2017 Global Steering Committee Election (13-24 November 2017)

Position 1: Europe – Banking



Position 3: Latin America – Banking

Mauricio Velasquez – Coordinator of Environmental & Social Management Program for Financial Instituions (PGASIF), Corporacion Andina de Fomento, CAF Statement

Position 5: Africa & Middle East – Banking



Position 8: Europe – Investment

Frank Hovorka – Director of Strategy and Member of the Executive Board, QUARTUS Statement

Open Position 9 shared amongst: Africa & Middle East – Insurance; Asia Pacific – Investment; North America – Banking; North America – Investment


Global Steering Committee Composition (Jan 2018- Dec 2020)

New positions filled in Autumn 2017 election are shown in orange cells. Please review Section 4 of the UNEP FI Governance Framework, which describes the role of the GSC and outlines the profile, requirements and nomination/election procedures for GSC members.

Candidate biographies and statements

Antoni Ballabriga
Global Head of Responsible Business, BBVA

Representing UNEP FI member: BBVA Group (Spain)

Connect with Antoni Ballabriga Torreguitart on LinkedIn



To create a positive impact in people’s lives at a large scale has always been a deep aspiration in my life purpose. Leading responsible business in a global financial institution has given me the huge opportunity to make it real.

This aspiration comes with a specific mind-set: (1) I don’t accept reality as it is, I want to transform it; (2) I thing big and see challenges with a holistic approach (3) I like to break silos, to engage with others and create kinetic inside and outside my organization.

This was what motivated me in 2008 when I was the first President of SPAINSIF to promote SRI with more than 32 different members including banks, asset managers, asset owners, trade unions, NGOs & analysts. This also explains why in 2013 I participated in the creation of the Spanish Association for CSR /Sustainability Professionals and its European Network.

I understand that part of my job is to share our learnings and promote collective endeavors to create new realities that improve our world and our companies.

Today we are living a sustainability inflection point. The way we create today will define the way we will live next years. UNEP FI has a crucial role on this. Forming part of its Global Steering Committee would mean a paramount challenge and responsibility for me.


UNEP FI must help financial institutions to create a better future for all. Two priorities. First, UNEP FI should play a more influential role among CEOs and C-suite members. Second, I totally agree with the proposal did by Christiana Figueres in last European Roundtable: as we have PRI or PSI, we should explore the definition of Principles for Responsible Banking. We already advocated for this in 2015 here.




Leading Responsible Business/Corporate Responsibility at BBVA since 2007. Annual budget of 60 EUR Mn and direct team of 150 people in 12 countries. CEO of Momentum since 2012 (impact investment fund for social enterprises). Founder & former President of DIRSE (Spanish Association of CSR/Sustainability Professionals, 2015-2017). Founder & former President of Spainsif (Spanish Social Investment Forum, 2008-2010). Professor at ESADE Business School.


First Mover Fellow at the Aspen Institute. BA Grade & MBA ESADE Business School. CSR & strategy at Harvard Business School.


Financial inclusion. Green and social customer solutions for wholesale/retail banking, developed / emerging countries. Enviromental, social & reputational risk. Financial education. Social entrepreneurship & impact investment


  • Sustainable Finance plan for CIB in 2016. Green & Social Bonds: (5,350 EUR Mn in 2016), Renewable energy (4,444 EUR Mn in 2016), Green loans (700 EUR Mn in 2017). (SDG 6, 7 and 13).
  • Supervision of BBVA Microfinance Foundation. 1.8 million microentrepreneurs in Latin America, 60% women. (SDG 1, 5 and 8).
  • Financial education programs in Spain, Latin America, US. 9 million people and 150.000 SMEs benefited since 2008. (SDG 4 and 12).
  • Social entrepreneurs program “Momentum” and impact investment fund. 178 social enterprises supported in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, US and Turkey. (Several SDGs).
  • Social housing program in Spain since 2011 with 7.000 houses. (SDG 1, 8 and 17).
  • Job creation support program for SMEs in Spain. 10.000 new jobs supported 2012-2015. (SDG 8 and 9).
  • Center for financial education & capabilities launched in 2017 supported by OECD, World Bank, IDB, GFLEC, IIF, EBF, Better Finance… (SDG 4, 12 and 17).
  • Advocacy for Sustainable Finance at Spanish Banking Association, Spanish Green Growth Group and EBF (SDG 17).


European Commission, OECD, IDB, IFC/World Bank, UNEP FI, Spanish Parliament, IOSCO, and more than 30 universities/ business schools


Brahim Benjelloun-Touimi
Group Executive Managing Director of BMCE Bank of Africa and Chairman of Bank of Africa Group

Representing UNEP FI member: Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (Morocco)


Based on universal initiatives, BMCE Bank of Africa integrates the Environmental, Social and Governance principles in all its activities.

