Greening Up the World Bank

Witnessing and working with an international organisation adopting environmental initiatives

Susan Park, Multilateral Development Banks Research, University of Sydney, International Relations

The Project

My book World Bank Group interactions with environmentalists shows how environmentalists have shaped the world’s largest multilateral development lender, investment financier and political risk insurer to take up sustainable development. It traces interactions between environmentalists, governments and the World Bank Group to improve the latter’s projects, policies and institutions. This text locates sources of organisational change with international norms promoted by environmentalists, thus demonstrating how non-state actors can effect change within world politics. The book combines a theoretically sophisticated account of international organisation change with detailed empirical evidence in one issue area across three institutions.

The rise of environmentalists opposing the World Bank Group effectively demonstrates how international norms of sustainable development increasingly influenced each organisation. Taking this constructivist analysis further, the book examines how environmentalists used direct and indirect processes of socialisation to influence the World Bank Group through persuasion, social influence and coercion by lobbying. By tracing how environmentalists shaped the World Bank Group, the book demonstrates how organisations that resist norms as antithetical to their identity may still institutionalise and habitualise the norm within their practices. In each chapter the socialisation processes enacted by environmentalists are examined in relation to the projects, policies and institutional changes of each organisation. Each of these affiliates is increasingly important in the global political economy but responded differently to environmentalists as a result of their organisational identity. The book provides an alternative means of understanding international organisation change, and the importance of non-state actors in greening the global political economy.


The data from this project was used to write a book:

World Bank Group interactions with Environmentalists: Changing International Organisation Identities

Park, S. (2010). World Bank Group interactions with Environmentalists: Changing International Organisation Identities. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

Available through: Amazon and Manchester University Press

Other links

The focus of this book is The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/International Development Association)

Also studied were the two private sector affiliates that comprise the World Bank Group (the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency).