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Taking the lead in sustainable finance skills and talent

A case for developing critical financial skills and competencies

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices are gaining attention in organisations that are committed to a more sustainable future. Inevitably, they need to prepare their current and future workforce to support what has been coined sustainable finance.

Deloitte is taking the lead and addressing the sustainable finance skills gap with an integrated, multidisciplinary approach. This means upskilling existing finance professionals, including corporate financiers, tax advisors, and risk and audit teams on ESG criteria.

To assess current and future requirements for sustainable finance skills and talent, Deloitte conducted an online survey of professionals working in the Canadian financial services sector who are in part responsible for developing a sustainable finance competency in their respective functions. This research, which is a follow on from research carried out in Ireland in 2019, featured input from Deloitte Ireland's Marc Aboud (Director, Risk Advisory) and Alessio Predieri (Manager, Risk Advisory).

Respondents represented various types of organisations, including financial institutions within various FSI sectors (e.g., banking, insurance, asset management, and pension funds), regulatory institutions, industry associations, and academic institutions. They also represented various business functions and roles, such as chief human resources officer, chief risk officer, and chief sustainability officer. (Please refer to the appendix for a breakdown of respondents.)

The online survey was supplemented by a suite of in-depth interviews with representative organisations chosen by TFI. These interviews provided an opportunity to discuss the survey responses and yielded additional insight into the FSI’s need for sustainable finance skills and talent.

The following topics were explored:

  • Overall market awareness of sustainable finance across the financial services sector
  • Current and future skills and talent needed for sustainable finance
  • Current recruiting landscape for talent
  • How sustainable finance skills and talent gaps can be narrowed

The research revealed 12 key insights, highlighted in this report, which led to the conclusion that a greater emphasis should be placed on collaboration within the FSI ecosystem and across postsecondary institutions and governmental/regulatory bodies to address the competency gaps in sustainable finance.

This report presents the full findings from our research, including an assessment of the current state of sustainable finance skills and talent, an examination of future requirements, and recommendations for filling current gaps and accelerating the talent-development process.

Sustainable finance talent development key challenge to achieving COP26 finance ambitions.


Sustainable finance talent development is among the key challenges facing financial centres achieving COP26 finance ambitions. Click here to watch a recording of Stephen Nolan - MD FC4S and Head of Secretariat SIF and Marc Aboud - Director, Risk Advisory unpacking COP26 Finance day (4th November 2021). 
Watch the recording here

Sustainable Finance Skillnet Deep Dive Skills Report


The Sustainable Finance Skillnet Deep Dive Skills Report, commissioned by the Sustainable Finance Skillnet Ireland and Sustainable Nation Ireland, and researched by Deloitte is a deep sector analysis of future Sustainable Finance skills and talent requirements in Ireland.

The report, carried out in 2019, found that Sustainable Finance was quickly becoming mainstream and would fundamentally change the entire financial sector, with regulation acting as an accelerator in prioritising skills and training. It added that Sustainable Finance was not a short-term trend, but a permanent shift from ‘niche’ to ‘mainstream’ representing an entirely new focus in finance. It recommended that, in addition to changes to third level programmes, Sustainable Finance must be part of professional education and continuous professional development for finance and business professionals.

Read the full report

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