For more than 15 years, as the Group Executive Managing Director of BMCE Bank and Chairman of BOA Group, M. Brahim BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI led his teams to reaffirm BMCE Bank of Africa’s commitment in favour of the fight against climate change by directing the strategy of the Group towards a Sustainable & Positive Impact Finance, through universal initiatives:

Adoption of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance of the United Nations Environment Program Financial Initiative – UNEP FI

– Adoption of the 10 principles of the Global Compact of the United Nations
– Support of the Mainstreaming Climate Action Initiative within Financial Institutions

– Contribution to the release of the Positive Impact Manifesto of UNEP FI
– Signing of the Statement by Financial Institutions on Energy Efficiency Finance of the EBRD and UNEP-FI

Adoption of the Equator Principles

Implementation of a Social and Environmental Risk Management System in partnership with IFC – International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group

Signing of the Declaration of Financial Institutions on Environment and Sustainable Development of the UNEP FI

During the official launch of Positive Impact Finance in Paris, on January 30th, 2017, Mr Brahim BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI declared: “The Principles constitute a hopeful milestone. BMCE Bank of Africa is expanding its activities on the continent and it is clear that we have to be an integral part of the solutions to the numerous needs which exist in the countries where we operate. The Principles offer an excellent framework “.


Mr Brahim BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI is the Group Executive Managing Director of BMCE Bank. He is Chairman of the General Management Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Group Executive Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Senior Credit Committee.

As part of BMCE Bank Group’s overseas strategy, Mr Brahim BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI is Chairman of BOA Group, a banking group in which BMCE Bank Group has a stake of just under 73% with operations in 19 countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. He is also a Director of the Group’s European banking subsidiaries.

As for his other functions, he is either Chairman or Director of a number of Group companies in Morocco in the areas of investment banking, specialised financial services – factoring, consumer credit, leasing and loan recovery – and insurance brokerage. Within the framework of strategic partnerships with benchmark shareholders, Mr BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI is a Director of RMA Watanya, an insurance company and FinanceCom, its holding company.

Reflecting the Group’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, Mr BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI is a Director of BMCE Bank Foundation for Education and the Protection of the Environment.

He also sits on the Board of Proparco, the French development finance institution.

Driven by the belief that the financial sector has a fundamental role in the realization of a sustainable, positive and inclusive economy, Mr Brahim BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI plays a crucial role in the development of BMCE Bank of Africa Group’s leadership in Responsible Finance, on a regional scale

Born in 1960, Mr Brahim BENJELLOUN-TOUIMI is a Doctor of Money, Finance and Banking from University Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne. He began his career in financial markets in France and went on to become Head of Research within the Securities division at one of France’s leading investment banks. He joined BMCE Bank in 1990.

Sasja Beslik
Head of Group Sustainable Finance, Group Sustainable Finance, Nordea

Representing UNEP FI member: Nordea AB (Sweden)

Connect with Sasja Beslik on LinkedIn and Twitter


My own strong drive in combination with Nordea’s determination to being a sustainable financial institution will be a powerful combination. Nordea is committed to sustainable business and development by combining financial performance with environmental and social responsibility as well as sound governance practises. I am leading the teams which are driving and assuring we take ESG principles into consideration when evaluating business risks and opportunities in connection to advice, investing and financing.

Nordea is a founding partner to SASB Investor Advisory Group and an active member of a number of organizations working on standard setting and policy change within the area of sustainable financial markets. Examples are the Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and EFAMA Responsible Investment Working Group. In 2017 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark was launched, with Nordea as one of seven founding partners.

I want to take an active role in the development of sustainable financial markets and focus our investment, banking and stewardship on better alignment between finance and ESG factors. Being part of the public policy debate on financial sustainability is an essential element in developing sustainable financial markets and I believe that Nordea, through me, can make an important contribution towards this goal. Through Twitter, with >120000 followers and several interviews and publications in media I have a global reach, spreading the message of sustainable finance.

Given my professional experience and Nordea’s clear focus on sustainable finance I believe I can make a valuable contribution in UNEP FI Global Steering Committee.


I am an experienced executive investment professional, specialized in Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investments, with extensive international experience of advising and working with financial companies and in policy debates on financial aspects and sustainability issues.

During the past fifteen years I have lead and developed Responsible Investments and Sustainable Finance efforts within the financial industry, in roles as Head of Responsible Investment at Nordea Asset Management, CEO of Nordea Funds AB, Global Head of Responsible Investment & Engagement at Banco/ABN AMRO and as a consultant for the World Bank. I also serve on various boards and expert groups, such as Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and UNEP Finance Initiative’s Water Work Group.

Awards and nominations

  • 2017 appointed as specialist in the areas of Insurance, Asset Management and Sustainable Development in World Economic Forum Expert Network.
  • 2017 Sustainability Leader of the Year 2017 for finance by The New Economy
  • 2017 Banking Profile of the Year, Sweden, by Privata Affarer (leading business magazine)
  • 2013 The Order of the Seraphim by H.R.H King Carl Gustaf of Sweden, for extraordinary efforts in the field of finance and sustainability.
  • 2011 Selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum


Selection of films talking about sustainable finance

Denis Childs
Head of Positive Impact Finance and Environmental and Social Advisory, Société Générale

Representing UNEP FI member: Société Générale (France)

Connect with Denis Childs on LinkedIn


A position in the Global Steering Committee represents a unique opportunity to contribute to the strategic roadmap of the UNEP FI in terms of sustainability.

