Job Opening

Posting Title: UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Social Issues Lead
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 29 November 2021 - 03 January 2022
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Environment Programme-169595-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Through these services the Initiative will build up its work programme on social issues to support implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI).

The role will include a focus on human rights and a just transition in aligning the economy with climate and other environmental objectives, decent employment, gender equality, financial inclusion and financial health and closing the protection gap. The consultant will work with UNEP FI members, UNEP FI thematic, industry and regional coordinators, as well as relevant governance bodies, in particular the Banking and Insurance Boards, to make sure that UNEP FI’s social issues strategy and work plan supports practical implementation of the PRB and PSI by members, aligned with relevant UN frameworks including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The social issues strategy and work plan should be delivered in accordance with UNEP FI’s overarching strategy and the industry frameworks, in line with UNEP FI’s work programme agreed at UNEP FI’s Annual General Meeting and UNEP’s project document for UNEP FI.

Work Location

Geneva based with option to work remotely initially

Expected duration

The expected duration is 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 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 30 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 promotes sustainable finance and helps the financial industry align with and contribute to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

UNEP FI supports global finance sector principles to catalyze integration of sustainability into financial market practice. The frameworks UNEP FI hosts include:
• Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) on 22 September 2019 and now signed by more than 260 banks with assets of USD70 trillion, representing 40% of global banking assets.
• Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), established 2012 by UNEP FI and today applied by one-quarter of the world’s insurers (25% of world premium).

UNEP FI requires a consult to build our work programme on social issues across banking and insurance, including a focus on human rights and a just transition in aligning the economy with climate and other environmental objectives, decent employment, gender equality, financial inclusion and financial health and closing the protection gap. UNEP FI currently does not have the relevant professional expertise internally.

The consultant will support UNEP FI with the planning, delivery, monitoring and communication of UNEP FI activities on social issues including human rights, developing a work stream strategy and work plan in consultation with the governance bodies. The consultant will contribute to the planning, implementation and reporting of UNEP FI work related to strengthening the role of finance in addressing social issues in policies and practice, while aligning portfolios with global UN frameworks including the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, through a social issues and human rights lens. Activities will be undertaken in line with the work programme delivered during the UNEP FI Annual General Meetings.

The outputs:
• Strategy and work plan for social issues work stream aligned with UNEP FI strategy and work plan for 2022.
• UNEP FI website social issues pages updated.
• PRB signatories supported on social issues.
• PSI signatories supported on social issues.
• Awareness raising and capacity building on human rights.
• Guidance for banks on setting and implementing targets on decent employment.
• Global and regional workshops/webinars/peer exchanges delivered on social issues.
• Plan to support just transition through implementation of net zero initiatives and biodiversity targets in the financial sector developed.
• Plan to support financial inclusion/close the protection gap through adaptation finance developed.

Specific tasks and responsibilities:
The consultant will provide assistance in the following project/tasks for UNEP FI’s social issues work:
• Develop a strategy and work plan for UNEP FI’s social issues work stream, including a focus on human rights, engaging with work stream leads, members as well as other stakeholders in the planning and implementation. Engage governance bodies on social issues work plan.
• Provide substantive inputs and operational support in the delivery of UNEP FI’s strategy and work plan for 2022 in the areas of Principles for Responsible Banking and Principles for Sustainable Insurance implementation support, working closely with the Banking Team and Insurance Teams.
• Coordinate UNEP FI agenda with relevant finance and human rights stakeholders and standard-setting processes; and the Civil Society Advisory Body, providing a coordinated response and building a community of expertise on finance and social issues within UNEP FI membership.
• Act as the members’ focal point on social issues and support member engagement and capacity building on human rights, including facilitating global and regional webinars and workshops.
• Develop understanding and knowledge of best practice for banks and insurers to address the ‘social’ pillar of sustainability through operations and support case study development and peer exchanges.
• Support the development of approaches to the just transition through implementation of net zero commitments and nature targest in the financial sector.
• Develop guidance for banks on setting and implementing targets on decent employment.
• Support PSI initiatives on social issues including the ESG guide (preventing human rights violations; downside risk) and the V20 Sustainable Insurance Facility to advance social and financial inclusion (focused on MSMEs in V20 economies), closing the protection gap through the PSI life & health work stream, supporting the social issues under the insurance Sustainable Development Goals.
• Support collaboration with the Principles for Responsible Investment on cross-industry social issues engagement and Investment Leadership Programme activities. Examples of issues to cover include decent work and modern slavery.
• Support the delivery of industry, thematic and regional activities from a social issues and human rights perspective. In particular, building a network of ‘social issues champions’ within the membership.
• Support regional capacity building on social issues, working with regional coordinators, to link the ‘global’ UNEP FI strategy on social issues to regional needs, priorities and good practice.
• Liaise internally, and support UNEP FI efforts to synchronize the sustainable finance agenda with UNEP and UN priorities in the area of social issues and human rights; contribute to relevant internal reporting.
• Support UNEP FI communication, to provide content on social issues and human rights as relevant for finance through newsletter, targeted member communication, industry and regional calls, etc.
• Update and maintain the social issues pages of the UNEP FI website.
• Support just transition agendas for climate and nature commitments.
• Develop plan to support financial inclusion/close the protection gap through adaptation finance.
• Build and maintain strategic partnerships with key stakeholders such as policymakers and regulators, international and multilateral organisations, non-governmental organisations, industry initiatives and associations, academia, and public and private financial institutions.

The consultant will report to the Programme Management Officer, working in close coordination with UNEP FI’s the Banking and Insurance teams. Overall responsibility rests with the Head of UNEP FI.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills & Knowledge: Substantial experience (min. 5 years) and expertise in assessing social impact, and how it is connected to environmental impacts, and developing strategies/providing recommendations and guidance to private/public sector entities on how to address negative and increase positive impact. In-depth understanding of how banks’ business activities relate to and influence environmental and social outcomes. Experience working in/with banks and a good grasp of their different business areas, products & services and internal structure/processes. Well acquainted with current issues and developments related to sustainable banking globally and regionally. Experience in developing new tools/approaches/guidance materials in collaboration with other experts and stakeholders. Has developed and facilitated structured peer learning programs.

Excellent oral and written communications skills in English, strong interpersonal skills; ability to cope with juggling multiple tasks across diverse projects in an organized and timely manner; attention to detail. The consultant should have the ability to establish and maintain good working relations in a multicultural and geographically dispersed team working across functions. A hands-on, pragmatic approach is desirable.

Reliable and delivers consistently high quality within agreed timeframes. Colleagues, external partners and constituents/clients trust the candidate because follows through on commitments towards others. Well-organized self-starter with proven ability to move multi-stakeholder processes and initiatives forward at a good pace. Can motivate others and develop inclusive structures and processes that cater to the needs of clients/constituents and create ownership. Team player, understands work as contributing to an overall objective, not an end in itself. Can adapt behavior and style of communication to different cultural contexts. Motivated and driven by the purpose the team/organization is working towards and the impacts they are trying to achieve.

Academic Qualifications: University Degree in the following areas: environmental studies, economics, marketing/communications, business development; International relations, administration or finance studies.

Experience: At least five years of professional experience and expertise in sustainable banking or sustainable finance. At least one year of professional experience in stakeholder engagement and management.

Language: Fluent in English, as this is UNEP FI’s working language. Beyond English, fluency in other languages, especially other official UN languages, is highly desirable

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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