Corporate Sustainability Program (CSP)

Carbon Neutral Initiative

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Carbon Neutral Initiative

The IDB’s carbon-neutral initiative highlights the Bank’s commitment to addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through eco-efficiency measures where possible and offsetting its unavoidable emissions. The Bank’s commitment to going carbon-neutral supports the objectives of its Environment and Safeguards Compliance Policy and Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI). These encourage the reduction and control of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in activities that produce large volumes of emissions.

The IDB’s Carbon Neutral Initiative is based on four lines of action:

Calculating the IDB Carbon Footprint:


An annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the IDB headquarters and country offices, incorporating measurement of direct and indirect emissions associated with the operation of IDB offices such as heating, electricity, chiller emissions, and regular business and annual meeting travel.



IDB's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In order to calculate its carbon footprint, the IDB conducts a greenhouse gas Inventory of its corporate activities on an annual basis. A GHG Inventory is a detailed calculation of direct and indirect GHG emissions, in this case, from the IDB headquarters buildings and business and annual meeting travel, as well as its 26 country offices in Latin America and the Caribbean and its two nonregional offices in France and Japan. The Bank’s GHG Inventory yields as its result the Bank’s carbon footprint in total tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2eq).

The IDB’s GHG Inventory is prepared using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders Greenhouse Gas Inventory Protocol Design Principles and the GHG Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and Methodology, developed in conjunction with the World Resources Institute.

Documents (in PDFs format) detailing the inventory data and methodology are available for download:

Reducing the IDB Carbon Footprint:


Through the implementation of eco-efficiency measures and greening programs as well as the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) issued to green energy producers (such as wind farms) that generate power through renewable energy resources.


Offsetting the IDB Carbon Footprint:


With the purchase of verified emission reductions (VERs) sourced from renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. In voluntary carbon markets, activities that reduce GHGs produce VERs (carbon credits) that can be sold to companies or individuals offsetting their carbon footprints


Carbon Offsetting

For each ton of CO2 it emits, the Bank “buys” an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions somewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. The funds the Bank uses for these purchases go directly to a local community or business in the region to help finance more environmentally friendly (and lower-emission) development options. These projects have direct benefits to the local community, along with the global benefit of reducing CO2 emissions.

Thus, the payment made by the IDB for each ton of CO2 of its carbon footprint effectively reduces the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere by one ton. This is known as “carbon offsetting”; the Bank’s payments (and the reduction in CO2 that they buy) are said to “offset” the Bank’s CO2 emissions, and the purchases are referred to as “carbon offsets” or “carbon credits.” Carbon offsetting is a way of “buying” reductions in emissions elsewhere to compensate for emissions of one’s own that can be avoided only with great difficulty or not at all.

Leading by Example in the Region:


By communicating the IDB’s efforts to calculate and manage its carbon footprint and promoting the initiative in the region.



                                                                                                                            Concurrent with these activities the Bank has begun to look at how to develop a methodology to annually quantify direct GHG emissions in Bank lending operations that produce significant quantities of greenhouse gases.

The IDB recognizes that reducing greenhouse gas emissions can provide a variety of environmental, social and economic benefits to Latin America and the Caribbean and has pledged its commitment to work with its member countries to seek out opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Environmental Partnerships

As part of its continued commitment to upholding sustainability standards in-house, the IDB is looking at ways to reduce its GHG emissions, initially in its Washington, D.C. headquarters, to be followed soon after in its 26 Country Offices.

The IDB has also joined forces with the EPA as a Green Power Partner and ENERGY STAR partner, making complementary commitments to continue to purchase energy from a renewable source and to measure, benchmark and improve energy performance.

In 2007, the IDB received its ENERGY STAR Rating for its headquarters Building Washington, D.C., receiving 84 out of a possible 100, placing the IDB among the leaders in comparable organizations in the downtown Washington area. These two partnerships complement the IDB's commitment to the Climate Leaders program.

Please download the document (PDF) of the corresponding partnership to review each partner's commitments and IDB related progress to date:

Corporate Sustainability Program (CSP)

We all contribute to climate change every day. The carbon dioxide produced as a result of driving a car, traveling by air, and leaving the lights on adds up quickly.

Our carbon footprint is a measure of how much greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions our lifestyle creates. To reduce our impact on climate change, the first thing we need to know is what amount of emissions we are responsible for.

The IDB recognizes greenhouse gas emissions from its activities as a key part of its environmental footprint and has made a commitment to becoming carbon neutral. In 2006, the IDB piloted the carbon neutral concept at its annual meeting, making it the first successful effort by a multilateral development bank to measure and manage its carbon footprint.

Since 2007 the IDB has been neutralizing unavoidable emissions from its headquarters through a series of investments in offset projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.