Report published on sustainable finance talent needs of Irish retail financial services during COP27 Finance Day

Wednesday, November 9th: Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance, Seán Fleming, has today (Wednesday) launched a report outlining the skills required by the domestic retail financial services sector to finance Ireland’s net zero transition.

Released to coincide with United Nations COP27 Finance Day, the Sustainable Banking and Finance Report has, for the first time, identified the skills gaps, education and training needs for retail financial services in Ireland in the area of sustainable finance and makes a number of key recommendations as to how to progress the sustainable finance agenda.

The analysis is a key output of the Irish Sustainable Finance Roadmap talent development pillar, itself an output of Government’s Ireland for Finance strategy.

Supported by Skillnet Ireland and co-led by the Sustainable Finance Skillnet and the IOB, with the backing of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI), the report highlights how education and training in sustainable finance to date has concentrated on the financial and capital markets, such as green bonds, regulatory developments, and sustainable investment funds, with a greater focus on the Irish retail financial services sector talent development a next key step.

The report identifies how achieving a greater cohesiveness and understanding of sustainable finance for retail financial services could support organisations’ efforts to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors and to scale up their green products offerings, as well as support Ireland’s ambition to become a leader in Sustainable Finance.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance, Seán Fleming TD said, “The world has to focus its financial system towards sustainability to meet our national and global commitment to tackle climate change. I recently launched the update to the Ireland for Finance strategy, which charts the future development of the international financial services sector in Ireland to the end of 2026. Sustainable finance is a focus for growth in the financial services market in Ireland.  I welcome the launch of this important report which identifies the need for further up-skilling in sustainable finance. This will help international and retail financial services reskill and grow the way we need them to.” 

Dave Flynn, Director of Business Networks, Skillnet Ireland, said: “The retail financial services sector has a key part to play in reorienting Ireland’s financial system towards sustainability. This report provides a timely insight into the talent needs of the sector. In partnership with industry, Skillnet Ireland will work to deliver upskilling opportunities to ensure that businesses have access to the skilled talent that is needed to support the adoption of sustainable practices and to help achieve Ireland’s climate goals.”

Yvonne Holmes, Chair Sustainable Finance Skillnet and Chief Sustainability Officer, AIB, said, “With the support of Skillnet Ireland since March 2020 the Sustainable Finance Skillnet has up skilled over 2,400 Irish located financial services sector professionals in sustainable finance. With the analysis and focus that this report brings to bear on the retail financial services sector, we can now allocate resources in a more targeted manner into 2023. Critically this will support the accelerated development of a cohort of sustainable finance retail professionals that will support Ireland’s real economy net zero transition.”  

Mary O’Dea, CEO IOB said, “Retail financial services are playing a critical role in supporting Ireland’s transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon economy. At IOB, we see first-hand how education can play a powerful role in accelerating transformation and sparking real change. We were delighted to support the development of this new report and look forward to continued collaboration across the sector as we build the world-class education offerings that will enable Ireland’s retail financial services professionals to become sustainable finance leaders.”

Louise O’Mahony, Head of Sustainable Banking, BPFI said,BPFI recognises that upskilling banking professionals to support the integration of ESG into retail financial services is essential to fulfil BPFI members’ Net Zero commitments and manage the challenging regulatory landscape arising from the rollout of the EU’s sustainable finance agenda.  This was very much reflected in a recent BPFI survey of its membership which showed that nearly 20% of respondents believe availability of requisite skillsets is the biggest challenge to achieving the Government’s ambition to become a green finance hub. We welcome today’s report as the beginning of an excellent collaborative approach to training, leveraging off the expertise and support of Sustainable Finance Skillnet.” 

The Sustainable Banking & Finance Report can be read in full here.


Further media information:  

Anthony McFeely, Communications Manager, ISFCOE

Email: [email protected]

Notes for editors:

COP27 Finance Day 

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP27 – will bring together heads of state, ministers and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the largest annual gathering on climate action.

COP27 will build on the outcomes of COP26 to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency and deliver on the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement – from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries.

As the focus at this year’s conference moves to adaptation to climate change, the role of private finance in building societal resilience to physical climate change impacts is key. At COP27, November 9 will be the thematic day dedicated to climate finance. 

Irish Sustainable Finance Roadmap 

The roadmap is a priority Action Measure under the Ireland for Finance Action Plan, demonstrating sustainable finance’s increasing prominence as a priority for Ireland and an essential tool in addressing the climate crisis. Supported by Skillnet Ireland, the development of the national Sustainable Finance Roadmap was overseen by the Department of the Finance and led by Sustainable Finance Ireland and UNDP FC4S, in collaboration with public and private stakeholders across Ireland.

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

Sustainable Finance Skillnet 

The Sustainable Finance Skillnet is a national business network that works to develop talent, skills and leadership capacity to advance ESG best practice across Ireland’s financial services ecosystem. This national network was established to support sustainable business growth and practices in Ireland by embedding sustainable approaches within firms through the delivery of specialised upskilling and talent development aimed at business leaders and employees within the IFS sector.


IOB is a professional network of over 33,000 members who work in banking and international financial services sector. IOB is a recognised college of University College Dublin (UCD) and is a centre of excellence in the provision of specialist education and lifelong learning to the financial services sector with programmes for members at every stage of their career. A total of 8,500 people studied with IOB last year and we have the largest continuing professional development community in Ireland with over 23,000 registered members, committed to lifelong learning.

Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland  

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

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