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Finance Flows' Sustainable Banking Academy FAQs

What is the Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy?

The Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy is a suite of e-learning courses co-developed by five organizations - ADFIAP, GRI, ESCAP, UNEPFI and WWF – based on a series of sustainable finance webinars presented between October 2020 and January 2021. The courses that comprise the Finance Flows Academy are hosted by the broader Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI) Academy.

 

Each of the Academy’s five self-paced, digital courses is designed to highlight one or two of the core principles of the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB), by drawing on the content of the webinar series. Each course takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete, after which learners can take a short exam to receive a certificate of completion.

Who are the partners involved?

The Association of Development Finance Institutions in Asia and Pacific (ADFIAP) is the focal point of all development banks and other financial institutions engaged in the financing of development in the Asia-Pacific region. Its mission is to advance sustainable development through its members. 

 

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the independent, international organization that helps businesses and other organizations take responsibility for their impact, by providing them with the global common language to communicate those impacts. It provides the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting - the GRI Standards.

 

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the most inclusive intergovernmental platform in the Asia-Pacific region.  The Commission promotes cooperation among its 53 member States and 9 associate members in pursuit of solutions to sustainable development challenges. ESCAP is one of the five regional commissions of hte United Nations.

 

The United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a global partnership established between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the financial sector. UNEPFI aims to bring about systemic change in finance to support a sustainable world, and is highlighted in its motto, changing finance, financing change.

 

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is a global conservation organization that aims to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.  WWF recognizes the role of finance in reducing impacts and dependencies of the economy on nature and biodiversity, and in driving sustainability to clients and supply chains.

 

Why is the Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy being launched?

The Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy’s launch comes amidst growing momentum around sustainable finance in the Asia-Pacific region. Increasingly, central banks and supervisors are recognizing publicly that climate change and nature loss are a source of financial risk and a threat to financial stability. They are starting to issue a number of regulatory instruments and guidelines and send a strong signal to financial institutions to transition to more sustainable banking practices.

 

​Banks in the region are finding themselves in new unfamiliar territory in the wake of these new regulations, and will stand to benefit with access to knowledge products and training services on sustainable finance. ADFIAP, GRI, ESCAP, UNEPFI and WWF organized a series of webinar events from which video content and case studies were drawn to inform the development of these courses. The courses that comprise the Finance Flows’ Academy sit within the broader Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI) Academy.

The courses are described as “based on the latest sustainability science”. What does this mean?

All Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy courses are developed with input from sustainability and sustainable finance experts from ADFIAP, GRI, ESCAP, UNEPFI and WWF, many of whom are involved in leading research in their respective fields. In developing the courses they draw on this research - from groundbreaking climate science, to research on the state of biodiversity loss. The courses also highlight new tools being developed to help financiers understand issues like the impact of natural capital depletion on businesses, and dig into the science behind the sustainability reporting metrics that some of the leading corporate sustainability standards call for. More information can be found here: Finance | WWF (panda.org)

Who can take / access the courses?

The courses are open to anyone, but are geared towards Asia-based finance sector professionals, in particular commercial bankers. They are available for enrollment via two avenues:

  1. directly via the Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy learning management system (LMS), or

  2. For upload directly onto banks’ own LMS systems, such that banks can disseminate the courses alongside other internal professional development/capacity building efforts.

 

If you are interested in learning more about how your bank can work with the Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy to support your training needs, please contact jeijansantos@wwf.org.ph.

 

Does it cost money to enroll?

Thanks to generous funding support provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through their Australian Aid and International Climate Initiative (IKI) grant programs, respectively, the cost to enroll in these courses is substantially lower than market rate.

 

Members of the general public can purchase the courses for 2500 PH pesos (USD $50) each.

 

Select financial institutions will be provided with a unique access code, which will enable them to purchase the courses for just 250 PH pesos (USD $5) each.

 

To inquire further about pricing, please contact jeijansantos@wwf.org.ph.

 

​Is the Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy available for those outside of the Philippines?

 

Yes! The content is designed with an Asia-wide audience in mind.

Philippines-based bankers who wish to apply what they have learned and start developing their respective Sustainable Finance Fraemworks in compliance with BSP Sustainable Finance Circular 1085 may participate in guided "write shops" that are being organized with their respective bank associations. More details on these write shops are available here

 

What courses are currently available?

