Sustainability topics

In the overview below we explain the material topics. Also refer to table GRI management approach and topic-specific disclosures.

Topic / Subtopic



Biodiversity encompasses the diverse array of life across terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems, including variations within and between species, as well as within ecosystems themselves. As part of our commitment, we will seek to increase the volume of investments which contribute to biodiversity by 2030. This extends to investments in customers involved in sustainable forest preservation, crucial for protecting ecosystems and combating deforestation. By incorporating biodiversity considerations into our due diligence processes, we aim to contribute to biodiversity conservation.

Climate change

We finance projects and initiatives that in our assessment contribute towards our commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement and achieving a ‘net-zero’ portfolio by 2050. This includes aligning new investments with the mitigation and resilience goals of the Paris Agreement (country-level) as well as aligning both new transactions and our portfolio with a 1.5°C pathway. Additionally, we aim to build a portfolio that supports climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and biodiversity-positive contributions, and create markets for carbon removals, including forestry. Engaging with our customers to support them in their own climate action is a priority. Strengthening our data capabilities and implementing our climate risk framework are integral aspects of our climate change strategy.

Community investment and engagement

We are sensitive of the social circumstances and environment in which we are active. The companies and projects we invest in generally have an important impact on local communities and society at large. Therefore, we integrate stakeholder considerations and information in our decision-making, and seek to ensure that clients have undertaken meaningful consultation with stakeholders (including affected communities), which is in line with the IFC Performance Standards. We assess if decisions will further contribute to the quality and positive impact anticipated of FMO’s investments, as well as ensure community support. This is also described in our Sustainability Policy. We have implemented an early disclosure of potential investments mechanism to allow interested parties to provide feedback on the environmental, social and governance aspects of our projects before contracting. We publish early disclosure of potential investments on our world map.

Diverse and inclusive organization – FMO’s workforce

We actively promote gender equality and diversity across all levels in the organization, striving for a 50 percent gender distribution in management roles. This commitment extends to considering gender and diversity factors in all positions, and fostering an environment where employees feel included, valued, respected, and empowered to be their authentic selves and realize their full potential. We recognize that diverse and inclusive teams fuel creativity and innovation, leading to more balanced decision-making and impactful solutions. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, we challenge ourselves to examine behaviors, assumptions, unconscious biases, and perceptions, fostering continuous learning and adaptation.

Employee development, engagement, health and well-being – FMO’s workforce

We aim to foster a workplace environment that empowers our employees to reach their full potential and make meaningful contributions through their work. This includes providing career advancement opportunities, a diverse array of professional development courses and training programs, as well as access to preventive health consultations aimed at promoting work-life balance and addressing stress-related concerns.

Gender equality – FMO’s customers and workers in the value chain

Gender equality related to FMO’s customers and workers in the value chain involves promoting equal rights and opportunities for women across various spheres of economic activity. We support our clients to provide affordable financial solutions tailored to women entrepreneurs, increase the reach to women as end-users of products and services, and increase quality employment for women. Our commitment to reducing gender inequalities aligns with Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 10 and involves a comprehensive approach that considers the specific impacts of our investments on women, including as workers. Additionally, our gender lens investments target women as entrepreneurs, consumers, and employees, further advancing gender equality and fostering inclusive economic growth.

Human rights

In line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we recognize the responsibility of companies to respect human rights, wherever they operate. We also understand that companies can undermine human rights through their action or inaction and that this is particularly relevant in countries where ESG conditions are less favorable. Our most salient human rights risks relate to our role as a lender and investor and less in our internal operations. Therefore, our human rights approach focuses primarily on respecting the rights of our customers’ employees, local communities and other stakeholders related to the activities that FMO finances and promoting human rights in society at large. Our human rights commitment is also an integral part of our ESG risk management. Adopting a human rights-based lens in our ESG risk management helps us to bring local employee, affected community and other stakeholder perspectives to the center of our ESG assessment and influences the engagement with our customers. The IFC Performance Standards are our main instrument for implementing our human rights commitment. We use them as a key reference for identifying human rights risks and impacts, defining customer requirements and responsibilities, and for reviewing human rights performance during our engagement. We are further guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the other standards referenced in our Sustainability Policy.

