Job Opening

Posting Title: UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Guidance Consultant for Sustainable Blue Economy
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 04 August 2021 - 11 August 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Environment Programme-161159-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The ultimate result of the service will be to support the ecosystem management work stream’s contribution to UNEP FI’s work plan under UNEP´s Project 623.3 indicated below, i.e. to support UNEP FI’s members in contributing to sustainable development worldwide. UNEP FI is focused on accelerating private sector financing for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including developing financial institutions’ knowledge and expertise to contribute to achieving SDG 14 (Life Below Water - “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”). The consultant will support the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative hosted by UNEP FI.

Work Location

Working Remotely.

Expected duration

The duration of the contract is 4 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 400 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.

The Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative is hosted by UNEP FI under its Nature workstream, which engages financial institutions across the banking, insurance and investment industries. UNEP FI’s Ecosystem team works with member institutions to develop innovative insight and tools for financial institutions to incorporate natural capital, deforestation and related issues into decision making. The team co-ordinates the Secretariat of the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative to raise awareness, maintain a community of practice and develop insight, tools and resources for financial institutions on ocean and marine ecosystem issues. The Initiative also champions the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles.

After an initial start-up phase with an expanding work programme and with its membership growing by 355% within the first 12 months, the team requires support to develop the second iteration of “blue finance” industry guidance, following the successful launch of version 1 Turning The Tide in March 2021. UNEP FI currently does not have the internal capacity to undertake these activities, and hence outside expertise is required for this purpose.

This work is intended to result in the development of follow-up guidance for financial institutions on sustainability in the blue economy, building on the approach and methodology designed for Turning the Tide and applying this to a number of new sectors.

Primary target audience: All banks, insurers and investors worldwide
Secondary target audience: Business and policymakers worldwide

The sectors to be covered as part of the development of follow-on guidance include the following, with more detailed scoping of the sectors a first step in the work. These were chosen after careful consideration of the available resources, as well as feedback received from the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative’s Steering Group Members and Membership.

UNEP FI will oversee a Project Team of co-authors who would work together to co-create sectoral guidance with the explicit input of the finance sector and other external experts (comprised by UNEP FI SBEFI members and signatories – the Guidance Working Group). This would allow for the production of guidance comprised of common elements as well as a set of standardised sector specific guidance sections that are fit for purpose for the finance community, covering banking, insurance and investment. The guidance will cover:
Guidance on financing the transition of 3 economic themes to the sustainable use of marine resources in balance with healthy ecosystems:
- (Solid) Waste management
- Coastal defensive infrastructure
- The extractives transition

Each of the sectoral guidance “chapters” would follow the same structure/template and contain the same types of information to allow for consistency and standardisation. This is important to encourage widespread adoption of the guidance. This may be enhanced by sector specific information.

Objectives of the Guidance report:

- To develop clear, granular and practical global guidance to operationalize for financing of ocean-related industries to contribute to the transition to sustainable use of marine resources in balance with ecosystems.
- To support implementation of the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles as a guiding overarching framework to align lending, insurance and investment with sustainable ocean-related economic activities.
- To provide technical guidance relevant environmental, social and governance issues in areas such as strategies/policies/impact identification/criteria/indicators/metrics to inform decision-making.
- Building on Turning The Tide, identify commonalities across sustainability frameworks and criteria used in sustainable finance market practice relevant to blue economy sectors. The scope will include providing guidance on common criteria, decision-making processes, impact indicators, metrics, policies, and relevant standards and actions that banks, insurers and investors can take related to products, services, financial instruments/investments, clients and customers to accelerate financing of a sustainable blue economy.
- Provide guidance on how to anchor the principles under relevant industry frameworks, e.g. the Principles for Responsible Banking, Principles for Sustainable Insurance and Principles for Responsible Investment, as well as outline how other sectoral principles align with them.
- Provide specific, actionable recommendations on how the financial sector can support the ambitions of UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.
- Provide case studies and examples of innovation and good practice in market practice and financial policy making to boost financing of a sustainable blue economy, where applicable.
- Identify opportunities to better manage risks and scale up opportunities in the sustainable blue economy in terms financial instruments, products, services and investments and underwriting across key business lines/asset classes.
- Recommendations for standard setters/ratings agencies/policymakers to create an enabling environment and generate data, methodologies and tools to accelerate sustainable ocean financing.
- Provide recommendations for further guidance development for the financial sector to accelerate its contribution to achieving SDG14.