As my background indicated, I have been working in the investment banking sector for nearly 36 years with a focus on development in emerging and less developed countries markets.

During my career, I have been a developer of new businesses including creation of finance companies, securitization structures and funds. The businesses I have created and /or dramatically developed on a worldwide basis (export credit, commodity finance and project finance) now contribute to a significant part to Corporate Investment Banking’s income.

My new challenge since 2008 is to make SG a sustainable bank… with some achievements..: I led the conception and implementation of the environmental & social risk management system for the whole Bank.  I am now focusing in making it a mainstream business in the CIB.

I have developed in- house the Positive Impact Finance, starting 2012 which is at the origin of the Positive Impact movement now in progress under the UNEP FI aegis.

Furthermore, Societe Generale is playing an active role within the different working groups of UNEP FI and more recently joined the TCFD working Groups.

The position offered within the GSC will require innovation in the way sustainability is apprehended, flexibility in the way it is implemented especially taking into account different geographical landscape and willingness to push it forward.

I consider myself to fulfill those criteria and I am willing to dedicate the time and resources necessary to this task.


Denis Childs began his career at the Société Générale Group in 1978. In 1981, he moved to Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) to develop the Export Credit Department as a leader of the industry.

In 1993, he created and headed the bank’s worldwide Commodity (oil and gas, metals, soft commodities) and Trade Finance Business line. Project Finance was later added to his responsibilities (mining, then on oil &gas and power). During this period, he also created a finance company to bring finance to farmers in Mexico and a management company to run a commodity finance debt fund.
At the end of 2008, he started a new challenge both heading the Emerging and Sustainable Development department of the CIB and headed the Group Project to integrate E&S concerns in the decision processes of the Bank (CIB, French and International retail). He now focuses on the development of “Positive Impact Finance” as a means to meet the UN SDGs.

Board member of the UNEP FI Banking Commission, he is acting as member of the Steering Comittee of the Positive Impact initiative which is a cross finance sector initiative (Banks, Asset managers, Insurance)

Denis Childs holds a Masters in Law and an MBA in banking from Paris I and IV Universities.


  • “Positive Impact Finance: a challenge for industries and services, a preeminent role for the financial sector” (in “Responsible Investment Banking”-Springer 2015).
  • Towards and impact based economy (2017)


Elena Flor
Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Intesa Sanpaolo

Representing UNEP FI member: Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy)

Connect with Elena Flor on LinkedIn


Having followed the sustainability issues for so long within my bank, at national level, but also on the international field which is now our natural comparison arena, and having also been stimulated by the many meetings with SRI investors or more generally with investors that integrate ESG analysis within their managed funds, I think I could both contribute to the work of UNEP FI with my experience and also receive important stimula for programmes and initiatives to implement within my company. Having been a signatory of UNEP FI for so long (more or less 15 years) I would be excited to be part of the Steering Committee and experience the issues and discussions from inside. The importance of the environmental/ climate change themes have experienced an enormous growth, especially since the Paris agreement. We are working hard in my organization on this field, as testified by the inclusion of Intesa Sanpaolo in the main sustainability indexes and rankings. While it is important to be at the forefront I also think that only a common and shared effort can be effective and give the expected results, so that bigger companies have the responsibility to open the way for others, maybe smaller. Public and private bodies, profit and non-profit organizations must work together and I think that the UNEP FI , with its commitment and push to direct political decision-makers, can help the legislator to assist this transition and can generate a positive momentum for steps forward.

I would certainly put ali my energy and enthusiasm to fulfill these ideas and common goals.


I began my path in sustainable finance in 2002 when, while working as personal assistant to the CEO of my bank, Sanpaolo IMI, I became secretary of the Ethics Committee of the Bank and then responsible for CSR. As such I set up a sustainability reporting and fostered initiatives in the CSR field, such as policies (starting from the Code of Ethics) and projects, with a direct link to the governance bodies. I was responsible of following the adhesion to the international initiatives, like UNEP FI, UN Global Compact, Equator Principles and national ones, such as the Italian SIF, and of the Bank’s donations. After the merger with Intesa in 2007 I remained in the CSR Department covering various tasks and lately I focused my attention in particular on the relationship with SRI investors and on ESG assessments and indexes and fostered the adoption of the LBG standard. I formulated various communication and training initiatives on CSR issues meant for internal and external stakeholders. When in 2016 I was appointed Head of CSR I focused my attention on planning initiatives at strategic level on the sustainability side, on the evolution of the non financial reporting, on climate change issues and on the SRI investors/ assessments, alongside a strong (mainly internal) communication effort. I am Board member of the Italian SIF (Forum for Sustainable Finance) to support the spread of sustainable investment practices. I keep also working on studies on the evolution of the monetary and financial system, being the Secretary General of the Robert Triffin International, an institute based in Louvain-Ia-Neuve.

