Director, Asia Sustainable Finance | WWF
© WWF-Singapore

Position title: Director, Asia Sustainable Finance

Reports to: CEO WWF Singapore

 

I. Mission of the Asia Sustainable Finance team:

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is one of the world’s largest and most experienced conservation organizations with a global network of 6000 experts working across the areas most critical to global sustainable development, including food systems, climate and energy, and freshwater, forests and oceans, active in more than 100 countries. Our approach is deeply rooted in science and our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which people and nature thrive.

WWF views the Finance Sector as a global driver that we must engage successfully to deliver on our long-term conservation mission.

Positioned at the cutting-edge of sustainable finance internationally, WWF’s Finance Practice of 80 experts - including 30 in Asia - is dedicated to supporting and advocating the finance sector to transition to a sustainable and resilient economy by working with key finance sector players including banks, investors, regulators, and stock exchanges, across six focus areas:

 

  1. Regulations and Guidelines: We provide recommendations and facilitate dialogue between regulatory authorities and financial institutions (FIs) to issue harmonized regulations and guidelines that raise the bar for sustainable finance at the national and regional level.

  1. Standards: We help FIs understand what makes certain standards and certification schemes credible to help them ensure that their due diligence and verification processes assure robust sustainability practices.

  1. Capacity Building: We empower FIs through capacity building on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues through industry-wide workshops and bilateral training sessions. Our trainings cover a range of sectors and thematic focus areas and help FIs to better assess and price risk, value companies, and develop new products.

  1. Research & Tools: We conduct research, develop best practice guides, and benchmark FIs’ progress on ESG integration to ensure timely progress towards a resilient and sustainable financial system. We also help FIs to understand and implement cutting-edge tools so they can better understand, measure, and manage evolving ESG risks and opportunities.

  1. Engagement: We help investors exert their influence and facilitate large scale, meaningful change by providing research and analysis that supports their engagement with portfolio companies over key ESG issues.

  1. Green Financial Solutions: We work with FIs to support the development of green and sustainable financial solutions based on science-based criteria that create measurable environmental and social impacts alongside competitive financial returns. Such solutions include building a pipeline of bankable projects for nature.


 

In Asia, we work across seven (7) ASEAN countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – as well as in Japan and South Korea. We focus on sustainability issues related to soft commodities (e.g. agriculture, forestry, and seafood) and infrastructure (incl. energy), in addition to cross-cutting issues such as climate, water and biodiversity.

This is an external-facing position that will lead, develop and support action working with financial sector stakeholders in Asia to help drive sustainable finance best practice in a variety of ways. The position requires the selected individual to lead a team of sustainable finance specialists spread across the Asia region and also work closely with the commodities, food, markets and climate specialists based in other WWF Offices. This position will work closely with WWF Singapore Conservation Director to design and implement sustainable finance interventions that drive impact in WWF’s regional conservation programmes. The position also includes oversight of fundraising strategy, in particular the development of strategic donor relationships.

The work in this area will be broad and diverse, including the oversight of strategy development across WWF’s regional offices, collaboration with WWF Singapore conservation programmes, development of innovative sustainable finance interventions, policy guidance with partner FIs, and the development of new financial products that support more sustainable businesses and supply chains. It is envisaged that this post will facilitate bilateral and multilateral partnerships and alliances with financial institutions/platforms and other relevant stakeholders in Asia, lead and guide key research activities, and collaborate with, and assist other WWF offices as they begin to work with FIs.

This is a challenging position that requires thought leadership, flexibility and an entrepreneurial mindset. It is a strategic and highly visible role which will help shape WWF’s ambition and impact in the financial sector in Asia.

 

II. Objectives:

To lead and accelerate WWF action towards the finance sector in Asia and facilitate regional offices to develop strategies, green financial solutions, and engagements and partnerships with financial institutions that are regionally aligned and contribute towards the goals of WWF’s Finance Practice and WWF’s global and regional conservation goals. 

 

III. Major Duties and Responsibilities:

International Strategy and Tactics: To provide leadership and support for WWF staff and programmes in Asia as they develop and implement action to engage private sector finance institutions on the WWF agenda. To engage, alongside WWF Country Offices, with regulators, stock exchanges, banks and other financial institutions, and investors, and provide international perspectives and insights. To ensure the Sustainable Finance team’s work in WWF Singapore and in the Network offices in the region are fully aligned with WWF Finance Practice Strategy and that efforts are made to ensure scale, efficiency, impact and consistency. To represent WWF Singapore office to the Finance Practice and vice-versa as the Finance Practice focal point. To work closely with the WWF Singapore Conservation Director to build sustainable finance solutions for conservation programmes, as appropriate.

