Job Opening

Posting Title: UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Finance for Resource Efficiency Coordinator
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 15 December 2020 - 19 January 2021
Job Opening Number: 20-United Nations Environment Programme-146776-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity

Result of Service

Through these services the Guidance will provide a common framework, indicators, metrics and methodologies to guide banks on target setting on resource efficiency. This would support aligning finance with the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The guidelines will identify taxonomies to classify circular economy activities and business models and measure circular economy finance. Results would include a strategy for work programme development and resourcing to mobilize banks, insurers and investors on financing a circular economy.

The  guidance will support implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking. The guidance will focus on financing key sectors such as chemicals, mining and waste, as well as on topics such as applying circularity in policies, financial instruments, strategic goals and corporate engagement. The guidance will highlight how the financial sector can contribute to making resource use more sustainable as part of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

A secondary objective of the work will be to scope a full UNEP FI thematic programme on circularity, pollution and waste minimization. The scoping would include seeking feedback from UNEP FI members on the importance of these thematic topics and developing a proposed programme of work in this area. The project is relevant to UNEA 4 Resolutions 1, 7 and 8 in particular. It supports the MTS by increasing cooperation across UNEP and beyond to accelerate the financial sector’s role in repurposing the private sector to decarbonize, decouple, detoxify and dematerialise key economic sectors driving the climate change, biodiversity and pollution crises; and through cross-cutting implementation focusing on multi-stakeholder partnerships with the private sector.

Key deliverables:

1. Guidance for banks on target setting on resource efficiency

2. Strategy and implementation plan for UNEP FI to develop work programme on circularity, pollution and waste minimization.

3. Briefing with case studies for financial institutions in Europe.

4. Insurance industry scoping study on the integration of resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production, and circularity considerations into the insurance business.

Specific outcomes:

1. Banks have a common framework and understanding of the steps they can take to set and implement credible targets on resource efficiency under the Principles for Responsible Banking.

2. Recommendations for UNEP FI to develop work programme on circularity, pollution and waste minimization (in electronic format).

3. Briefing/case studies for financial institutions in Europe (in electronic format).

4. Business case and proposals for insurers to integrate resource efficiency into implementation of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (in electronic format).

Work Location

Working Remotely / Geneva

Expected duration

The duration of the contract should be for 11 Months.

Duties and Responsibilities

Located within the UN Environment Division of Economy, the Resources & Markets Branch (UNEP-RMB) seeks to conserve the environment, reduce poverty, and promote sustainable development by enhancing the capacity of governments, businesses, and civil society to integrate environmental considerations into economic, trade, and financial policies and practices in accordance with the partnership and integrated policy-making approaches of sustainable development.

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a strategic partnership between UN Environment and the global financial sector. UNEP FI works with more than 350 banks, insurers and investors as well as partners and organizations to develop and promote sustainable finance. Through its work-streams and regional activities, comprehensive work programme, training and research, UNEP FI carries out its mission to identify, promote, and realize the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice at all levels of financial institution strategies and operations.

UNEP FI’s works with banks, insurers and investors to develop innovative insight and methodologies for financial institutions to incorporate environmental issues into decision making. UNEP FI launched Principles for Responsible Banking in 2019. The Principles for Responsible Banking guide the change towards a new, sustainable global banking industry that takes on a key role in helping society to achieve its goals for a sustainable future. With these Principles, banks commit to strategically align their business with and scale up their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate. The Principles are supported by a strong implementation framework that defines clear accountabilities and requires each bank to set, publish and work towards ambitious targets and report publicly on their positive and negative impacts and progress in implementing their commitments.

UNEP FI provides support to and closely works with the Signatories in their implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking. UNEP FI is developing detailed guidance and tools to support implementation of the Principles including on target setting on topics including resource efficiency. UNEP FI published a global study on financing a circular economy in 2020.

Furthermore, UNEP FI hosts the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), which is the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry. Endorsed by the UN Secretary-General and insurance industry CEOs, the PSI serves as a global framework for the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities—and a global initiative to strengthen the insurance industry’s contribution as risk managers, insurers and investors to building resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities and economies on a healthy planet.

In 2020, the PSI launched two initiatives that are relevant to resource efficiency and the circular economy:

1) The first-ever insurance industry guide to manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks— or sustainability risks. The guide showed how insurers could develop a systematic approach to managing ESG risks such as climate change, environmental degradation, protected sites and species, animal welfare, human rights, controversial weapons, and corruption.

