FC4S in Europe – Skills
At 14 members, across 2019 and into 2020 the FC4S Europe node has worked to support European Commission efforts in sustainable finance. With the European Union strongly supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, a rapid shift to sustainable finance will require significant transformations in everyday financial market practices with financial centres primed to play an important role.
These transitions in the market practices ultimately will be contingent on a systemic integration of sustainability factors into business practices – and at a more granular level, the skillsets of individual financial practitioners. Noting this, in the European Green New Deal, the Commission highlights that “Pro-active re-skilling and upskilling are necessary to reap the benefits of the ecological transition” and proposes the creation of an European Social Fund to support Europe’s workforce in this transition. That is where FC4S European focus on skills come into focus.
In 2019, FC4S Europe partnered with Sustainable Nation Ireland to explore Irish financial service sector sustainable finance skills requirements to 2025. Report findings pointed to the fact that third-level institutions and professional bodies will have to introduce ESG modules to business and finance degree and master’s programmes and in professional finance qualifications to address sustainable finance skills gaps within the sector. The report also identified significant demand for skills in ESG data management and measurement. On the back of this work and with a government grant of €800,000, Sustainable Nation Ireland created the Sustainable Finance Skillnet as a national network aimed at developing leadership capacity and staff skills to advance sustainable finance best practice across all asset classes in Ireland.
In 2020 and seeking to replicate this work at a pan-European level, FC4S Europe has now extended the European sustainable finance skills focus towards all 14 European members. Supported by Deloitte and aligned to European Commission sustainable finance efforts, an effort is now underway to map out pan-European sustainable finance skills efforts, identify gaps and make a series of recommendations to the Commission in support of accelerating pan-European efforts in this space.