcome challenges in implementation. 

To augment this effort, IFC and WWF-Pakistan have partnered to execute a Training-of-Trainers project for capacity building of E&S consultants to ensure that they can effectively implement the SBP’s Green Banking Guidelines. It combines the latest green finance policies, ESRM theories, and practical skills for trainers to provide in-depth understanding of the format and requirements of a bank’s ESMS as well as  global best practices.


Key Objectives of the ToT Project​

(i) Provision of training on ESRM techniques to consulting companies and banking staff who are responsible for E&S risk management/training).

(ii) Capacity building of supporting institutions on understanding and reviewing FIs’ portfolios and conducting environmental and social due diligence (ESDD) of existing and potential clients’ operations.


The following seven training modules are covered during the Training-of-Trainers sessions:

(1) Introduction of ESRM
(2) ESRM in Pakistan
(3) Overview of IFC Performance Standards and Other International Standards
(4) Demystifying ESRM: ESMS Development
(5) Implementing ESRM: ESDD Fundamentals
(6) Post Transaction Monitoring
(7) Soft Skills for Training Delivery


ESG is a framework utilized by organizations in managing their investments and operations, with due consideration to risks, impacts and opportunities including (but not limited to): 

(i) Environmental issues: potential or actual changes to the physical or natural environment (e.g. pollution, biodiversity impacts, carbon emissions, climate change, natural resource use);

(ii) Social issues: potential or actual changes on surrounding community and workers (e.g. health and safety, supply chain, diversity and inclusion); and

(iii) Governance: corporate governance structures and processes by which companies are directed and controlled (e.g., board structure and diversity, ethical conduct, risk management, disclosure and transparency), including the governance of key environmental and social policies and procedures.

Read more: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/topics_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/sustainability-at-ifc/environmental_social_and_governance


What is Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS)

ESMS states a financial institution’s commitment to environmental and social management through a set of policies, procedures, tools and internal capacities to identify and manage its exposure to the environmental and social risks of its clients/investee(s). Thus it includes procedures for identifying, assessing and managing environmental and social risk of financial transactions, defines the decision-making process, describes the roles, responsibilities and capacity needs of staff and states the documentation and recordkeeping requirements.


Read more: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/topics_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/sustainability-at-ifc/publications/publications_handbook_esms-general




Financial Institutions: Resources, Solutions and Tools (FIRST)

FIRST is a one-stop shop for professionals working with financial institutions to get guidance and tools to understand and manage environmental and social (E&S) risks as well as explore E&S business opportunities. This includes guidance on how to implement an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS), conduct environmental and social due diligence, creating a pipeline of new business and offerings tailored to the E&S needs of clients, and a wide variety of other topics. 

Read more: https://firstforsustainability.org/


Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN)

The Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN) is a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building on sustainable finance for financial sector regulators and industry associations across emerging markets. Facilitated by IFC as the Secretariat, and supported by the World Bank Group, SBFN helps mobilize information, resources, and practical support for members to design and implement national initiatives that advance sustainable finance at national, regional, and global levels.

Read more: https://www.sbfnetwork.org/


Project Highlights

First Training of Trainers session organized by WWF-Pakistan and IFC in partnership with the Government of Japan on 14 till 16 November, 2022 in Karachi. About 20 individuals from various organizations/institutions participated in the training session and certifications were distributed to ESRM trainers for successful completion of the two and half day in person training.   

Second Training of Trainers session organized by WWF-Pakistan and IFC in partnership with the Government of Japan on 21 till 23 June, 2023 in Lahore. Participants from various organizations/institutions were trained on ESRM and certificates were distributed to 22 ESRM trainers for successful completion of the two and half day in person training.   

© WWF-Pakistan
© WWF-Pakistan
© WWF-Pakistan
© WWF-Pakistan
Find out more about IFC’s E&S Performance Standards and ESMS tools

1. IFC Performance Standards

2. IFC ESMS 101 Presentation (PDF) 

3.  ESMS Self-Assessment and Improvement Guide (PDF) 

4.  ESMS Toolkit - General (PDF)

5.  Environmental & Social Management (ESMS) System Diagnostic Tool for Financial Institutions (FIs): Helps FIs, institutional investors and asset managers assess an ESMS against IFC’s Performance Standard 1 and good market practices.