International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence officially launched in Ireland

Monday October 17th: Minister Simon Harris has today launched the International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence, to deliver the skills necessary for the financial services community to finance a net-zero future.

The Centre will be an international hub from which the Irish-located finance community will develop its response to sustainability demands.

Launched on the opening day of Climate Finance Week Ireland, the International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence is a key output of the Sustainable Finance Roadmap, which has been developed by Sustainable Finance Ireland in partnership with Skillnet Ireland, and in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Department of Finance and international partners.

The Centre will lead on research, talent development and leadership activities to support the design and implementation of innovative financial mechanisms to facilitate the transition to a net zero economy in Ireland and internationally.

The Centre will play a critical role in delivering the Sustainable Finance Roadmap and ‘Ireland for Finance Strategy 2025’ which aims to position Ireland as a global centre of sustainable finance by 2025.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said: “Sustainable finance is critical for Ireland’s future growth in financial services ensuring the industry has the skills needed to meet our climate objectives. This centre of excellence will help the planet, but it is essential to the future proofing of the economy.”

“This centre will work with customers, colleagues and communities to support their transition to a resilient, net zero economy by 2050. The collaboration that has developed the centre is key. Those partnerships will support the sector’s future talent development needs and inspire new people to enter this relatively new area of work.”

Commenting on the launch, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue said, “The reorientation of the financial system towards sustainability is only beginning but has a clear trajectory with real opportunities for countries, companies and communities that show leadership. The moment is right for leading financial centres to take a quantum leap to transition in this direction; in doing so, serve the needs of the real economy and support efforts at limiting climate change and biodiversity loss.”

“Today’s launch of the International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence is a touchstone of the progress being made here in Ireland on this agenda and the implementation of the actions outlined in the 2021 Sustainable Finance Roadmap. Serving as a vital forum for public-private stakeholders to work together on this important agenda, not least supporting innovative product development, I welcome today’s launch.”

Marcos Neto, Director, UNDP Sustainable Finance Hub said: “The world now desperately needs an economic governance architecture which is deliberately designed to support governments, development agencies, civil society and the private sector to make decisions that prioritize investment in the Sustainable Development Goals. The International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence will help in addressing the challenge of the current finance model not working for both the people and the planet. In advance of the upcoming climate talks – COP27, its establishment is to be welcomed.”

Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland, said: “The establishment of the International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence will help position Ireland as a world leader in sustainable finance by developing the talent, knowledge and expertise needed by businesses. It is a key part of the Government’s Ireland for Finance Strategy 2025. Skillnet Ireland is committed to delivering initiatives that support industries to adopt sustainable practices and this launch is also a key step in achieving Ireland’s climate goals. We look forward to further research and international collaboration in the future to build on this vital step.”

Kirsten Dunlop, CEO, EIT Climate-KIC added: “To come through crisis, attain a future that is sustainable for all, both desirable and resilient, we must be willing to redesign how we live and how our economic systems work. Economic transition is at the core of climate action. We need to shift our definitions of value and our financial practices so that they not only provide innovative funding solutions for place-based or industry value chains systems change, but also so that they themselves drive a different economic paradigm—one that recognises the reality of planetary limits and strives for wellbeing. We are proud to support the development of the International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence in Ireland to help deliver the financing solutions needed for real economy transformation locally and globally.”

Working with key stakeholders, it is planned the Centre will be fully operational by mid-January 2023. The Centre is among several activities being delivered throughout Ireland’s fifth Climate Finance Week; including supporting the launch of Ireland’s first sustainable finance fintech strategy; going live with the world’s first Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Finance for Compliance Professionals in partnership with Sustainable Finance Skillnet; and IFS Skillnet supporting the development of Ireland’s Sustainable Finance Roadmap Action Plan 2023.

Alongside Skillnet Ireland, some of the firms that are supporting the work of Centre include AIB, Bank of Ireland, Deloitte, Eirgrid, FD, Goodbody, IDA Ireland, Irish Life Investment Managers, KPMG, Maples Group, Mazars, Permanent TSB, PwC and TD Securities.


Further media information:

Anthony McFeely, Communications Manager, Sustainable Finance Ireland – email: [email protected]

Notes for editors:

Skillnet Ireland

Skillnet Ireland is a business support agency of the Government of Ireland, responsible for advancing the competitiveness, productivity, and innovation of Irish businesses through enterprise-led talent development.

Skillnet Ireland partners with 57 industry bodies, supporting over 22,500 businesses and 86,500 trainees annually, through its 72 Skillnet Business Networks across most sectors and all regions in Ireland. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

To learn more about Skillnet Ireland, please visit

Skillnet Business Network search tool:

Facebook: @SkillnetIreland Twitter: @SkillnetIreland LinkedIn: Sustainable Finance Ireland

Sustainable Finance Ireland

Sustainable Finance Ireland works to position Ireland as a leader in sustainable finance. All activities are aligned with government’s Ireland for Finance strategy and help to deliver on annual action plans. Sustainable Finance Ireland is responsible for coordinating the delivery of the national Sustainable Finance Roadmap launched at Climate Finance Week Ireland 2021.


The UNDP Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) is a global network of 39 financial centres, working together to achieve the objectives set by the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

EIT Climate-KIC

EIT Climate-KIC is the EU’s climate innovation initiative, working to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon and resilient world by enabling systems transformation. Headquartered in Amsterdam, it operates from 13 hubs across Europe and is active in 39 countries. EIT Climate-KIC was established in 2010 and is predominately funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. As a Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), it brings together more than 400 partners from business, academia, the public and non-profit sectors to create networks of expertise, through which innovative products, services and systems are developed, brought to market and scaled-up for impact.

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