Frank Hovorka
Director of Strategy and Member of the Executive Board, QUARTUS

Representing UNEP FI member: QUARTUS (France)

Connect with Frank Hovorka on LinkedIn


As I was personally involved in UNEP FI since 10 years with my previous position. I’ll be particularly glad to continue to act and share with the GSC members, especially through the development of transversal projects with the differents industries. I’ll also be in capacity to dedicate the necessary time to serve and represent UNEP FI properly.

I propose to work particularly in raising awareness about the role of  investors in creating positive impact using ESG indicators and translation tools between different stakeholders. To develop recommendations, defining how to implement ESG investment in practice, including case studies from investors and therefore, contributing to capacity and skills building. and finally, to promote thought leadership and incentivize collaboration between, banks, responsible investors and insurance companies.


Involved in sustainability investment and especially real estate since 20 years. My career is dedicated to sutainability integration into building projects and financial tolls dedicated to real estate. I worked for the “Caisse des depots” group in charge of the real estate sustainable development policy. My role was the integration of ESG criteria in the business of different subsidiaries form REIT as ICADE ( 9 billions € of asset) to social housing as SNI ( 350 000 flats) and also non direct investment through funds.

From 2014  I worked in the strategic steering department under the authority of the deputy  CEO of Caisse des Depots. I act  in different investment boards and as a shareholder representative in the subisdiary Exterimmo which developed financial and technical proposal for energy efficiency retrofit of public real estate. I also represented the group in different stakeholders platform in France and Internationally as EEFIG for example.

Since May 2017, I am the head of Strategy including digital, innovation and ESG of the group QUARTUS dedicated to real estate development. The baseline of this group is to be dedicated to customer satisfaction through building as a service.My role is to develop the impact analysis and solutions of our developments. (energy efficiency, GHG, financial performance indicators….)


Dorothy Maseke
Group Head of Risk and Compliance, ICEA LION Group


Connect with Dorothy Maseke on LinkedIn


Having seen what financial services groups in more developed markets have done with regards to implementing sustainability as a strategic agenda, companies in East Africa still have a long way to go. While the company I work for has embraced sustainability and responsible business practices by signing onto PSI, I recognize that real change cannot be made in isolation. Although it is a good place to start, change can only be derived through a concerted effort by industry players, regulators and other stakeholders.

Being an industry player and having senior leadership roles within several industry associations, I have the best of both worlds. Besides being the founding Chair of the Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI) Risk Management Committee, I also Chair of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM UK) East Africa Regional Group. Through these forums, I am called upon to take part in various advocacy platforms including lobbying for the development of regulations and guidelines that support the insurance industry. Having a keen interest in innovation, I am one of the mentors and judges at the Actuarial Students Society of Kenya (ASSK) Innovation Challenge which aims to help students incubate and roll out innovative solutions for the insurance industry.

Due to these roles, I believe I am a good candidate for pushing the sustainable insurance agenda within this industry. My vision is to demystify sustainable insurance dispelling the notion that it only has to do with philanthropy with no real benefits to institutions.

An opportunity to serve in the Global Steering Committee will give me the network and platform within which I can effectively address this agenda. It will enable me to be seen as an authoritative voice enabling me to further lobby and challenge our regulators and industry players. It will also grant me the visibility necessary to be effective in influencing, mentoring and challenging my colleagues. I seek to be a change maker in this region – leaving this world a better place.


Having started my career at KPMG, I was involved in the development of sustainability frameworks for financial sector clients within the banking sector. Currently the Head of Risk and Compliance at ICEA LION Group, one of the largest financial service firms in Kenya with footprints in East Africa, I have been spearheading a project to see the Group implement Principles of Sustainable Insurance (PSI).  ICEA LION Group is the first local company in East and Central Africa to embrace these principles. By embracing these principles, we aim to ensure that activities within the value chain identify, assess, manage and monitor risks and opportunities associated with social, economic and institutional elements of sustainability. My current role includes assisting the Group identify opportunities by developing financial instruments, services and processes that address this agenda, leading to responsible business practices and shared value. I have been involved in a number of projects including being one of the players from developing countries who provided written input to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Clearinghouse for risk transfer.

I am involved in various thought leadership projects within the industry and I have been playing an advocacy role through workshops and seminars when invited to speak. I am a regular contributor in the local dailies e.g. the Business Daily; a business newspaper in Kenya and other industry magazines e.g. Commercial Risk Africa. An example of an opinion piece I wrote on sustainability within the insurance sector in November 2016 can be found on the link here.

I am a Fellow of the Swedish Institute Management Program (SIMP) on Sustainability and Leadership. I am also a Certified Environmental Auditor and Impact Assessor (National Environmental Management Authority – Kenya certification).  I have a Certificate in Social and Environmental Risk Analysis from the UNEP FI and INCAE Business School.


Brandee McHale
Director, Corporate Citizenship, Citi and President, Citi Foundation

Representing UNEP FI member: Citigroup (USA)

Connect with Brandee McHale on LinkedIn


As UNEP FI celebrates its 25th anniversary and its many achievements to date, we must think ahead to its next 25 years. Significant progress has been made in sustainable finance but there is still a long road ahead to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We need to deepen collaboration among financial institutions as well as across industries.  I will be a strong ally to advancing UNEP FI’s strategy and initiatives, including Positive Impact and TCFD. Both initiatives offer opportunities for learning and engagement across UNEP FI’s three industry groups.

