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: 21 March 2023 - 27 March 2023
Job Opening Number: 23-United Nations Environment Programme-205033-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.

Result of Service

• Finalize a thought leadership publication after submission to the UNEP Publishing Board addressing all necessary requests
• Prepare and deliver an event for launching the publication with the GFFN
• Develop a stand-alone longer version of the executive summary to be published alongside the publication
• Develop a blog post about the publication to be available at the nature team website
• Prepare inputs for bringing the agrifood sector into the nature team´s strategy to be discussed during the nature team retreat and afterwards
• Support the strategic planning of the nature team´s workplan
• Participate in the secretariat meetings of the Good Food Finance Network providing updates on the current work and plans
• Participate in the B4ICA meetings to discuss potential next steps to integrate the work on agrifood for UNEP FI member banks
• Support the strategic planning of interfaces with the climate and nature team under the agrifood sector lens

Work Location

Working remotely

Expected duration

2 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 450 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).

In this fast-paced context, WBCSD and UNEP started a collaboration and joined forces with EAT, FAIRR and Food Systems for the Future to stimulate supportive commitments and action from the public and private financial sector to drive a transformation in finance to lead the transition towards sustainable food systems. The Good Food Finance Network (GFFN), launched on 20.09.2021, includes a first phase¿running until 2023, followed by a review to determine the need and aims of a second phase until 2030.¿One key layer of engagement by this network is through a High Ambition Group—institutions showing clear leadership, committing to the Good Food Finance Mission, to C-level participation, setting targets, and working to mobilize through one or more of the Actionable Areas of Innovation. The High Ambition Group (HAG) aims at leading change towards more sustainable food systems through setting and publicly committing to specific and time-bound targets, putting a roadmap for implementation into place, and pioneering sustainable finance solutions. The HAG is composed of a diverse group of financial institution actors, from public sector & environmental funds to the banking industry, asset managers, agribusinesses and fin-techs.

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.

The Leadership Coordinator will coordinate outreach and engagement activities with financial institutions and other stakeholders in support of the GFFN in close collaboration with the UNEP FI’s Nature and Climate leads, the UNEP GF4SL project manager and GFFN partners.

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.


1. Thought leadership publication with all respective clearances is available
2. Develop a stand-alone longer version of the executive summary to be published alongside the publication
3. Prepare and deliver an event (webinar) for launching the publication with the GFFN
4. Develop a blog post about the publication to be available at the nature team website

Specific tasks and responsibilities:
1st deliverable – April 2023 – Final UNEP publication addressing all previous requests from UNEP Publishing Board.
2nd deliverable – May 2023 – Additional stand-alone longer version of the executive summary launched with the publication, a blog post and a delivered webinar

The consultant/individual contractor will report to the Head UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). The Programme Officer, Nature is the Direct Supervisor with the Programme Officer, Climate for UNEP FI, working closely with colleagues in the Climate Finance Unit who overall co-manage the FS4FN Secretariat with WBCSD.

Qualifications/special skills

Qualifications: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in finance, agricultural economics, international relations, business or a related discipline. A First-level university degree could be taken in lieu of advanced degree provided the selected candidate has 7 years of relevant experience.

Professional Experience: A minimum of 5 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.

Special skills/knowledge: 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.


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


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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