World Bank

Greenhouse gas accounting at project and portfolio level 

This page is part of the E3G Public Bank Climate Tracker Matrix, our tool to help you assess the Paris alignment of public banks, MDBs and DFIs.

Paris AlignmentReasoning
Some progressPortfolio-level greenhouse gas (GHG) tracking is in the process of being implemented but no target for peaking or reducing  GHGs has been set. 
Year startedInclusion threshold (CO2e/ year) Sectors  
November 2019. Project level since 2017. No threshold set (World Bank Group).Sectors such as education and social protection exempted.No World Bank Group target set. 


In October 2017, President Jim Yong Kim announced that the World Bank Group (WBG) was going to start reporting its total portfolio GHG emissions. Bank staff have clarified that this will include all WBG institutions*. 

In the definitions that accompany the November 2019 World Bank Corporate Scorecard, it defines metrics for GHG reductions and net GHG emissions. It states that in 2019 the World Bank Group led to 96 million tCO2eq/year in GHG emissions reductions and the World Bank had net GHG emissions of -80 million tCO2eq/year in 2019. More research and analysis is needed to understand these metrics in more detail. 

The WBG as a whole has not yet adopted a portfolio-wide emissions reduction target. It appears that this target is to be based on reductions from climate mitigation projects only**. E3G understands that the World Bank Group did consider an emissions target but decided not to adopt such a target due to the variations or ‘lumpiness’ in CO2 emissions from year to year as projects are added and removed from the portfolio***. 

The WBG has specific methodologies for tracking GHG emissions in several sectors including energy, transport, agriculture, forestry, water and solid waste. According to the Bank’s new Environment and Social Framework, project-level gross GHG emissions should be estimated, subject to a reasonable significance threshold. Education and social protection projects will be exempted.  

The IFC Strategy & Business Outlook Update FY20-FY22 states that investment operations in key emission producing sectors are to apply Green House Gas (GHG) accounting, with annual disclosure of GHG emissions. IFC’s initial disclosure of GHG emissions remains on track for FY19. 

Recommendation: IBRD/IDA should adopt similar practices in GHG accounting to IFC which is more advanced in this area. 

Recommendation: The World Bank (IBRD/IDA) should consider signing up to the Equator Principles, which are based on IFC Performance Standards. IBRD/IDA already applies IFC Performance Standards to IBRD/IDA projects operated by the private sector. These standards should also be extended to sovereign lending and publicly operated projects. 

*Confirmation that this will cover all WBG institutions came from E3G communications with World Bank Group staff (December 2017). 

**IFC Development Goals (IDGs) Overview climate change mitigation 

***Communications between World Bank staff and members of the Big Shift Coalition 


Last Update: November 2020

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