Ensure the guidance builds on and connects to:

- Relevant related industry-led Principles and initiatives. e.g. UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Principles, Poseidon Principles Association’s Poseidon Principles – a framework for integrating climate considerations into lending decisions to promote international shipping’s decarbonization. , the Principles for Investment in Sustainable Wild-Caught Fisheries and related resources, the Principles for Responsible Banking, Principles for Sustainable Insurance and Principles for Responsible Investment.
- Nature-based solutions and linkages to all relevant UN SDGs, including SDG 14 – Life below water, and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
- Relevant financial/economic implications of international frameworks, policies and regulations for sustainable ocean management to 2050, e.g. EU taxonomy on Sustainable Finance
- Relevant developments across science-based targets for policy, business and finance and work and study being undertaken by the Science-Based Targets Network (SBTN) Ocean Hub to analyse current best practice across sectors, as well as work by UNEP-WCMC with UNEP FI and Global Canopy on ecosystems and financial sector target setting; and International Resources Panel data and research.

The consultant will specifically be focusing on:

The extractives transition (title tbd)
In addition to offering guidance for sectors that form part of the sustainable use and development of the blue economy, UNEP FI recognises other, unsustainable sectors persist in the coastal and marine environment. How financial institutions may consider these sectors, particularly in terms of managing the transition away from unsustainable economic activity, is an area that UNEP FI would like to explore through a separate discussion paper on the ‘extractives transition’.

While to be developed following the same methodology and in lockstep with the other sectors, the work for the extractives transition will not form a part of the guidance as extractives are not considered a part of the sustainable blue economy. Nevertheless, guidance here must focus on the following sub-sectors:
- Offshore oil & gas
- Deep sea mining
- Dredging
- Sand mining

This chapter will look at the social and environmental impacts of the above activities, excluding their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change implications, which are well documented and articulated elsewhere. Instead, the discussion paper that will result from work on this sector will explore issues related to the construction, operation and decommissioning of offshore installations (building in this respect on the marine renewable energy guidance featured in Turning the Tide), the risks to financial institutions of continued association with these activities, and managing the transition to more sustainable alternatives.

Therefore, the approach to this sector will be based on:
- Avoiding new financing for any of the above activities;
- Challenging existing financing for some of the above activities to be as sustainable as possible and mitigate their impact as far as possible (some, such as deep sea mining, do not feature any current financing);
- Seeking out sustainable alternatives and divestment from these activities.

Specific tasks and responsibilities

As Consultant for the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative the consultant would support the development of “Guidance v2” as one of the co-authors, including writing the discussion paper on the extractives transition as outlined above.

Output expectations
The approach to be taken, including the key outputs and activities to undertake per sector are illustrated in the logic model provided in the annex. Authors are expected to provide a narrative document detailing the materiality of social and environmental impacts for each sector alongside a detailed excel spreadsheet featuring the criteria comprising the guidance for the sector. For reference regarding methodology, formatting and level of detail please examine Turning the Tide and its relevant chapters as well as the below logic model.

Specifically, the consultant would be responsible for:
- Draft and edit guidance v2 report to ensure decision-useful information and practical examples for banks, insurers and investors.
- Participate in feedback / review sessions with UNEP FI expert Guidance v2 Working Group for feedback on sector specific guidance drafts. Take into account and implement feedback on drafts and finalise guidance documents. This may include
o Meeting regularly with the other co-authors to ensure alignment of approaches
o Leading informal interviews with relevant working group members or external experts as necessary to obtain feedback
o Taking part in Working group meetings on a monthly basis in order to obtain feedback

- Contribution to the ‘Guidance’ v2 report in close coordination with the other co-authors, specifically the development and writing of sectoral guidance covering:
o The extractives transition (as a separate discussion paper, using the same methodology as applied in Turning The Tide)

The consultant shall be under the overall supervision of the Head UNEP FI and report directly to the Nature lead at UNEP FI.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: Proactive and independent professional with excellent oral and written communications skills, with ability to communicate clearly and succinctly. Strong organizational and time management skills with ability and willingness to produce high-quality content on tight deadlines. Expertise in finance, biodiversity, marine ecosystems and ocean issues is highly desirable. Interest in sustainable finance and ocean-related issues; knowledge of environmental issues and specifically the blue economy is desirable; Ability to prioritise multiple activities concurrently in an organized and timely manner; Attention to detail. The consultant must be highly motivated and able to work independently as well as in a team. Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain good working relations across diverse stakeholders in a multicultural and geographically dispersed environment. The consultant should have excellent listening and communications skills, with experience of presenting in public.

Academic Qualifications: A University degree relevant to business/administration, finance, environment, oceans, sustainability, social studies or equivalent education and experience.

Experience: At least three years working experience in sustainable finance / blue economy / environmental and financial services or related fields. Experience in researching, writing and delivering reports and content directed at a financial audience. Experience in data management and analysis desirable. Experience of working with the financial sector (banking, insurance and/or investment) is desirable.

Language: English is the working language of UNEP FI. Knowledge of other United Nations 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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