Job Opening

Posting Title: UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Food System Finance Leadership Coordinator
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 22 June 2021 - 05 July 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Environment Programme-158217-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

- Actively engage FI into the various food systems initiatives, explaining the difference and value-add fluently
- Prepare materials that assist in communicating the various elements clearly, and support consolidation as necessary
- Coordinate FS4FN’s Secretariat with CFU and WBCSD, other partners as relevant
- Coordinate the various groupings of FIs in the partnerships including working groups
- Coordinate UNEP FI banking and other participation into PRI sustainable commodities journey
- Coordinate UNEP (FI and CFU) participation in TNFD proof of concept pilot on soy
- Support planning and coordination of TNFD piloting calendar and convening
- Support drafting proposal(s) to donors on this topic
- Support coordination of UNEP (FI and CFU) participation in COP26 nature-related activities and follow-on
- Support relevant outreach activities for ENCORE biodiversity module and other UNEP FI and CFU products/initiatives related to food systems

Work Location

Working Remotely.

Expected duration

The contract is for 12 months.

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

The overall objective of the UNEP’s Economy Division is to encourage decision makers in government, local authorities and industry to develop and adopt policies, strategies and practices and technologies that promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production, make efficient use of natural resources, ensure safe management of chemicals and contribute to making trade and environment policies mutually supportive. It promotes the development, use and transfer of policies, technologies, economic instruments, managerial practices and other tools that assist in environmentally sound decision making and the building of corresponding activities.

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is the strategic partnership between the United Nations and over 300 banks, insurers and investors. For over 28 years UNEP FI has been shaping and driving the international sustainable finance agenda, setting global standards and growing a global network of leading financial institutions. Through its work-streams and regional activities, peer learning, methodology development, training and research, UNEP FI carries out its mission to help the financial industry align with and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and with that take on the crucial role it must play in achieving a sustainable future.

At least 200 major financial institutions, as well as other public and private finance providers in developed and emerging markets have considerable exposure to clients and investee companies in the forestry, agriculture and the wider food system, among these international and state banks, institutional investors, micro-credit institutions, development finance institutions and fund managers. In many cases, financial flows benefit, directly or indirectly, unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation-based commodity production. This causes relevant risks related to nature/ecosystems degradation, climate change, land use and deforestation-related material losses.

On the other hand, there is an opportunity to better align portfolios to the SDGs via directing capital to projects and companies that reduce deforestation, promote restoration and/or apply a landscape approach. Efforts on food system sustainable finance need to take a phased approach towards increasingly ambitious science-based climate and biodiversity targets, as well as positive social and economic impacts, building on work already undertaken by a range of initiatives. Still amongst a busy landscape, there are significant gaps: in the encouragement of private financial leadership, co-creation of the agenda with public and private finance actors, and differentiated approaches to working with different types of financial institutions (e.g. commercial banks, development finance institutions, micro-credit facilities, asset owners and asset managers).

The Green Finance for Sustainable Landscapes (GF4SL) project is a Joint Initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forest (CPF), managed by UNEP (Climate Finance Unit), in close collaboration with UNEP-FI. The GF4SL aims at substantially increasing the volume of financial flows toward deforestation-free, sustainable commodity production and other forms of sustainable land use. To reach this objective, UNEP has joined forces with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to co-create and co-host the Finance Network for Food Systems (FN4FS), with the objective to mobilize financial institutions and other key stakeholders to foster a systemic change in food systems finance.

The FN4FS is establishing:
1. A Members’ Group, made  public and private sector financial institutions and real economy businesses, whose CEOs/Ministers/Heads will sign an open letter on their engagement with the finance for sustainable food systems agenda, and contribute to its implementation through participation in dialogues and expert groups’ activities.
2. A Leaders’ group of finance institutions and other stakeholders composed by highly committed members, working as an advisory / steering group for the Network and acting as “role models”—through public commitments to SMART targets and concrete actions—to show that the transition to finance and business models that adequately address the nature, climate and food crisis is feasible.  
3. An Enablers’ (or Friends’) Group: institutions, organizations, service providers (public, private and non-profit), and related initiatives/coalitions willing to provide relevant knowledge, solutions and technical assistance to FIs and businesses, or act as catalysers. 
4. Some Expert Groups, made of select members and friends/enablers, to act as accelerators, with the mandate to analyse and develop solutions in specific areas and help Network members with implementation and in meeting their commitments.

