School of Sustainability teaches impact of climate change to International Finance Corporation members

TEMPE, Ariz. — October 22, 2013 — Tasked with determining how best to invest global money in developing countries, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) consulted Arizona State University (ASU) for expert sustainability advice, October 15-16 at ASU.

"Our scientists and faculty bring transdisciplinary expertise, applied research and solutions to global challenges, turning knowledge into action," said ASU President Michael Crow. "We are honored to contribute that level of experience and applied science to support the exceptional work of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and to help the IFC."

More than 40 IFC Climate Business Group members from around the world gathered in Tempe for the two-day "short course" about implications of climate change, presented by various experts from ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability.

"Our sustainability scientists and faculty experts shared diverse perspectives on the impact of climate change in such areas as food and water security, energy systems, urbanization, and infrastructure; all areas IFC considers when assessing investment need and potential in developing countries," said Christopher Boone, dean of ASU's School of Sustainability. "IFC also shared case studies of their extraordinary work. This is the beginning of a strategic partnership between IFC and ASU with enormous potential for positive global impact."

A member of the World Bank, IFC was established in 1956 and is owned by 184 countries, which collectively govern IFC policy. A core mission of IFC is to invest, through the private sector, in projects that support developing countries to relieve poverty and improve quality of life. Approximately 20 percent of IFC’s current portfolio is earmarked for investments in climate change-related projects. The U.S. currently holds 17 percent ownership stake in IFC.

"Climate change is a strategic priority for IFC because it threatens development gains," remarked Alan Miller, principal climate change specialist for IFC’s Climate Business Group. The group is engaged in three key areas of climate business: 1) clean energy and energy access; 2) resource efficiency; and 3) climate adaptation.

"The lower a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the more people need renewable energy resources to grow," said Gary Dirks, a senior sustainability scientist and director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. "But whether considering giving loans to a small fishing community or a large city, understanding the system and the unintended consequences are critical to risk analysis."

The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The Institute advances research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first comprehensive program of its kind in the U.S., offers transdisciplinary degree programs to create practical solutions for environmental, economic, and social challenges. Visit

Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability is the first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States. With a focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Established in spring 2007, the School is part of the Global Institute of Sustainability, which is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The Institute advances research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world. The School of Sustainability offers undergraduate and graduate programs and minors, as well as doctoral and professional leadership programs. Visit

The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit, and


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