Sector Leadership: To represent the WWF Finance Practice and (if requested other Practices) as the sustainable finance leader in the region in close collaboration with other global staff. It is recognized that no single individual will have all the skills and experience across sustainable business practices and the post will require close working relations with Food, Forest, Markets, Climate, Water practice leads, and the global commodity leads (including palm oil and rubber), and WWF Singapore Conservation Director. The aim here is to leverage skills within WWF’s network and to develop engagement materials and approaches using network expertise in a manner that encourages adoption of more sustainable lending and investment practices. This will require coordination and advisory support to both WWF staff and our partners, as well as execution support to implement on the ground programmes. 

Strategic Partnerships and Alliances: Develop and expand cooperation with national and regional financial institutions and platforms, national authorities, academic institutions, GAAs (government & aid agencies), NGOs, international organizations, business and other stakeholders in the region so as to promote and leverage WWF’s sustainable finance interests. To support, mentor and guide WWF staff as they develop strategic partnerships in the region with key institutions and platforms, including stock exchanges, regulators, banks and investors and ensure consistency and ambitions are reflected properly. Some of these partnerships will be focused on transformative ambitions to address sustainability drivers in our partner operations while others will be collaborative partnerships to transform the wider finance industry.

Fundraising: Develop and implement a fundraising strategy and strategic donor relationships to secure long term funding for the post and wider team. Develop and support Country Offices in Asia with sustainable finance focused staff, working in collaboration with the wider Finance practice, other practices where relevant and with WWF International.

Mentoring and Capacity Building: To provide mentoring, guidance and capacity building for WWF staff (including senior management in key offices) on sustainable finance. To work with regulators and financial industry associations to deliver industry wide training and to lead the development of training materials that support the calls to action in line with WWF global goals.

Thought leadership: Ideate, lead, and (co)author (and on selective projects, manage third-party consultants) cutting-edge reports on finance, including the development of business case studies for our finance sector partners and wider finance sector institutions.

External spokesperson: Where appropriate, to represent WWF in external events e.g. speaker and panelist at meetings and conferences and be a media spokesperson for WWF finance work in relation to issues in the region, and subject to WWF protocols and media procedures. Working with the team, articulate considered WWF positions on emerging issues and regulation.

Knowledge sharing: Coordinate with other WWF finance sector staff and provide active input to the finance and other virtual communities of practice. Share information and lessons learnt, and build the consistency and quality of information that WWF is able to deploy.

 

IV. Profile:

Required Qualifications:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in either finance, economics or the environment with preferably an MBA or Master’s degree that supports the role of this post;

  • At least fifteen years relevant professional experience in finance and/or sustainability and a proven track record of engaging successfully with financial institutions on these matters;

  • Demonstrated expertise and knowledge about the intersection between banking, finance, and investment, and environment and sustainable development issues;

  • An ability to analyze sustainability issues and to effectively communicate these to financial institution partners;

  • Experience in areas such as climate/natural capital risk assessment, sustainable supply chain management, soft commodities and green financing is an asset.

Required Skills and Competencies

  • Strong leadership, interpersonal and team building skills

  • A dynamic, creative and outgoing personality with a commitment to transform the financial sector and nature conservation

  • A proven record of self-motivation, strategic planning, result delivery as well as project and budget management

  • Ability to work in a networked environment (such as the WWF Network), with a proven capacity to define and defend priorities

  • Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English with other Asian languages an asset

  • Effective computer skills in spreadsheets, word processing, on the web and social media

  • Adheres to WWF’s values, which are: Knowledgeable, Optimistic, Determined and Engaging

 

V. Working Relationships:

  • Internal - The successful candidate will work with WWF International Finance Practice Core and Leadership Team, with WWF Singapore management and staff, and with a wider range of WWF programmes and initiatives in the Asia Pacific region.

  • External - Works with banks, investors, regulators, stock exchanges, national authorities, academic institutions, GAAs (government & aid agency), NGOs, international organizations, business and other stakeholders in the region.

 

Interested candidates should email a CV and a cover letter with the title “Director, Asia Sustainable Finance ” to hr@wwf.sg.