The FN4FS is not intended as a new platform but will draw out, network and support leaders from existing platforms such as the membership of the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB), Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance (NZAOA), Task Force on Nature-Related Financial Disclosure (TNFD) and through the joint UNEP FI leadership programme with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The Leadership Coordinator coordinate the FS4FN’s Secretariat with the UNEP FI’s Ecosystems and Climate leads, the UNEP GF4SL project manager and in close collaboration with WBCSD to coordinate outreach and engagement activities with financial institutions and other stakeholders in support of the FN4FS. Moreover, he or she will engage with the existing platforms and regional networks of UNEP FI. The consultant will contribute to UNEP’s efforts to accelerate private sector financing for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including developing financial institutions’ knowledge and expertise to contribute to achieving SDGs 2, 13 and 15 spanning food security, climate action and life on land.

The consultant will be hosted by UNEP FI, though working closely with and reporting secondarily to the UNEP CFU and support effective and efficient coordination between a rapidly-growing number of initiatives in this space across several teams and in the external environment.

Objective: Private financial institutions (UNEP FI and PRI members) prepare to make and deliver on sound and science-based commitments to sustainable food system finance, both from a portfolio alignment and risk and disclosure perspective. Leadership on food system finance (spanning Climate, Nature and Pollution themes) is both well-coordinated and sufficiently ambitious, and has sufficient visibility to stimulate action from peers in the financial sector.

Output:

1. Clear overview for FIs of opportunities to engage in sustainable food finance leadership e.g.:
• FS4FN Members’ Group, Leaders’ group, Expert Groups,
• UNEP FI and PRI initiatives and platforms such as NZAOA, NZBanking, NZInsurance, PRBs, etc related to food
• PRI SCP and bank ‘sounding group’
• CBD and UNFCCC -related activities and follow-on
• Various regional and other projects.
2. Engage 30+ FIs in the relevant initiatives, and relevant commitments such as deforestation-free portfolios by 2025 and nature positive by 2030.
3. Deliver comms materials that assist in communicating the various elements clearly, and support consolidation as necessary.
4. Smooth coordination of the FS4FN’s Secretariat with CFU and WBCSD, other partners as relevant, including the engagement of FIs.
5. Seamless coordinate UNEP FI banking and other participation into PRI sustainable commodities journey.
6. Lead coordination of UNEP (FI and CFU) participation in TNFD proof of concept pilot on soy. Delivery of reports, comms and other outputs.
7. Support planning and coordination of TNFD piloting calendar and convening FIs in piloting opportunities.
8. Coordinated inputs to proposal(s) to donors on this topic.
9. Conduct of outreach activities for ENCORE biodiversity module and other UNEP FI and CFU products/initiatives related to food systems.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: The consultant should have the ability to manage relationships and drive collaboration. Ability to build good working relationships at all levels is desirable. He or she should be expert at coordination and outreach, able to work independently, have strong problem-solving abilities, and excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrable expertise in agriculture, sustainability and finance is required. The consultant should have excellent listening and communications skills, with experience in presenting in public and writing reports.

Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in finance, agricultural economics, international relations, business or a related discipline.

Experience: A minimum of five years of progressively responsible work experience in the area of partnership development, banking and/or investment, for example in risk, ESG, client-facing teams and/or developing sustainable finance products. Experience working in/with agricultural corporates and/or banks and /or insurers and/or investors is required as well as experience working in international contexts. The candidate should have successfully managed complex and, ideally, multi-stakeholder, projects.

Language: English is the working language of UNEP FI. Knowledge of Portuguese and/or Spanish would be valuable. 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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