No development bank assessed is doing anywhere near enough to exclude nature destructive projects.

Whilst governments are beginning to address ‘biological annihilation’, the DFIs they fund are actively perpetuating the problem, showing clear policy incoherence. 

Only three of 12 development banks assessed achieved more than 3 out of 10 points for the policies they have in place that exclude projects harmful to nature. 

The impacts of fisheries, agriculture, mining, infrastructure, and plastics were effectively ignored by DFIs, with almost 0 points scored across the board in these sectors. The average score across the board was incredibly low, at 1.98. 

Despite having scored highest in the assessment, all three of the DFIs deemed to be performing the best are involved in the case studies in this report.

Summary of exclusion policies of twelve major development banks
banksTotal scoreNatural habitats (3PTS)Fisheries & fish farming (1PTS)Agriculture (1PTS)Forestry & bioenerg (1PTS)Mining (1PTS)Fossil fuels (1PTS)Infrastructure (1PTS)Plastics (1PTS)
Agence Française de
Développement (AFD)
European Investment Bank (EIB)3.4LowNoneMedium-LowMedium-HighNoneHighLowMedium-Low
World Bank Group
Asian Development Bank
Deutsche Investitions – und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG/KfW)2.4Medium-LowNoneNoneLowNoneMedium-HighLowNone
Development Bank (IDB)
New Italian Development Finance Institution (DFI)1.6LowNoneLowNoneNoneMedium-HighNoneNone
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)1.4LowNoneNoneMediumNoneNoneLowNone
Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG)1.2NoneNoneNoneNoneMediumMediumNoneNone
European Bank for
Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD)
CDC Group1.0NoneLowNoneNoneNoneMedium-HighNoneNone
African Development Bank (AfDB)0.2NoneNoneNoneNoneNoneLowNoneNone


Case studies

Case study one
Offsetting the lives of Chimpanzees

Guinea, Africa

Type of project:
Bauxite mine, railway and port

Development banks providing funding:
African Development Bank and the International
Finance Corporation

Destruction caused:
Flooding and deforestation of sacred rainforest,
killing of endangered West African Chimpanzees,
displacement of local people

In Western Africa, we document how development banks have funded the destruction of vital habitat for a population of endangered West African Chimpanzee and displaced people from their homes for a bauxite mine to be built, whilst also displacing people from their homes. To rectify this, one development bank mandated the mining companies to support a new national park to breed new chimpanzees, replacing those killed by mining operations. Meanwhile, plans for a hydroelectricity dam in the new national park were well underway, threatening to undo any good intentions to offset damages caused by the original site.

Case study two
Drowning in plastics


Type of project:
Plastics and petrochemicals

Multilateral development banks providing funding:
International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank (IDA), African Development Bank (AfDB), Private Infrastructure Investment Group (PIDG), European Investment Bank (EIB)

Bilateral development banks providing funding:
CDC Group in the UK, DEG in Germany, Proparco in France, FMO in the Netherlands, and BIO from Belgium

Destruction caused:
Plastic pollution destroying habitats and disrupting the food chain.

Plastics have been choking our oceans and rivers for decades, and in recent years citizens and governments have been waking up to the urgent need to curb our reliance on the toxic material. This case study highlights how one of the biggest and most prosperous plastics and petrochemical conglomerates, Indorama Corporation, has been consistently funded by some of the biggest development banks in the world. This directly contradicts the commitments and momentum being felt globally to end single-use plastic production and sales.

Case study three
Peat — the forgotten fossil fuel



Multilateral DFIs funding (directly):
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC),
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)
and Trade and Development Bank (TDB).
Bilateral DFIs funding (directly): Finnfund

Destruction caused:
Potential future mining for peat could impact wetlands that both biodiversity and people rely upon.


Countries that have historically been reliant on peat have begun to step away from this resource due to its catastrophic climate impacts. Despite this, and the fact people and nature in Rwanda depend upon the water supply that peatlands provide, development banks continue to fund new peat plants in the Central African country.

Case study four
Toxic for people, toxic for nature

Sub-Saharan Africa

Agriculture chemicals

Multilateral DFIs providing funding:
International Finance Corporation, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank

Development banks providing funding:
CDC (UK), DEG (Germany), Proparco (France), FMO (Netherlands)

Bilateral DFIs providing funding:
CDC Group in the UK, DEG in Germany, Proparco in France, FMO in the Netherland

Destruction caused:
Buildup of toxins in soils harmful to
pollinators and highly poisonous to people

Whilst swathes of the Western world move away from hazardous pesticides that are known to have negative impacts on the land and human health, the development banks they fund continue to funnel money as recently as 2020 into their production in Africa. This reinforces a system whereby small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa are being pushed to pesticide reliance even though they struggle to afford them, and these chemicals are likely to make their farms and local environment worse off for nature.

Pesticides are incredibly hazardous to people, biodiversity and are a known drain on the economies of developing countries.