Careers in Sustainable Finance
Career opportunities in sustainable and green finance emerge across various aspects of the financial sector, as well as in the economy at large. With increasingly environmental conscious consumers and growing demand for green oriented financial products and services, talent development combining sustainability and business is crucial to fill the gap between traditional finance and sustainability in the financial sector. Here are some exciting paths in the rapidly expanding career space of sustainable and green finance.
Corporate Sustainability: There is wide scope available in this path with different positions available in a business organisation to oversee communication of responsibility strategy, evaluation of ESG risks and opportunities accumulating into an annual sustainability report, monitoring of environmental footprints, and intersections with other business units on human capital initiatives, community engagements, and in-house foundation’s sustainable investment agendas.
Sustainability Consulting and Communications: The emergence of ESG advisory firms is an important entrenchment in the green economy to support companies that lack time, resources or expertise to pursue sustainability changes in its financial practices, such as helping them to manage rapidly changing regulations, oversight and external communications. ESG services typically found in management consulting, accounting, legal and public relations industries are expected to grow exponentially.
Sustainability Data Providers: Big data is extremely important in evaluating and regulating sustainability practices. Professionals with strengths in computer science, statistics and data analytics now have a more quantitative route to join the sustainability cause. Apart from third-party data providers that furnish ESG research, ratings and data on security issuers and companies, utilisation of AI and machine learning has emerged to aggregate corporate disclosures and sophistically assess trending sentiment about a business sustainability using real time algorithms.
Sustainability Standards Setters and Policy Makers: These are the nonprofits and regulatory organisations that lay the framework for future policy and transparency in the sustainability sector. This includes the efforts to standardise sustainability disclosure and reporting to help stakeholders compare relevant and financially material environmental and social issues facing sectors, industries, and corporates.
Responsible Investing: The growth of responsible investing comes on the heels of redefining long-term wealth creation to satisfy the evolving demands of individual and institutional investors in using environmental and social sustainability measurements for due diligence, risk analysis, and identifying investment opportunities. This opens up roles like sustainability analysts embarking on sustainability research, and an engagement specialist on a stewardship team to meet directly with corporations.
What’s in for you?
Financial intermediaries – including banks, insurance companies, investment companies, venture capitalists, and private equity firms – are competing for green talents that can contribute to their sustainability initiatives. The desired skillsets include financial due diligence, reporting and disclosures; quantitative research; sustainable investment; client development; and financial service solutions for sustainability businesses.
Beyond the finance sector, potential opportunities are opening up in various industry sectors for green talent who can contribute to companies in their overarching supply chain strategy and framework policies that are not only based on key financial priorities but also aligned with climate and sustainability goals, such as carbon net-zero goals. The circular economy is a chief example, where career potentials abound for green finance talent to contribute towards sustainable packaging, print and paper, and circular consumption products like apparel, textiles and furniture.
Philanthropic foundations and nonprofit organizations are also increasingly growing sustainability arms that focus on responsible investment management, and need green finance experts to support and drive environmental and social initiatives and sustainable causes.
Prospects in Asia
Demand for sustainable and green finance jobs is heating up in Asia.
Inequalities and health issues have been brought to the fore by the coronavirus pandemic, and hence green finance experience and knowledge are highly sought after. Multinational financial institutions are strengthening their sustainable finance teams across key Asian markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, India, and Indonesia. Despite recent hiring by Asian financial institutions, demand remains intense as the region still has an acute need for sustainability specialists. Moreover, financial institutions are not the only ones seeking green talents, but also rating companies, consulting firms and manufacturers.