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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

9 October 2023 – Building on the nature-related finance collaboration between the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) and Investment Leaders Group (ILG), CISL has published a new Engagement Guide to support the market-wide transformation towards a net-zero and nature-positive economy by evolving the interaction between banks and investment managers and their portfolio clients and investee companies.

 Engagement Guide

Download the Let's Discuss Nature with Climate Engagement Guide.

The current need for economic transformation, underpinned by the climate and nature crises, presents significant risks and opportunities for financial institutions and corporations alike (financial, operational, regulatory, litigation and reputational).

CISL’s Let’s Discuss Nature with Climate Engagement Guide focuses specifically on the relationship between the financier and financed. The Guide aims to empower client-facing staff at banks and investment managers to support portfolio clients and investee companies to act on the opportunities, risks and compliance demands associated with nature and climate.

This Engagement Guide is designed for (1) relationship managers of banks and (2) analysts/portfolio managers of investment managers. It aims to enable constructive, informative conversations between these financiers and portfolio clients/investee companies about nature and climate transition plans and the associated financing needs.

The Guide presents a five-phase approach (see diagram below) to integrate nature into existing engagements on climate. For each phase, this Guide provides details of the context and target outcomes, with helpful resources, guiding questions and ideas to support research and preparation efforts.

 Review, Set the scene, Assess, Design, Support

Engagement informed by this Guide will be iterative and vary depending upon:

  • your financial institution’s structure and strategy and the markets in which it has invested as well as research and product capabilities and offerings
  • your client’s or investment’s size and geographical distribution and the extent to which they have, or have not, made progress towards their nature-positive, net-zero journey
  • client dynamics, including the strength of relationships and common understanding of the nature- and climate-related risks and opportunities.

To fully operationalise the guidance provided, capacity building and internal support need to be provided within financial institutions to ensure that staff members are empowered to be critical friends to their portfolio clients and investee companies during an economic transformation to a net-zero and nature-positive future.

Citing this report

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). (2023). Let’s Discuss Nature with Climate: Engagement Guide. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Read quotes about the report here.


This webinar took place on 15 November 2023 and highlighted the key findings from the Engagement Guide.

The panel was moderated by Dr. Nina Seega (Director of Sustainable Finance, CISL) with insights from Claire Ahlborn (Engagement Specialist, Robeco Asset Management), Christoph Baumann (Deputy Head Strategy Division & Envoy for Sustainable Finance at the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF)), Oliver Withers (Head of Biodiversity, Standard Chartered), and Sara Taaffe (Senior Project Manager, CISL). 

Published: 9 October 2023

Authors and acknowledgements

The authors of this paper were Sara Taaffe, Grant Rudgley and Dr Nina Seega at the CISL Centre for Sustainable Finance. They were supported at CISL by Rob Barker, Elizabeth Clark, Emily Hamm, Thomas Vergunst and Harry Greenfield.

Without the dedication of these institutions and the individuals who participated in this programme, the insights presented here would not have been possible. These individuals include Afif Chowdhury (Deutsche Bank), Richard Kooloos (ANB AMRO), Andre Jakobs (ABN AMRO), Etienne Yves-Butruille (Santander), Chris Vernon (Santander), Regina Kahl (HSBC), Marine de Bazelaire (HSBC), Rhona Turnbull (NatWest), Sarah Wire (Lloyds), Oliver Withers (Standard Chartered), Danielle Brassel (Zurich), Devika Kaul (State Street Global Advisors), Stephanie Lavallato (State Street Global Advisors), Erwin Houbrechts (Pensioenfonds PGB), Laura Bosch Ferreté (Robeco), Rashila Kerai (Robeco), Max Richardson (Investec), Mette Charles (Aon), Özgür Göker (Union Bancaire Privée), Victoria Leggett (Union Bancaire Privée) and Peter Mennie (Manulife).  

We also thank our expert advisory group members Camille Maclet (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity), Jessica Smith (UNEP-FI), Claudia Gray (ShareAction), Christoph Baumann (State Secretariat for International Finance SIF Switzerland), Alessandra Melis (TNFD), Josephine Quint (WWF-UK), Thomas White (The Biodiversity Consultancy / University of Oxford) and Lenka Moore (Capitals Coalition) for their invaluable guidance.


Copyright © 2023 University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

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The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL, the University of Cambridge, or any of its individual business partners or clients.