2) The development of a set of “Insurance Sustainable Development Goals” (iSDGs). The iSDGs are ambitious, quantitative, insurance product/solution-specific goals at the global insurance industry level. For each iSDG, a roadmap at the global insurance industry level and targets at the insurance company level will be developed, with the aim to increase the penetration of existing SDG-supporting insurance products and solutions, and develop new SDG-supporting products and solutions that are needed. The initiative also aims to develop methods and toolkits for the insurance industry and key stakeholders on how to measure progress in achieving the SDGs in the context of the impact of insurance products and solutions.

In addition to the above, the PSI is working on resource efficiency-related initiatives that capture the roles of the insurance industry as risk managers, insurers and investors. An example of this the first ever study on the risks of plastic pollution to the insurance industry, launched in 2019.

Lastly, UNEP FI would like to develop a work programme to mobilize finance for a circular economy. UNEP FI currently does not have the internal capacity to undertake such the guidance and work programme development, and hence outside expertise is required.


Specific tasks and responsibilities:

Guidance for banks on target setting on resource efficiency:

The consultant will coordinate a working group to enable banks to understand and apply existing approaches and learn from the experiences of the pioneer banks in this field (learning through materials, clinics and potentially mentor calls). The consultant would undertake research, writing, editing and stakeholder engagement/peer reviews/consultations to deliver the guidance for banks on target setting on resource efficiency to support PRB implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking. The scope of the guidance will include:

• Providing a common framework and methodologies to guide banks on target setting on resource efficiency

• Providing indicators, metrics for target setting on resource efficiency.

• Examples of good practice and case studies (covering Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Asia Pacific, Africa & Middle East).

• An overview of relevant taxonomies and approaches to classify circular economy activities and business models and measure circular economy finance results.

• Applying targets in financing of key sectors such as chemicals, mining and waste.

• Implementation options such as applying circularity in policies, financial instruments, strategic goals and corporate engagement.

The guidance will highlight how the financial sector can contribute to making resource use more sustainable as part of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

UNEP FI thematic programme on circularity, pollution and waste minimization: A strategy and resourcing plan to undertake a structured series of activities to mobilize banks, insurers and investors on financing resource efficiency/circularity, pollution and waste minimization for the transition to a circular economy. The scoping would include seeking feedback from UNEP FI members on the importance of these thematic topics and developing a proposed programme of work in this area, and coordination to ensure inputs from work stream leads.

Briefing/case studies for financial institutions in Europe: Provide a briefing with a  compilation of 10 European case studies of banks in Europe (including at least 3 from Eastern Europe and Caucasus).

Insurance industry scoping study: In addition, the consultant will provide a scoping study on the role of the insurance industry in supporting the transition to circularity through implementation of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance. The briefing will aim to inform options to:

• integrate resource inefficiency-related risks in updated versions of the PSI ESG Guide for non-life insurance business

• include SDG12 in the development of Insurance Sustainable Development Goals (iSDGs).

The guidance, work programme development and briefing to mobilize finance for resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy will build on UNEP FI’s report on Financing Circularity: Demystifying Finance for Circular Economies and its recommendations (October 2020). They will be undertaken in coordination with UNEP colleagues and relevant initiatives working on resource efficiency to take account of emerging approaches and goals and indicators aligned with SDG12.

The consultant shall be under the overall supervision of the Head of UNEP FI, Eric Usher, and report directly to the Membership and Regional Coordination Manager, UNEP FI, Ms. Liesel van Ast. The consultant will work in close coordination with the Banking and Insurance teams.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: The candidate should have excellent proven conceptual, analytical, research, interviewing, writing and editing skills. The consultant should strong project management, stakeholder engagement and consultation competencies. He or she should have an understanding of financial services (banking, insurance and/or investment) and sustainable consumption and production/resource efficiency in the private sector. The candidate should be able to work independently in an organized and timely manner. The consultant will have the ability to prioritise and identify and capture opportunities to add value to the work programme and engage financial institutions in guidance development. Strong technical skills will be an advantage. Knowledge of sustainable finance and/or banking is desirable.

Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent experience) in economics, finance, environment, resource management, sustainability, business, strategy, management, or a related field. A first-level university degree in combination with additional relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree. The consultant should have excellent listening, writing and speaking communications skills.

Experience: A minimum of five years of progressively responsible work experience, ideally in the area of sustainability/resource efficiency/circular economy. Experience working in/with banks, insurers and/or investment firms is an advantage, as well as experience working in international contexts. Furthermore, the candidate should have a track record of delivering consistently high-quality outputs on time and on budget. The candidate should have successfully managed complex, ideally multi-stakeholder, research projects or studies. Experience of stakeholder engagement is a plus.

Language: English is the working language of UNEP FI. Knowledge of other United Nations languages are an asset.

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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