• Collaboration reinforces commitment to net zero transition goals, drives future of finance

Dubai, UAE: 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.


About Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 bn and an estimated GDP of USD8 trn.

With a close to 20-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai. 

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of over 39,000

professionals working across over 4,900 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region. 

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance through cutting-edge technology, innovation, and partnerships. Today, it is the global future of finance and innovation hub offering one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.  

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations. 

For further information, please visit our website: difc.ae, or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @DIFC.

About the Chartered Banker Institute

The Chartered Banker Institute is a global professional body for bankers based in the UK. Dating back to 1875, the Institute holds the distinction of a Royal Charter and, as the world's oldest banking institute, plays a pivotal role in supporting professional bankers throughout their careers. Supporting a diverse membership of over 35,000 members across 100 countries, the Institute provides world-class digital qualifications, cutting-edge CPD, topical webcasts and professional membership. These efforts help professional bankers to shape a sustainable and responsible future for the banking industry. For more information, please visit www.charteredbanker.com

For media enquiries, please contact:   
Omar Nasro

Rasha Mezher | Dubai International Financial Centre Authority  
Consultant, Marketing & Corporate Communications