Maintaining financial sustainability

We ensure that FMO’s business model continues to result in long-term profitability within the boundaries of our mandate, risk appetite, and capital requirements, and is in line with applicable laws and regulations. By maintaining financial sustainability and adhering to capital requirements and other regulations, FMO remains a trusted and attractive partner for other (commercial) investors. This can lead to co-investment opportunities, but also actors investing in FMO's bonds, leveraging additional capital for development initiatives and multiplying the positive impact. Furthermore, FMO promotes customers' financial sustainability by providing financial products that suit their needs.


Pollution encompasses contamination of air, water, and land, posing threats to people and the environment at local, regional, and global scales. FMO addresses pollution-related impacts through our ESG activities, which require customers to uphold international ESG standards, including those established by the IFC and to adhere to the performance levels as recommended in the World Bank’s Environmental Health & Safety Guidelines. Customers are further required to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts on human health and the environment by minimizing pollution from investment activities, promoting sustainable resource use, such as energy and water, thereby reducing investment-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Productive employment & decent work for all and inclusive & sustainable economic growth – workers in the value chain

Through investing in the private sector, FMO promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and full and productive employment for all. FMO seeks a positive impact on people and the economy by supporting direct employment at the company level. Our investments not only actively contribute toward supporting jobs but also aim to improve the quality of these jobs. We require our customers to comply with applicable environmental, social and human rights laws in their home and host countries. We expect customers to respect workers’ rights and to strive towards providing decent working terms and conditions. We also expect them to uphold the IFC Performance Standards, including Performance Standard 2 on Labor and Working Conditions, and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which focus on labor and working conditions. Through these commitments, we expect our customers to treat workers fairly, provide safe and healthy working conditions, avoid the use of child or forced labor, and identify and mitigate risks in their primary supply chains.

Reduced inequalities

FMO contributes towards reducing inequalities between countries by investing in the least developed countries and fragile states. We aim to contribute toward reducing inequalities within countries by investing in inclusive businesses that provide basic goods and services for low income and underserved groups (including micro-financial services, financial services to underserved SMEs, as well as last mile delivery of power), or that include smallholder farmers and women in their value chains. We also aim to contribute toward income generating opportunities for those in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution.

Responsible, compliant, transparent, and accountable banking

We ensure compliance by FMO and its employees with (inter)national laws, regulations and standards of responsible business conduct and integrity applicable to FMO. This includes topics such as data protection & privacy, tax, anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, targeted financial sanctions, anti-bribery, and anti-corruption procedures, remuneration of management, and ethical behavior. FMO strives to be accountable through reporting on activities and performance in a transparent and timely way. This includes making public relevant investment information which enables (local) stakeholders to provide feedback or additional information on our (proposed) investments.

Strong governance and high ESG standards – FMO customers

We work with our customers to create environmental, social and governance impact, integrated throughout the investment process, with a focus on avoiding or mitigating negative effect for local communities and building stronger local partnerships to better understand and address contextual risks in line with the IFC Performance Standards. In addition, we work towards transforming ESG practices at customer, sector and/or industry level to deliver positive impact across all the SDGs and avoid and mitigate negative social and environmental impacts, including on local communities.

Water resources

Water resources refer to surface water, groundwater aquifers and other natural water sources which are required for human consumption, ecosystems and use by different industries. Utilization of water resources necessitates the adoption of sustainable practices to maintain its availability, quality, and reliability. FMO, through its ESG activities, requires our customers to identify investment-related risks to water resources and to ensure that internationally recognized industry standards including the IFC Performance Standards which require projects to minimize negative impacts and promote responsible water management are upheld. This includes implementing mitigation measures to minimize the negative impacts associated with water consumption in areas of scarcity, or with unequal access. FMO further expects customers to seek out options to maximize resource efficiency, including the adoption of water conservation practices.

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