The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a financial institution that supports projects in Asia and the Pacific that delivers economic and development impact through public and private sector operations, advisory services, and knowledge support. It assists its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members of which 49 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside. ADB has 3,687 employees and is headquartered in Metro Manila, Philippines.
In terms of its approach to senior leadership accountability, ADB assigns responsibility for sustainability to the board of directors. The development finance institution publicly commits to gender equality and women’s empowerment and sets related targets at the operational level and for gender representation. ADB has a Safeguard Policy where it describes its approach to sustainability themes with clients, which includes environmental and social monitoring as well as escalation criteria in case of non-compliance. In addition, it discloses how the Safeguard Policy has been implemented in practice in 2021. In terms of its approach towards impact management, the development finance institution acknowledges that its financing activities have both positive and negative impacts in Asia and the Pacific.
ADB discloses the amount of financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation for the period 2019–2021, which is also in line with the Green Bonds Principles. Furthermore, it has various climate-related targets under its Strategy 2030. ADB discloses its approach toward the protection of biodiversity through its Safeguard Policy. Through the latter, it identifies biodiversity impacts in its financing activities while disclosing the requirements borrowers have to meet for related projects, including biodiversity strategy. Furthermore, biodiversity is part of its clients’ monitoring under the Safeguard Requirements. To conclude, it discloses the financing devoted to natural resources conservation projects, while setting targets on the protection of ocean health and marine economy projects financing.
ADB discloses the proportion of its total direct operations workforce for each employee category by age group and gender. In inclusive finance, the development finance institution publishes the amount of financing it directs toward small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Furthermore, ADB has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and has a whistle-blower mechanism for stakeholders to raise related concerns and complaints. In addition, it engages with stakeholders whose human rights have been or may be affected by its activities as demonstrated in its environmental impact assessments at the project level.
In terms of female representation in leadership positions, women are underrepresented on the board of directors where only three out of twenty-three board members are women. ADB could improve its performance on gender equality by disclosing the proportion of women in senior leadership roles at the group level as well as how it addresses any gender pay gaps. About its engagement approach, the development finance institution has an opportunity to publish case studies describing where it has engaged successfully and unsuccessfully with clients on sustainability themes and impact topics.
There is no evidence that ADB discloses a target to reach net-zero financed emissions by 2050. While it discloses climate as a topic of engagement with member countries, no evidence was found that the ADB has a rationale for engaging with specific companies or sectors on the topic of climate change, specifically on the alignment with the Paris Agreement. While ADB discloses its performance against its Strategy 2030 targets for climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, it does not demonstrates progress against them. While the development finance institution has an Energy Policy in place which sets certain requirements about fossil fuels financing, it has the opportunity to disclose its approach to fossil fuels that spans the entire fossil fuel value chain and all its financing activities.
There is no evidence that ADB has a publicly available policy statement committing it to respect human rights and the health and safety of workers. In addition, as it specifies it does not conduct human rights reviews or assessments in its investments, it has an opportunity to describe a comprehensive process for identifying its human rights risks and impacts across all its activities. While ADB publishes its monetary commitments by country (loans, grants, and others), it could improve its performance on financial inclusivity by disclosing the amount of finance directed towards, low-income developing countries. To conclude, ADB has an opportunity to establish a grievance mechanism accessible to all workers, external individuals, and communities to raise human rights complaints or concerns.
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Net income: USD 730 million; Total assets: USD 282.08 billion