Citi recognizes that we cannot build a more sustainable world on our own. It is critical that we partner with organizations like UNEP FI, peer institutions, clients and other stakeholders that share our vision.  Citi has been a strong proponent of sustainable finance for two decades.  We are a longstanding member of UNEP FI, having joined in 1997.  Citi also has a long history of collaborating to build the sustainable finance field: we co-founded the Equator Principles in 2003 and the Green Bond Principles in 2014, and joined the Natural Capital Finance Alliance in 2015.  I would welcome the opportunity to continue this important work on behalf of Citi, by taking on a greater role in engaging with UNEP FI and its members to address climate risks and promote a more inclusive and sustainable global economy.

Lastly, as an executive at a global bank based in North America, I am uniquely positioned to champion the UN’s vision within North America, while maintaining a global perspective.  I will look to connect the activities within our region to sustainable finance initiatives taking place across regions, to help UNEP FI achieve its goals.


As an experienced corporate social responsibility and sustainability executive at Citi, I lead the bank’s efforts to expand and deepen our commitment to sustainable finance.  To further this commitment, I would welcome the opportunity to strengthen Citi’s engagement with UNEP FI through its Global Steering Committee to collectively advance its important mission of promoting sustainable finance.  Currently, I am Citi’s Director of Corporate Citizenship, with responsibilities for both Citi’s Corporate Sustainability and Environmental and Social Risk Management teams.  In this capacity, I help set Citi’s sustainability strategy, titled “Sustainable Progress,” and guide its global implementation across the company.  Under my leadership, we are further embedding sustainability into our core businesses by expanding our environmental finance activities and developing innovative sustainable financing solutions; establishing enhanced environmental and social risk due diligence for our financing activities; and reducing Citi’s environmental footprint globally.

Citi’s mission as a company is to enable growth and progress and a key component to meeting our mission is engaging in finance that is responsible and sustainable.  Climate change and its impacts – from increasing resource scarcity to pressures on land, water and forests – are some of the greatest challenges that we face as a society today.  I am deeply committed to leveraging Citi’s core business activities to help address these global challenges and promote sustainable growth and progress. I work with my teams and many of Citi’s businesses to ensure that our policies take into account environmental and social issues, including human rights, and that we consider climate change risks and opportunities in our financing activities. Furthermore, we encourage the use of green financial products to help our clients meet their own sustainability goals and commitments and share our expertise on how environmental and social issues intersect with global finance.

Mukiri Muthuri
Head of Credit Analysis, Commercial Bank of Africa

Representing UNEP FI member: Commercial Bank of Africa (Kenya)

Connect with Mukiri Muthuri on LinkedIn


My motive as a credit risk professional, lies in ensuring sustainable growth in the development of financial services in Africa with a special focus on financial inclusion. The sustainability finance agenda fully ties in with this principle by ensuring we review the long term impact of all our lending decisions and access to Credit to all persons of various economic ability. I am also quite passionate about environmental issues and appreciate the opportunity to contribute in making a positive change to decisions touching on climate change, environmental degradation, resource scarcity and social exclusion.
As a special added value, I find the position provides the opportunity to network with other professionals from around the world in exchange of experience under sustainable finance initiatives.
This will be a valued opportunity to champion key initiatives under sustainable finance within the region to harness changes in financial institutions. This may include;

  • Membership drives across the region to increase signatories to the statement of commitment on sustainable development.
  • Engaging other relevant stakeholder’s e.g. regulators and public authorities in promoting the Sustainable finance agenda through implementation of polices and regulations.
  • Sharing of expertise and global best practices by the members with other financial institutions covering the economic, social and environmental sustainability dimensions.
  • Development of capacity building programs and training opportunities targeting especially strategy, credit risk and business development heads to embed the statement of commitment in their individual risk policies. This includes practical application of the principles in local context.
  • Development of technical assistance programs in reviewing green energy solutions.


My involvement with Sustainable financing started while at Standard Chartered Bank where I was involved in the roll out of the environmental and social risk assessment (ESRA) policy as the Head of the Credit initiation, Africa. The Group policy provided guidelines for prohibited and restricted business. I was involved in customizing the ESRA checklist to meet Africa specific needs and also in creation of a guideline providing questions that can be discussed with the customers during client visits and also how to identify concern areas.

In addition sustainability is a Key pillar at Commercial Bank of Africa achieved mainly by driving financial inclusion in supporting projects or segments which experience difficulties in obtaining finance. Specifically, I have been involved in championing the roll out of the Kenya Bankers Sustainable finance initiative (KBA SFI) where all Bank employees were mandated to complete a certification program.

CBA is also a Partner Bank to the AFD SUNREF program in East Africa  which provides for affordable credit lines through partner Banks for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. In collaboration with the technical assistance team, we verify that the technical and financial viability of projects is met prior to proposing financing.

