Meet the Climate Safe Lending Fellows

Today we are thrilled to announce the 23 Fellows who have been selected to join our inaugural Climate Safe Lending Fellowship 2021/22.

The Climate Safe Lending Fellows are all climate intrapreneurs – banking professionals who are embedding transformative climate action within the core strategy, operations and culture of their institutions. The Fellowship will support them to grow their knowledge, networks, skills and motivation to help their banks finance a just transition to a climate safe world.

It is an opportune moment for this fellowship: in the year of COP26, institutions and nations must not only step up the scale of their climate commitments but also vastly accelerate their progress towards them if we are to avoid the worst social and environmental impacts of a climate crisis that is already here. We know there are individuals working within banking institutions who feel the existential imperative of this challenge and are working tirelessly to enable their banks to ​​finance a just and equitable transition to a low-carbon future.

How will the Fellowship work?

The Climate Safe Lending Fellowship is a six-month leadership development programme that will provide intensive support to a select group of committed climate intrapreneurs as they influence faster and greater climate action within their institutions. Through accessing sector insights and emerging new practice in climate finance, Fellows will leave the programme with new tools, skills and multi-stakeholder networks gained in a collaborative, high-trust environment.

Who are the Fellows?

The 2021/22 cohort consists of a rich diversity of individuals, bringing a wide range of experience from varied backgrounds, roles, banks and geographical locations. Located across Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the Fellows predominantly hold mid- to senior-level roles in their banks, from Vice President right up to Chief Risk Officer.

Half of the cohort hold sustainability or environmental, social and governance (ESG) roles in their banks, with the remainder working in business functions such as risk, portfolio management, credit underwriting, origination, innovation and learning and development. We have intentionally curated this mix of roles to foster learning and relationships across the traditional silos of sustainability and ‘business as usual’ within banks.

Most of the institutions represented by the Fellows are mainstream global and domestic banks, including Bank of America, Capital One, HSBC, Barclays and Gulf International Bank. However, some Fellows represent smaller values-based and community banks, including Triodos, Ponce Bank and Beneficial State Bank. The larger banks will learn from the experiments that are possible in more agile organisations, and smaller banks can learn from larger institutions that are implementing climate finance at scale.

We know that the diversity of this cohort will enable rich learning through creative tensions, while offering the support of peers through the shared climate intrapreneur experience.

See the full list of Fellows here.

How were the Fellows chosen?

This committed group of climate intrapreneurs were selected through a rigorous application process, which assessed candidates on their drive and commitment to addressing the climate crisis through their day job, evidence of taking action towards climate goals within their institution, their potential for creating systemic change in banking, and their appetite to learn and grow in an inter-bank peer-learning community.

When asked what it means to be selected for this cohort, Fellow Connie Joe shared:

“I am looking forward to joining my cohort of Climate Safe Lending Fellows as we embark on a learning adventure that I hope will build relationships, knowledge, skills and self-awareness to help support the work that we all do to advance sustainability and climate action. What attracted me to this programme is that unlike other certifications or training, this fellowship will meet the participant where they are in their sustainability career and identify the tangible skills that will help take us to the next level. I am very excited to be challenged and grow in the coming months!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Connie Joe, Bank of the West (USA)

Receive insights from the Fellowship

In agreement with the Fellows, we will be documenting the key themes and insights generated through the programme about how banks can accelerate their transition plans. We will share these insights with the wider ecosystem of stakeholders working for bank climate action. To receive these insights, subscribe to the Climate Safe Lending Network newsletter here.

About the partners

The Climate Safe Lending Fellowship is a collaboration between Finance Innovation Lab and the Climate Safe Lending Network. The Climate Safe Lending Network is a multi-stakeholder collaborative that is working to align bank lending with the Paris Agreement by 2025. Finance Innovation Lab is a UK-based charity working for a financial system that serves people and planet, and a founding member of the Climate Safe Lending Network. The Lab brings over a decade’s experience in incubating purpose-driven financial innovators to leading the design and delivery of the Climate Safe Lending Fellowship.

Climate-concerned banking professionals interested in joining future Fellowship programmes can sign up to the Climate Safe Learning Lab community here for invitations to events and to receive information about the next Fellowship cohort.

If you are working to accelerate bank climate action from the outside, subscribe to the Climate Safe Lending Network newsletter here for updates and opportunities to get involved.