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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

13 January 2022 – Building on work by the Banking Environment Initiative, CISL has published recommendations for advancing climate-related assessments that enhance client engagement strategies for financial institutions.

Click here to download the paper.


The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s report, Leadership strategies for client engagement: Advancing climate-related assessments, is designed to support the financial sector to improve assessment and interactions with clients in line with net zero plans. The report has been created as part of a module in the UNEP FI TCFD programme that builds on the Banking Environment Initiative’s Let’s Discuss Climate: the essential guide to bank-client engagement

Having made commitments to transition portfolios to net zero, financial institutions need to transform their business models so that the ways they work with clients and the finance that is deployed aligns with net zero targets by 2050.

However, neither sufficient support nor expertise are yet in place for client-facing staff to analyse climate risks, assess the robustness of client’s transition plans nor identify financing opportunities that incorporate climate considerations. This report has been created to assist financial institutions to better structure climate-related assessment processes to improve engagement and net zero transitions with real economy clients.

The report covers five themes around client transition assessments:

  • Banking Environment Initiative’s Let’s Discuss Climate: Guide to Bank-Client Engagement;
  • Best practices reported in data collection, baseline analysis and forward-looking evaluations;
  • Recommendations for leadership strategies across these pillars of climate-related assessment;
  • Sector-specific mapping of resources; and
  • Case studies of client engagement strategies led by financial institutions.

Citing this report

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). (2022). Leadership Strategies for Client Engagement: Advancing climate-related assessments. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Find out more about CISL's Centre for Sustainable Finance and the Banking Environment Initiative.

Please sign up and watch the report launch webinar on 3 Feb 2022 here.

Published January 2022

Authors and acknowledgements

This report was authored at CISL by Annabel Ross, Dr Nina Seega and Meng-Lian Li, supported at United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) by David Carlin and Maheen Arshad.

UNEP FI’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Phase III Banking Pilot was set up, managed and co-ordinated by Remco Fischer and David Carlin from UNEP FI. The pilot project was led by a working group of 47 banks and investors convened by UNEP FI.


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.