In June, I was a panelist at the Green finance conference organized by Africa Guarantee fund (AGF) where the focus was on growing Africa sustainably with a key focus on SMEs.  My focus was on the green financing solutions that Commercial Banks are offering with a highlight on some of CBA success stories.


Gerald Podobnik
Global Head of Capital Solutions & Sustainable Financing and Co-Head of financial institutions group (FIG) in EMEA region, Deutsche Bank

Representing UNEP FI member: Deutsche Bank AG (Germany)

Connect with Gerald Podobnik on LinkedIn


Climate change caused by human activity is proceeding at an unprecedented rate over the last decades. While awareness of the issue has generally been raised with key stakeholders of the financial industry, progress that ultimately translates into positive changes in the real economy remains limited. Through providing financing to the real economy, banks can be a significant contributor to stimulate such change. The banking sector is substantially driven by regulation and regulators shape almost every aspect of the business of institutions under their surveillance. In such an environment, driving progress and initiating real change can only be achieved through an appropriate regulatory environment. My main goal therefore goes far beyond tapping into my far-reaching network with senior representatives of major financial institutions and agencies in Europe to promote the work of UNEP FI, as I am dedicated to contribute my decade long regulatory expertise to move policy in the right direction while maintaining a healthy dialog with national and supranational regulatory authorities.

Conferences and events are key for market developments. I have significant experience in organizing and shaping key events, bringing together investors, issuers and policy stakeholders (DB Bank Capital Forum with +150 clients participating & DB Insurance Capital Forum with +100 clients). That experience is what I would like to contribute to UNEP FI.

Finally, as I am one of the very few people working truly global in the FIG space, my aim is to contribute to a global playing field of policy/ regulatory regime.


Austrian citizen, born 29.03.1977, Master’s in Business Administration and doctorate degree in law from Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, Austria. Working for Deutsche Bank since 2003, more than a decade of experience in the hybrid capital and regulatory advisory business, with more than 200 successfully executed capital raising transactions. Global head of Capital Solutions since 2012. Promotion in 2016 to Co-Head of FIG DCM EMEA. Well-respected voice in the area with substantial press coverage and industry awards (IFR, Global Capital, Financial News Top 40 under 40).

On the capital solutions side, heading one of the very few global structuring teams in the space, covering clients on all five continents and structured several “firsts” in the FIG capital and corporate hybrid space. To deliver excellent advice on financial regulation, being in consistent dialogue with regulators around the world including the ECB, Federal Reserve, and Bank of England is of utmost importance.

Within the scope of co-heading DB’s FIG EMEA coverage group, responsible for coverage bankers that offer a wide array of products (ranging from debt issuance to risk management) to their clients via one of the leading integrated FIG platforms in the EMEA region. Role helped to further deepen relationships with bank and insurance clients through a more diverse dialog that – together with hybrid capital and regulatory discussions – touches on almost every major strategic consideration that clients are concerned with.

Officially holding sustainable financing mandate since the beginning of 2017 to build and extend the business within Deutsche Bank’s Global Capital Markets division, which is to focuses on issuance & structuring of green and social bonds for a variety of clients, as well as regulatory policy advisory in the area. As part of the FIG coverage role, vast experience gathered in the sustainable finance field from years of consistent client dialog, advisory and successfully executed green issuances. Moreover, advisor to governmental and regulatory bodies and active member of cluster initiatives in Germany, as well as Deutsche Bank candidate for ICMA board (application pending).


Musa Salah
Group Manager, Environmental and Sustainability, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated

Representing UNEP FI member: Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (Togo)

Connect with Musa Salah on LinkedIn


I can contribute to the development and efforts towards standardisation of environmental sustainability practices in the banking industry at the global and regional levels through innovative information sharing and knowledge management.


Musa Salah is the Group Manager and Head of Environmental and Sustainability Unit at the Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Lome-Togo with responsibility covering 36 countries in Africa. Prior to this, he was a Regional Account Manager, United Nations, Agribusiness and Climate Initiatives in the International Organisations Department of Ecobank. Before joining Ecobank in 2008, he worked at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), with field posting in Ethiopia and Nigeria, from 2003-2008.

Musa is a member of International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA) and also served on the Ghana National Climate Change Committee (2010-2012). He has contributed to a number of Policy reports on the Environment and Sustainable Development nexus, including National Councils for Sustainable Development in Africa: A Review of Institutions and their Functioning, UNECA (2005); and Ghana Policy Advisory Series on Climate Change, Africa Adaptation Programme, EPA-Ghana (2011).

He holds MSc degree in Environmental Management, Sustainable Development option, from University of Surrey, UK. He was a Fellow at the UNEP Risoe Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development, Copenhagen, hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011).

He is the Chairman of the Bank of Ghana Sustainable Banking Principle Committee and responsible for the drafting of the committee’s concept paper as well as the concept note on the Ghana Sustainable Banking Award category. He represents Ecobank on the UNEP FI and Equator Principles Financial Association.


Aybala Şimşek
Executive Vice President, Şekerbank

Representing UNEP FI member: Sekerbank (Turkey)

Connect with Aybala Şimşek on LinkedIn


As countries throughout the world become more polarized into two different communities, the importance of global and local common grounds becomes more crucial than ever. I believe that sustainable development goals have a big potential to create this common ground not only between countries but also in every individual country itself.

