Events > GCPF Environmental & Social Workshop Zurich

GCPF Environmental & Social Workshop Zurich

GCPF Environmental & Social Workshop Zurich

The last in a series of workshops on the topic of environmental & social risk management for financial institutions embarking on green lending, this training event was held at GCPF’s investment manager responsAbility’s Zurich head office between 24-27 April. Participants included representatives of financial institutions from Europe as well as Central Asia who assembled to learn how to develop and implement a strong environmental & social risk management system. We spoke to responsibility E&S specialist Pedro Fernández Díaz about the workshop series:

“It was amazing to meet so many highly engaged and enthusiastic people.”

Pedro Fernández Díaz

Pedro, after three successful workshops held in Latin America, Asia and Europe, what is your overall impression?

The workshops presented a great opportunity to personally meet the E&S specialists from partner institutions across the world I interact with on a regular basis. It was amazing to meet so many highly engaged, motivated and enthusiastic people eager to strengthen their capacity to implement E&S at their banks.

What were the 3 key messages you wanted to convey through the workshop?

  1. Show partner institutions how to better manage E&S issues associated to the GCPF credit line
  2. Explain how the GCPF E&S system fits in with those of other investors and DFIs/IFIs
  3. Give them a sense of community by having them meet peers involved in the same activities and promoting cross-collaboration and co-learning opportunities


“One objective was to give participants a sense of community by having them meet peers.”

Pedro Fernández Díaz

Do you think you succeeded?

Definitely! The participants’ feedback confirmed that all these goals were met. People actively engaged during the workshops and actually asked us to provide more of this type of training in the future. Personally, I would have thought that such intense training sessions might be seen as a burden, but they were very much perceived as adding value.

“Within the GCPF portfolio, no two banks are equally equipped to deal with E&S issues.”

Pedro Fernández Díaz

How homogeneous an audience were you expecting?

We knew from the beginning that the groups would be very heterogeneous. Within the GCPF portfolio, no two banks are equally equipped to deal with E&S issues in terms of people, understanding, management support, etc. Also, not all projects financed by banks are equally risky from an E&S perspective.


How knowledgeable did the group turn out to be?

Some were more advanced that other –some at least as knowledgeable as us, and maybe even more.

Were there a lot of differences between the different regions?

Surprisingly few: All the institutions seem to face similar challenges including a lack of top management support and understanding for the importance of E&S.

“Our government and my bank put a lot of emphasis on green lending, so it is great that institutions like GCPF support their partners around the world.”

Keti Bitskinashvili, TBC Bank

How do different legislations influence the set of challenges institutions face?

There certainly is an impact: When their clients are required to do more on E&S in order to get necessary permits, E&S staff from the banks tend to be more aware of the complexity of some of the projects.

What sort of concrete support do you feel they might still need after the workshops?

Many participants identified a ‘lack of internal support’ as one of their main barriers for implementing E&S. Therefore, we should help them strengthen the business case, making their top management more aware of the importance of the topic.

“The Technical Assistance, the networking opportunities and the training – like the one we have just had – all make GCPF one of the outstanding players in the field.”

Torsten Kleine Buening, Xacbank

What is the role GCPF can play in this field?

Funding from the GCPF Technical Assistance facility has made it possible to bring people together, employ qualified consultants to facilitate the workshop, prepare the content of the sessions.

“Funding from the GCPF Technical Assistance facility has made it possible to bring people together.”

Pedro Fernández Díaz

In an ideal world, how would E&S standards at the participants’ banks have improved five years from now?

Ideally, they will have properly implemented E&S management practices in line with international standards such as IFC’s and their management will be using E&S elements to support the investment process.

“I have been exposed to hundreds of workshops before. This one was outstanding in that it was really relevant this is to what we are doing rather than just presenting some theories.”

Ahmed Osama, Hermes Holding

Pedro Fernández Díaz leads the E&S management at GCPF’s investment manager responsAbility. Besides a background in Environmental, Health & Safety Management studies, his working experience includes developing projects in different countries and across several energy-related industries.


  • Global trends in Environment & Social risk management
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Risk management and opportunities
  • Implications for Financial Institutions
  • Toolkit for assessing E&S management systems
  • Overcoming objections from borrowers
  • GCPF: E&S requirements
  • E&S assistance by GCPF

Witness participants live