DIFC Academy joins forces with the Chartered Banker Institute to upskill finance industry professionals

DIFC Academy, the education centre of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, is strengthening the professional development of financial industry specialists by collaborating with UK-based Chartered Banker Institute (the ‘Institute’), the oldest banking institute in the world with more than 37,000 members.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed by the two entities, DIFC Academy will partner with the Institute in the joint marketing, promotion, and delivery of two certifications in ‘Green and Sustainable Finance’ and ‘Climate Risk’. The MoU was signed by Simon Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Chartered Banker Institute, and Christian Kunz, Chief Strategy, Innovation & Ventures Officer at DIFC Authority.

DIFC Academy and the Institute recognise the key role of the finance sector in meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Developing the green and sustainable finance knowledge and skills of finance professionals will help build the capacity of financial institutions, and the finance sector overall, to meet these objectives.

The ‘Green and Sustainable Finance’ certification supports finance professionals in identifying, disclosing, and reporting climate-related financial risks, and other environmental and sustainability risks. The course provides learners with a comprehensive overview and understanding of the evolving green and sustainable finance sector by covering global, international and national policy, regulatory and industry responses to support flows of finance for sustainable growth. It also gives an outline of green and sustainable FinTech, while discussing ethical dimensions of green finance and the role of the green finance professional.

The ‘Climate Risk’ certification develops the learner’s knowledge, understanding and skills relating to climate change, climate risk, and sustainable finance, enabling them to support customers, clients, colleagues, and communities with the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon world.

As the UAE prepares to host COP28, the DIFC Academy’s collaborative initiatives with the Institute are crucial in cultivating the human capital essential for advancing the COP28 agenda. The certifications in ‘Green and Sustainable Finance’ and ‘Climate Risk’ are pivotal, not only in education, but in driving the UAE’s commitment to global climate dialogue and sustainable action.

Simon Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Banker Institute, said: “For banking and finance to play a leading role in the transition to net zero then, as Mark Carney – UN Special Envoy for Climate Finance – told COP 26, it is essential that every professional financial decision takes climate change into account. This requires every finance professional to develop at least a basic knowledge of sustainability, relevant to role, and be able to apply this in the context of their daily activities.  We don’t need all bankers to become sustainability specialists, but we need to ensure the principles and practice of sustainable finance are mainstreamed to create genuine, shared prosperity for current and future generations.

With 2023 being the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and Dubai hosting COP28 in less than 30 days’ time, rapidly developing the capacity and capabilities of the UAE’s banking and finance sector to support global, national and institutional commitments is key to ensuring the growth of sustainable finance in the region. I am delighted, therefore, to be working with our colleagues at the DIFC Academy to provide two global, benchmark sustainable finance qualifications: the Certificate in Green & Sustainable Finance and Certificate in Climate Risk.  Together, we can help ensure that in the UAE and surrounding region, every professional financial decision takes climate change into account.”

By collaborating with the Institute, the DIFC Academy actively promotes innovation through education.

Christian Kunz, Chief Strategy, Innovation & Ventures Officer, DIFC Authority, added: “DIFC’s collaboration with the Chartered Banker Institute reaffirms our commitment to excellence in sustainable financial education and support for upskilling of talent in our financial community. Together, we are dedicated to empowering the financial services community with the knowledge and principles of sustainable finance to create a truly global, financial hub in the region, aligning with DIFC’s Strategy 2030.

“DIFC and our clients are leading the approach on how the finance industry can play a significant role in tackling the climate crisis. We are building on the momentum to COP28 with several initiatives that drive innovation across the financial services industry, significantly contributing to the transition to net zero economy.”

DIFC recently hosted the Future Sustainability Forum, marking a crucial step in the Centre’s journey to drive tangible progress on climate action in alignment with the COP28 agenda and achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.