There are currently five courses available on the Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy. These include:

1.   Aligning financial flows with sustainable development goals

 

Objective: This course aims to provide Asia-based bankers with an introduction to sustainable finance.

  • We explore the wide spectrum of approaches to sustainable finance,

  • explore relevant global & regional sustainable finance policies and trends,

  • review major sustainability disclosure and reporting frameworks and standards as well as emerging sustainability taxonomies,

  • and finally discuss the growing array of sustainability-related financial products coming onto the market.

 

2.   Incorporating sustainability into banks' governance and culture

 

Objective: This course aims to familiarize Asia-based bankers with best practice approaches to incorporating sustainability into banks' governance structures and organisational culture.

  • We first discuss the importance of aligning banks' sustainability strategies with their overall business strategies and ensuring that this is overseen by the board and senior management leaders.

  • We then explore the different processes and policies that can be enacted to support best practice sustainable governance, and the specific roles that different teams and individuals can and should play.

  • Finally, we highlight how banks can build a more general organisational culture of sustainability, and take a look at examples of how banks are currently doing this in practice.

 

3.   Measuring and managing E&S impacts and risks

 

Objective: This course builds on the topics covered in the first two courses in this series, and aims to familiarise Asia-based bankers with best practice approaches to understanding and assessing a bank’s environmental and social (E&S) impacts (the way a bank’s activities have an impact on the environment and society), as well as its exposure to E&S risks (the way environmental and social issues have an impact on a bank).

  • We first discuss the importance of aligning banks' sustainability strategies with national and international priorities and targets (e.g. the achievement of the sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement).

  • We then explore the variety of tools that currently exist to support banks to assess the impact of their loan portfolios on the achievement of these goals.

  • In the latter half of the course, we look at how banks can assess and manage their exposure to E&S risks, with a particular focus on climate risks and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations for banks.

 

4.   Engaging customers, clients and stakeholders to develop sustainable financial products

 

Objective: This course builds on the topics covered in the first three courses in this series, and aims to familiarise Asia-based bankers with best practice approaches to engaging clients, customers and other stakeholders in developing sustainable financial products that support economic, social and environmental prosperity now and in the future.

  • We first discuss the importance of engaging a wide range of stakeholders in the product development process, and then explore the range of different sustainable finance products on the market today.

  • We next discuss how blended finance can be an important vehicle for catalysing private sector investment in sustainable development efforts.

  • We conclude with a discussion of some of the specific tools and guidance frameworks that can help financiers and their clients develop products that will most significantly contribute to the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.

 

5.   Sustainability reporting: A critical tool for enhancing corporate transparency and accountability

 

Objective: This course builds on the topics covered in the first four courses in this series, and aims to help Asia-based bankers understand why and how to both interpret and prepare corporate sustainability reports that contain targeted and sector-relevant disclosures of key sustainability metrics, and that are compliant with regulatory requirements and aligned with international standards and best practice.

  • First we make the case for why sustainability reporting is a useful tool for promoting corporate transparency and accountability.

  • Next, we assess the current sustainability reporting landscape for ASEAN Banks.

  • Following that, we provide an overview of some of the major sustainability reporting frameworks and standards in use by banks today.

  • We conclude the course with a series of case studies and lessons learned from peer banks, and leave learners with a list of tools and resources to support them on their sustainability reporting journeys.

 

Will more courses be developed?

More courses are available, and being continuously developed and rolled out by the Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI) Academy, a project being led by WWF-Singapore. You can find more information about those courses here.

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After I’ve completed a Finance Flows’ Sustainable Banking Academy course, will I still have access to the content in the event that I want to refresh my knowledge?

Yes. Once you have enrolled in one of the courses you can access the content and associated resources at any time, even after you have completed the course. For your convenience we have also included a downloadable (PDF) list of all resources (reports, websites, supplemental reading) referenced in each course, as well as written transcripts of the webinars upon which the courses are based (PDF), both available upon course completion.

Where can I provide feedback on a course I’ve taken? And where can I share ideas for future courses I would like to see developed?

 

We greatly welcome your feedback on existing and future courses. At the end of each course we have a short course evaluation (<5 mins. to complete) We encourage you to complete this evaluation and provide honest feedback about what was useful, and what could be improved.

 

Are the courses accredited for continuing professional development (CPD) points?

 

Upon completion of each course, you will automatically receive an official (digital) course certificate. Learners are welcome to submit evidence of course completion to relevant professional development certifying bodies in each jurisdiction.