The world economy has multiplied by four in the last quarter of this century and the portion of developing countries in the World GDP has also increased substantially during this period. As a result of this process, for the first time in history, people from developing countries such as India or China have the same income level as those in European countries or the US. The structure of the World economy has changed.

However, as all of this was happening, income inequality also rose more than ever in almost every single country. Three-and-a-half billion people at the bottom of the global wealth pyramid have only 2.2% of the global wealth, whereas nearly half of the total global wealth is owned by just 33 million people.

This unsustainable trend has eradicated the middle class, which are very important for social and economic balance. As a result, with the 2008 global crisis, this unbalanced structure was revealed and the system exploded. Meanwhile, the financial sector was positioned at the center of this crisis like a scapegoat.

Now, in this low income and low margin world, both the finance sector as well as capitalism in its entirety must find a new way to be sustainable.

At this point, sustainable finance becomes a key factor for the finance industry to ensure people embrace these institutions again. In other words, sustainable development goals are the only solution for the world to ensure a good future for all.

Within this context, I believe that having the ability of seeing this picture from both sides, one from a sort of eastern country and the other, a European country, will play a critical role in sustaining this common ground.  The understanding of developing countries’ dynamics is very important to create a realistic roadmap for the European finance sector in this complex environment.

It truly excites me to think that I could have contributed, even if minutely, to establishing a finance sector that embraces and understands the perspectives of the world and each country in it.


After receiving her undergraduate degree from the Faculty of Communication at Ankara University, Aybala Şimşek went on to pursue an MBA from the Faculty of Business Administration at Bilgi University and is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School General Management Program. She began her career at a television news center and later became both a program editor and presenter. In March of 2007, Şimşek took on the position of Şekerbank T.A.Ş. Corporate Communications Department Head and in 2013; she was promoted to Group Head of Corporate Communications and Brand Management. In 2015, her responsibilities were expanded to overtaking the management of Şekerbank’s Strategy and Coordination, Sustainable Development Banking-Micro Finance Credits, Process Development, Organization and Customer Experience Management, Advertising and Media Planning, Digital Communication and Corporate Communication units as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Communications. Şimşek, who was appointed as Executive Vice President in April 2016, continues to serve in her position as Strategy and Human Resources Executive Vice President.

Mauricio Velasquez
Coordinator of Environmental & Social Management Program for Financial Instituions (PGASIF), Corporacion Andina de Fomento, CAF

Representing UNEP FI member: Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF)(Venezuela)

Connect with Mauricio Velasquez on LinkedIn


I believe that the position of Latin America at the Steering Committee (Banking) is a great platform that will help us to promote the green finance regional agenda. It is important to take advantage of the experiences of the best players in the region and use this knowledge in way it transcends in time on the Financing System of the region.  It will be a remarkable opportunity to take all the actors together and promoting national and regional agreements in Sustainable Financing. Creating conditions that help to impulse the UNEPFI agenda, for it to be better known, and adapted by a greater number of Latin American Financial Institutions. All the above to create resilient and low carbon economies to improve the livelihood of the Latin American citizens.


I was born in 1970, in Ecuador. I am a biologist from the University of Guayaquil (1994). Six years later, I´ve got a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY (State University of New York). In 2008, was a fellow student at Wolverhampton University, studying environmental governance & democracy.

My first job was as Associate Researcher at the Coastal Resources Management Program, founding the national working group of wetlands. In 1994, I went to Galapagos Islands as a fisheries monitor of the National Institute of Fisheries of Ecuador (INP). After several years in private consulting, I decided to start M.Sc. studies at SUNY-ESF.

When I returned to my country, I worked at the Galapagos National Park as a Coordinator of Investigation and Development Projects. I also worked as the Coordinator of the Volunteering Program in the Park and as the Manager of several projects: BID, PNUD-GEF, JICA, among others.

I have participated as member of the main group that elaborated the Management Plan for the Galapagos National Park and as a member of the consultancy group AECI/Araucaria. I have been Subsecretary of the Natural Capital Department at the Environment Ministry; Director of the Environmental Area at the Municipality of Guayaquil, Ex-President of the Biologists School at Guayaquil, Ecology professor at the University Espíritu Santo, Professor of Wildlife Management- University of Guayaquil: Environmental Impact Master. Professor of Protected Areas Management- University of Guayaquil: Bio-aquatic Resources Management-Natural Science Faculty; Professor of Environmental Impact Course at the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil.

