Job Opening

Posting Title: UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) – Regional Coordinator for Europe
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 28 January 2021 - 13 February 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Environment Programme-149048-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The consultant will be responsible for the following:

Core Responsibilities

Manage a flagship EU project – Banking & Taxonomy

• Lead the Banking & Taxonomy Working Group project in collaboration with the European Banking Federation.

• Engage and support UNEP FI member banks with the planning, preparation and day to day management of the project.

• Manage and build relationships with key partners i.e. European Banking Federation, European Banking Authority, European Commission etc.

• Coordinate day-to-day project stakeholders’ interactions e.g. Principles for Responsible Banking, Principles for Responsible Investment, etc. Calibrate and integrate input and feedback into the project as relevant.

• Use project outcomes to inform and support taxonomy-related work of the EU Platform for Sustainable Finance, as relevant and appropriate.

• Support the preparation, drafting and finalization of the project report.

• Support with day-to-day project-related communications tasks including updating website, newsletters, social media etc, in collaboration with the UNEP FI comms team.

• Lead fundraising activities in relation to the project and coordinate with UNEP FI admin and HR teams as relevant.

• Contribute to the ongoing work of the Principles for Responsible Banking team as necessary, including to embed taxonomy-related information, technical advice and input to the PRB’s work.

• Prepare briefing notes and presentations for UNEP FI management and teams and provide regular report on progress.

• Support related activities within UNEP FI as well as with external partner organizations, including attending industry events.

Develop options for EU project – Insurance & Taxonomy

• Undertake scoping study on the potential application of the taxonomy in the insurance business (underwriting, risk management and product & service development). The study will aim to inform options to test the taxonomy’s application in the non-life insurance businesses of UNEP FI members in Europe to support the application of the the PSI Guidelines on Managing environmental, social and governance risks in non-life insurance business and implementation of Insurance SDGs.

Europe Regional Coordination

• Facilitate European finance institutions’ access to the PRI, PRB and PSI networks.

• Support adoption and implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking and Principles for Sustainable Insurance in Europe.

• Support industry and thematic work programme implementation through knowledge sharing and peer exchanges between members in Europe and other regions.

• Inform project leads of regional context, priorities and needs where relevant to enhancing market uptake of outputs.

• Support adoption and implementation of ambitious target setting and promote strategic and operational leadership on sustainable finance in Europe.

• Organize the Europe Regional Roundtable and support other UNEP FI events and webinars in the region.

• Assist in raising the profiles of members involved in UNEP FI leadership initiatives on sustainable finance in the region.

• Disseminate and raise awareness of project outputs from the industry and thematic workstreams and engage members in opportunities to get involved.

• Support membership communications on market and policy developments.

• Update and maintain the Europe pages of UNEP FI’s website.

• Engage key stakeholders in the region, including supporting institutions, policymakers and regulators.

• Support the collection of financial contributions from members in Europe.

• Maintain contact information of members in Europe and respond to requests.

• Assist the preparation of missions by UNEP delegates in the region.

• Assist in cross-regional network engagement in co-ordination with UNEP FI’s regional co-ordination team.

• Engage priority countries in the region on sustainable finance to advance market practice and gain critical mass of signatories in the financial sector.

• Support finance sector engagement in activities on financing for resource efficiency/circular economy and minimizing pollution and waste in Europe and the development of case studies, with a focus on Eastern Europe and Caucasus in coordination with UNEP’s Europe office.

• Undertake outreach to financial institutions and key stakeholders on sustainable finance in Caucasus and Eastern Europe (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia), as well as Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey in coordination with UNEP’s Europe office to advance the agenda.

Deliverables/Outputs:

Manage a flagship EU project – Banking & Taxonomy

• Project plan and milestones agreed with European Banking Federation and Banking & Taxonomy Working Group members.

• Project outcomes to inform and support taxonomy-related work of the EU Platform for Sustainable Finance finalized.

• Resources secured and budget managed for project delivery.

• EU taxonomy collaborative project successfully delivered with practical outputs and project report delivered.

• Project-related communications delivered (website updated, newsletters, social media etc.

• Banking team informed of potential to embed taxonomy-related information, technical advice and input to the PRB’s work.

• Briefing notes and presentations on progress delivered for UNEP FI management and teams.

• Participation in relevant industry events.

Options for EU project – Insurance & Taxonomy

• Scoping study on the potential application of the taxonomy in the insurance business (underwriting, risk management and product & service development).

Europe Regional Coordination

• Annual work plan developed to support UNEP FI’s global work programme in the region.

• Financial institutions engaged on adoption and implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking and Principles for Sustainable Insurance in Europe.

• UNEP FI members in Europe adopt ambitious target setting and strategic and operational leadership on sustainable finance in Europe promoted.

• UNEP FI leadership initiatives on sustainable finance promoted in the region.

• Communications delivered to members in Europe.

• Regional Roundtable for Europe delivered.

• UNEP FI members and supporting institutions in Europe actively engaged in activities (e.g. collaborative projects, surveys, consultations and events).

• UNEP FI Europe web pages updated.

• Knowledge sharing/peer exchange undertaken.

• Project outputs and opportunities disseminated to UNEP FI members in Europe.

• Financial contributions from members in Europe secured.

• Contact information of members in Europe maintained.

• Finance sector engaged in activities on financing for resource efficiency/circular economy and minimizing pollution and waste in Europe and the development of case studies, with a focus on Eastern Europe and Caucasus.

• Financial institutions and key stakeholders in Caucasus and Eastern Europe (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia), as well as Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey engaged on sustainable finance agenda.

Work Location

Working remotely - Europe

Expected duration

The duration of the contract will be for 12 months.

