Short Term Consultant to the Secretariat of the Sustainable Finance Initiative

Guest Author


Website IFC - International Finance Corporation

About the job

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is collaborating with the World Bank to scale climate finance in four countries — Egypt, Mexico, the Philippines, and South Africa — through support to financial sector regulators, industry associations, stock exchanges, and financial institutions. Launched in 2021, the initial phase of the program will run until 2027 and is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, or BMU.


The program aims to increase financing for climate mitigation and adaptation projects and help align financial-sector strategies with the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. To this end, IFC has partnered with the Banking Association South Africa (BASA) to strengthen climate risk assessment, mitigation and adaptation practices of financial institutions in South Africa and promote investment in green and climate-friendly assets, sectors, and businesses. The collaboration aims to help South Africa achieve its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement and the country’s National Development Plan. IFC will also support BASA’s ongoing role as Secretariat of the Sustainable Finance Initiative,, a multistakeholder platform for engagement between industry, government, and regulators.


The Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI), formerly the Climate Risk Forum, was established in June 2020 to support implementation of National Treasury’s draft Technical Paper on Financing a Sustainable Economy, published for consultation in May 2020 and finalized in October 2021. The Technical Paper was informed by a Working Group of financial sector regulatory agencies and industry associations established by National Treasury in 2017. This Working Group became the Steering Committee of the Climate Risk Forum, with a focus on implementing the recommendations of the Technical Paper, namely to

  • Develop a Green Finance Taxonomy and governance framework
  • Co-develop technical guidance, standards and norms for all financial institutions including: E&S risk management, the use of science based methodologies /target setting, etc. and disclosures as per the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
  • Develop a benchmark climate risk scenario for use in stress tests by the sector
  • Build sector capacity and competency for good climate risk governance, management and disclosure across the sector and the implementing arms of government.


As of August 2023, the various work programmes under the Climate Risk Forum have completed their initial phases of work. In the 2023 Budget Speech the Ministry of Finance reported that National Treasury is working to improve the resilience of the financial system through the Climate Risk Forum and the Intergovernmental Sustainable Finance Working Group, composed of private-sector and government representatives respectively, and that the Climate Risk Forum will be reconstituted as the Sustainable Finance Initiative to reflect its coverage of broader environmental, transition and social risks. Key focus areas will include climate-related disclosures, scenario development and analysis, data requirements, market development and further work on the country’s green finance taxonomy – a classification governing which assets, projects and sectors may be defined as “green”.


IFC and BASA therefore seek to hire a consultant to support the SFI in its next phase of work. IFC and BASA will also host a two-day event in Q1 2024 on sustainable finance to facilitate national dialogue on the latest developments, challenges, and opportunities for the financial sector in climate and transition finance, climate disclosure, climate risk assessment, and carbon markets. The event will explore emerging themes and opportunities in sustainable finance more broadly. The Consultant will provide project management and content support for the event.


Scope of Work

The Consultant will provide project management, research, stakeholder engagement, facilitation, and communications support to the Sustainable Finance Initiative. The role entails both project management (60%) and technical work (40%).


Tasks will include

Management of Steering Committee

  • Planning and helping to facilitate meetings of the Steering Committee (SteerCo), Working Groups and ad hoc meetings of the SFI, including regular chairing of meetings when needed, or supporting designated chairs, in order to ensure successful outcomes.
  • Drafting a strategy and workplan for the SFI as well as slides for presenting this to SFI members and stakeholders.
  • Preparing and distributing agendas and minutes for all meetings.
  • Maintaining records of all meetings, decisions, documents, communications, and project planning related to SFI activities.
  • Tracking progress of work of the SteerCo and providing updates to the SteerCo as well as to Project team, including IFC BASA and NT.


Management of Working Groups

  • Drafting and updating Terms of Reference (TORs) for SFI Working Groups and supporting the working group co-chairs to implement the TORs to ensure successful outcomes.
  • Assisting in the recruitment and management of consultants hired to undertake specific work for the working groups.
  • Undertaking detailed review and quality control for working group document outputs before these are shared publicly.
  • Tracking progress of work of the WGs and providing updates to SteerCo as well as to the Project team, including IFC BASA and NT.


Content Support

  • Undertaking research on key sustainable finance topics as requested by the SFI Steering Committee and Working Groups.


Stakeholder Management

  • Developing a stakeholder plan and contact list for ongoing outreach to key stakeholders on SFI activities and consultations.
  • Supporting coordination between the SFI and the Intergovernmental Sustainable Finance Working Group, working closely with National Treasury, the Prudential Authority, and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.
  • Representing the SFI in national and international dialogue and events, both virtually and in-person as needed.


Events Management

  • Providing logistical, planning, and communications support for the IFC-BASA Sustainable Finance Forum event in Q1 2024.
  • Planning and hosting webinars and workshops.


Communication Support

  • Providing content and guidance for the update of the SFI website:
  • Facilitate media liaisons, drafting of press releases and other communications.


Budget Oversight

  • Compiling budget information related to activities of the SFI Working Groups with a particular focus on funding required to complete proposed programs of work.


Selection Criteria

  • MBA or a master’s degree in finance, economics, law, sustainability, international development, or related area.
  • At least 5 years or more of relevant experience in the financial or sustainable development sectors, with experience working on sustainable finance topics.
  • An experienced and effective project manager.
  • Specialized knowledge of at least one sector of finance in South Africa, such as banking, asset management, insurance, or capital markets.
  • Skilled in stakeholder engagement and facilitation.
  • Excellent English written and verbal communication skills, and preferably at least one other South African language. Proficiency in a black South African language will be particularly beneficial.
  • A proven ability to work with virtual teams and to facilitate group collaboration to produce shared deliverables.


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