Since 2008 I have been the chief executive of the Environmental Department for the Northern Region of Latin America and Coordinator of the Strategic Program of Environmental and Social Management for financial institutions. From 2015 to  the present I am co-chair of the Latin American Task Force UNEPFI, and promoter of the Protocol of Sustainable Finances of the Banking of Ecuador

Léon Wijnands
Global Head of Sustainability, ING

Representing UNEP FI member: ING (Netherlands)

Representing UNEP FI member: Société Générale (France)

Connect with Léon Wijnands on LinkedIn and Twitter


I see sustainability as a resource of opportunities that inspires to innovate and thus create more value for customers, the company and society, as envisaged in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With reference to UNEP FI’s Mission Statement in the latests 5-year strategy, I’m looking forward to share the experience of ING’s ‘sustainability journey’ and to strengthen the collective view and voice of the financial industry as represented within UNEP FI. For me this goes beyond the Banking sector: as FIs we are facing the same sustainability challenges and I’m convinced we would benefit from collaborating in finding joint solutions and speaking with one voice. The UNEP FI platform encompasses the banking, insurance and investment elements of the financial sector which enables us as a collective to take into account different perspectives when addressing cross-cutting issues, such as climate risk or human rights – which is a unique value.

ING Global Sustainability is ultimately responsible for ING’s long-standing and wide-ranging engagement with UNEP FI – coordinating the involvement of several different departments such as Structured Lending, Sustainable Finance, Environmental and Social Risk, who actively support the work of the Banking Industry Committee and the Thematic Advisory Boards (Climate Change, Ecosystem Management, Positive Impact, Social Issues).

Furthermore I would like to mention ING’s active contribution to the recently published second edition of the Guide to Banking and Sustainability, the launch of the Positive Impact Principles, the current review of the Statement of Commitment and the development of the Sustainability Dashboard.


Léon Wijnands is Global Head of Sustainability at ING since 1 November 2013. Over the past years he has succesfully guided further integration of sustainability into the core business of ING with a focus on two themes where ING can have an impact on society; financially empowering people and navigating sustainable transitions for businesses, including targets on sustainable transitions financed: all the business that we do with clients that are environmental trendsetters in their sectors and projects that provide sustainable solutions.

The team is leading on disclosing non-financial information and defining ethical standards. As a result ING has leading positions in independent indices like DJSI, Sustainalytics and CDP. ING is also recognized for it’s frontrunner position in accelerating the circular economy, a topic on which Léon frequently is asked as speaker.
Prior to his current position, Léon led the ING Bank Customer Contact Centers and managed the handling of 8 million phone calls and 1 million e-mails contacts annually. He has more than 25 years of experience in banking, particularly in the field of sales and marketing. Over the years he was responsible for the 21 branches in the “District Amsterdam” and has led many marketing initiatives as well as change programmes.
Léon Wijnands holds a master degree in business economics, business administration and in financial economics. He joined ING in 1990.


Recent examples of Léon speaking on sustainable finance:

Lea Zeemans
Stakeholder & Issue Manager, Sustainable Banking, ABN AMRO Bank NV

Representing UNEP FI member: ABN AMRO BANK N.V. (Netherlands)

Connect with Lea Zeemans on LinkedIn


I decided to apply for a position in the GSC, because I believe in partnership programmes such as UNEP FI. In order to work towards a better world, multi-stakeholder cooperation is of vital importance and I want to contribute to this as much as I can. Besides, I want improve the image of the financial sector. I believe UNEP FI is one of the drivers to regain the trust of our stakeholders – by showing instead of telling.

But why vote for me?

In the GSC I want to focus my efforts on creating more value for a broader range of stakeholders. I feel it is important for UNEP FI to be connected not only to the sustainability teams within member FIs, but also client-facing employees, non-member FIs, clients, civil society and society as a whole.

In my view, UNEP FI can create more impact, in example through initiatives such as national and local multi stakeholder round tables. This will potentially broaden the movement of UNEP FI. Stakeholders can provide their input on UNEP FIs practices, our understanding of societal needs increases and the visibility of UNEP FI will increase as well, just to name a few benefits.

I am looking forward to contribute to reaching this and all other long term goals of UNEP FI by taking up a seat in the GSC.


I am sustainability professional with over 10 years of experience in banking. After completing my finance traineeship, I moved to an analyst position in Funds Transfer Pricing (FTP). In this position I gained profound knowledge of the variety of lending and saving products banks offer and the characteristics of these products, including loans for sustainable financing projects and sustainable saving products. As an FTP-specialist it is required to have a thorough understanding of the broader Asset & Liability Management-related picture, including interest rate risk, capital- and liquidity management. I believe this knowledge is still very useful, with the increasing focus on positive impact finance. In 2013, I started as a branch manager within Retail & Preferred Banking. In this position, I was responsible for the day-to-day management of several local bank branches, that offer a wide array of products (mortgages, insurances, investment products and services, wealth structuring, etc). My responsibilities varied from leading sales teams to developing a local market position strategy. Since 2015, I‘ve been working as a Stakeholder & Issue Manager in ABN AMRO’s Sustainable Banking team. In this role I’ve organised stakeholder dialogues, including a materiality analysis (on a wide array of topics varying from responsible taxation, to ESG-criteria, to customer satisfaction levels). Furthermore, on behalf of ABN AMRO I engage with corporate clients and civil society on a regular basis. I translate our stakeholder’s voices into input for our ESG-risk policies and I use these to indicate trends. I am active in several multi-stakeholder platforms, such as the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement and the Dutch confederation of Industry and Employers.

I hold a Master’s degree in International Business Administration, Finance & Investments.