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a unique global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the global financial sector. UNEP FI works closely with over 350 financial institutions that are members of the initiative, and a range of stakeholders to mobilise financing to address the nature, climate and pollution crises. Our work programme includes undertaking collaborative projects to undertake research and develop guidance and tools, engaging policymakers and convening stakeholders to advance the sustainable finance agenda, and hosting events to promote leadership, innovation and best practice. UNEP FI carries out its mission to help create a financial sector that serves people and planet while delivering positive impacts by working to identify, promote, and realise the adoption of sustainable finance practices at all levels of financial institution operations. UNEP FI works with banks, insurers and investors to develop strategic leadership, insight and methodologies for financial institutions to incorporate sustainability issues into decision-making.

UNEP FI launched the Principles for Responsible Banking in 2019 to guide the transition towards a 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. A strong implementation framework 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 also 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. PSI signatories are contributing to developing a set of “Insurance Sustainable Development Goals” (iSDGs).

More than 45% of UNEP FI’s members are based in Europe. The consultant will assist the implementation of UNEP FI’s strategy to accelerate sustainable finance in Europe and project manage a joint initiative with the European Banking Federation on the application of the EU Taxonomy in core banking products. The coordinator will support implementation by banks of the Principles for Responsible Banking and insurers of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance. The consultant will be responsible for relationship management with UNEP FI members in Europe to engage them in UNEP FI’s work programme, promote leadership, raise awareness and share knowledge. The consultant will maintain and build on partnerships and UNEP FI’s network to advance sustainable finance. The consultant will support UNEP FI’s coordination plan for Europe and engage supporting institutions in accelerating sustainable finance. The consultant will liaise with industry associations, regulators and supervisors, relevant networks and other key stakeholders in the region, as well as co-ordinating events and convening meetings with financial institutions and key stakeholders. The coordinator will support the Secretariat on member communications on sustainable finance in the region and maintain regional information on UNEP FI’s website. The coordinator will provide the Secretariat with information on members’ news and priorities to accelerate sustainable finance market practice in Europe. The consultant will support the UN Environment Secretariat as required. E.g. surveys, briefings, meetings, consultations etc.

UNEP FI currently does not have the expertise in-house to undertake the below mentioned tasks, therefore it requires the assistance of a consultant. In particular, UNEP FI requires a consultant to coordinate its activities in Europe. The incumbent is expected to be a motivated self-starter who enjoys working in a collaborative and international environment, and is able to work independently with minimal supervision, with a personal commitment to the goals of the United Nations.

Output Expectation:

EU taxonomy project: To project manage the second phase UNEP FI’s flagship working group of UNEP FI member banks with piloting the EU Taxonomy and enabling them to apply the classification system to core banking products. The second phase is expected to launch in Q1 2021. It will build on the first report titled ‘Testing the application of the EU Taxonomy to core banking products: high level recommendations’, a joint initiative led by UNEP FI and the European Banking Federation (EBF). Further details of the project can be found here. Consultation is underway to finalise the scope of Phase II.

Regional coordination: As regional coordinator for Europe you will be responsible for engaging and communicating with UNEP FI’s European members and key stakeholders with the objective to develop the depth and breadth of sustainable finance in the region to align finance with the UN Agreement on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals. You will strengthen knowledge sharing across European and international market practice. You will also act as focal point for UNEP FI’s observing roles on the EU Platform for Sustainable Finance and the International Platform for Sustainable Finance. You will organize UNEP FI’s Regional Roundtable for Europe in Q4 2021.

The successful candidate will join the UNEP FI regional team and will work closely with banking and insurance teams managing support for implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking and Principles for Sustainable Insurance.

UNEP FI’s European membership is important to fulfilling its goal to "identify, promote, and realise the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice at all levels of financial institution operations".

The final result of the consultant’s work will be the successful high-quality outputs on implementing the EU taxonomy in banking products, the engagement of the financial sector across Europe and a successful Regional Roundtable for Europe.

The consultant shall be under the overall supervision of Eric Usher, Head UNEP FI and report directly to Liesel van Ast Membership and Regional Coordination Manager of UNEP FI. The consultant will work closely with UNEP FI’s Regional Coordination, Banking, Insurance and Communications teams and other members of the Secretariat as needed.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: Required: Proven knowledge of the field of sustainable finance; understanding of sustainable finance policy and market practice in Europe; project management skills; strong understanding of the banking industry, banking business operations and products, European banking regulatory frameworks; in-depth understanding of the EU Action Plan for Sustainable Finance and the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities; outstanding negotiating, analytical and communication skills (listening, spoken and written); strong interpersonal and relationship management skills.

Desirable: Ability to translate new and diverse ideas and concepts into tangible outcomes, to identify and prioritize common interests in a diverse set of point of views; problem-solving ability; established European network of sustainable finance decision-makers /influencers/practitioners; ability to convene public and private sector stakeholders to create consensus and mobilise action; ability to work with investment professionals at C-suite level; ability to initiate and implement multiple projects and activities in an organized and timely manner.

Academic Qualifications: University degree in law, business, economics, administration, finance, international/European affairs, sustainable development, environmental management, or an environmental field or equivalent work experience.

Experience: Required: At least 5 years’ experience of working with the financial services sector and experience in project management with European stakeholders. Experience of building and managing relationships with external stakeholders. Experience of presenting and moderating conference calls.

Desirable: Experience working on public-private sector partnerships in sustainable finance or a related field such as corporate responsibility/disclosure/data analysis; event/workshop management and moderation/public speaking; experience of writing/editing technical reports.

Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, professional English oral, writing and editing skills are required. Fluency in French, Spanish, German and /or Russian is 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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