The Global Climate Partnership Award was launched in March 2018. Luke Franson, Head of Green Lending at GCPF’s investment manager responsAbility and chairman of the jury, talks about the outcome.

Why did GCPF launch the award?

One of the beautiful qualities of GCPF is its exclusive focus on GHG mitigation. While that provides us with the ability to focus, it also gives us time to listen to the needs of our partners. Well, after a year of surveys, meetings and phone calls, one thing stood out: all the individuals we worked with were making incredible efforts in advancing the cause of green lending. But they told us they often struggled to raise awareness within their own institutions and garner the recognition that could multiply their efforts. We met to explore ways that GCPF could help and we decided to launch the GCPF Green Lending Award 2018.

How did you choose the jury?

The fund benefits from a very passionate and exited investment team. While they are excellent champions for their partner institutions, they are clearly not impartial. Confronting this dynamic, a jury seemed to be a great solution. Over the years we have also gathered a small circle of ‘special GCPF friends’. They were willing to volunteer their time and brought decades of expertise to review the submissions we received.

“The response was humbling and overwhelming!”

Luke Franson

What were the expectations?

Low! This was the first time we had ever done anything like this! We recognize that green lending is often not seen as a core business area for a financial institution. Therefore, we treat any time or attention they provide for us as a special gift. For this reason, we did not know if our partners would be willing to sit down and put together applications for the Award.

Were they met?

The response was humbling and overwhelming! In the end we had submissions from seven partners in 12 categories. Afterward, they would not stop contacting us, very curious to hear if they had won. The response made it clear to us that we are truly having an effect on changing the institutions we partner with.

“The response made it clear to us that we are truly having an effect on changing the institutions we partner with.”

Luke Franson

What impressed you most?

Look, we know these institutions – we have dinner with them, know what sports their kids play and how close environmental sustainability is to their hearts. Yet, we were still surprised by the wide array of innovative measures that our partners are implementing – many we had never heard of before! It became clear that they are not doing this because someone came and told them they had to – they are doing it because they see that they are part of a movement that is larger than themselves – and even larger than the companies they work for. From creative financing solutions to advance green buildings to the more mundane screen savers reminding staff to turn off the air conditioners and lights, the breadth and seriousness of the efforts were inspiring.

“Our partners are doing this because they see that they are part of a movement that is larger than themselves.”

Luke Franson

Is this a one-off or will the award continue?

It was so incredibly difficult to pick a winner. There remain so many untold stories out there and so many unrecognized green lending heroes. After what we’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s any longer a choice – we must continue to do them justice!

Happy winners: Mr. Sohail Hussain, Managing Director & CEO of City Bank (center), came to Zurich to receive the Award from GCPF’s Chairperson, Claudia Arce (left).

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