IFC offloads illegal timber trader

1 February 2008

A Financial Times article in December reported that the IFC has withdrawn from its 3.35 per cent equity stake, worth up to $7.5 million in the Singapore-based global commodities trader, Olam International, following allegations that the company was sourcing timber illegally in the Democratic Republic of Congo (see Update 57). IFC stated its decision was due to “policy considerations”. A series of recent reports and letters sent to the IFC by Greenpeace outlined the company’s dire environmental and social record in the country and pointed to the IFC’s lack of due diligence in funding it. Suzanne Breitkopf asserts that “the case of Olam International is illustrative of the Bank’s failure to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.”