About the NCD Working Groups
Four NCD Working Groups are overseen by the Chair and the Steering Committee. The Working Groups are each chaired by a signatory. Each Working Group consists of NCD signatories (financial institutions) and supporters (non-financial institutions). The Secretariat (UNEP FI and GCP) are available to facilitate and provide advice and guidance where wanted.
Both supporters and signatories can volunteer to project manage one of the four groups. The Working Group Project Manager(s) are responsible for the delivery of Working Group outputs in collaboration with all Working Group members.
Each Working Group should be involved in at least one project or activity, with the involvement of all signatories and supporters that are members of that Working Group. The involvement of these signatories and supporters can be in various capacities, as described below. For example, a signatory or a group of signatories can lead and /or actively support a pilot project implemented by the Working Group.
At a minimum, participating signatories and supporters shall provide feedback on the work done under that Working Group. The Working Group terms of reference will be reviewed on a six-monthly basis.
Role of financial institutions and supporters
Financial institutions and supporters who join working groups are expected to:
1. Participate in at least one project or activity determined in the work plan of the respective Working Group;
2. Review Working Group updates and documents;
3. Contribute inputs as agreed with the Chair and Project Manager;
4. Provide technical expertise and guidance to the Working Group;
5. Take ownership of projects proposed and implemented under the Working Groups;
6. Review work plans and outputs to provide constructive feedback;
7. Contribute to surveys, research and development of the evidence base to understand natural capital impacts and dependencies of financial institutions and how this translates into quantifiable risk, in order to develop a methodology in line with implementing NCD commitments;
8. Working Group members are expected to attend and contribute to webinars and calls of the Working Group. The Chair determines the frequency of Working Group meetings. It is proposed that calls could be held quarterly, but will be organised as necessary to establish and deliver work plans. More regular updates will be provided by the Chair/Project Manager. If a member is unable to attend, feedback can be provided via email.
Working Group members
– Each signatory or supporter is invited to join one or more of the four Working Groups. All signatories and supporters are expected to be active in at least one Working Group.
– Selected academic and government institutions are invited to join the Working Groups. Admission is granted on a case-by-case basis.
– All Working Group members are invited to actively contribute to the project(s) of the Working Groups by providing advice, feedback on methodologies or results, or volunteer as a pilot project.
– Deliverables for each Working Group are decided on by the Chair of that Working Group in accordance with the views of the Working Group members and within the remit of the NCD as the overarching programme.
NCD signatories (financial institutions)
NCD signatories are encouraged to propose or participate in pilot projects on a voluntary basis. Participant(s) in the pilot projects under each Working Group will determine resource commitments during the scoping phase, together with the Chair and Project Manager.
NCD and NCFA supporters (non-financial institutions)
Signatories are encouraged to contributing to financing pilot projects where possible, and to make internal resources available to test methodologies. They are expected to share lessons learned during projects, but are not expected to disclose confidential data.
Supporters include any type of stakeholder apart from the financial industry, such as civil society, NGOs, accounting bodies and accounting firms, and industry associations and platforms. Their role can include but is not limited to aligning work with that of the NCFA, providing technical expertise and advice, as well as facilitating collaboration with other relevant industry platforms.
Process for new organisations (non-financial organisations and companies) to become supporters:
The NCFA Secretariat nominates organisations to become supporters, and the Steering Committee decides whether to endorse their inclusion in the network.
Roles and expectations of professional service providers/consultancies that are also NCFA supporters:
Service providers are expected to contribute expertise within the spirit of collaboration and co-operation as part of the NCFA. Their anticipated key contributions within the NCD Working Groups will be the sharing of their experience and specialist knowledge on natural capital issues and to raise awareness among their own stakeholders.
Service providers that participate in the Working Groups are requested to provide in-kind contributions to support the implementations of work plans where possible. They are encouraged to provide recommendations and advice on the development of work plans, pilot projects and Working Group outputs. They are expected to provide guidance and feedback to support the development of the financial sector’s ability to meet NCFA commitments and to provide technical input into the delivery of work plans under relevant Working Groups. A process should be established to monitor and recognise in-kind contributions.
Service providers/consultancies are expected not to solicit business from financial institutions unless this is done in a transparent manner under the agreed-upon NCD Working Groups’ activities and pilot projects and fully aligned with NCFA objectives or work plans and where they had pre-existing relationships with financial institutions. Where financial institutions raise concerns about the commercial interests or actions of service providers with the Secretariat or Steering Committee, service providers will be informed and invited to provide a response.
Notwithstanding the above and recognising that service providers add valuable subject matter expertise to the work of NCD Working Groups, they may be invited to participate in tenders for for-fee services through Requests For Proposals or other procurement arrangements managed by financial institutions participating in and/or leading pilot projects under the Working Groups, Working Group Project Managers, or the NCFA Secretariat as required to deliver NCFA pilot projects and outputs. The decisions to procure for-fee services from NCFA supporters will be made by each Working Group in a transparent manner to ensure proper management of potential conflict of interest. Being an official NCFA supporter, or the participation of service providers in Working Groups, will not automatically result in contract awards for for-fee services.
Guiding principles of good governance for NCD Working Groups
1. Independence: To ensure disclosure and management of any conflicts of interest, Working Group members shall not use their role under the NCD Working Groups for the improper advancement of their own or their company’s commercial interests or promote these interests at the expense of the effective implementation of the NCD commitments.
2. Conflict of interest: Where there is an actual or potential conflict of interest, participating institutions shall disclose this to the Working Group Project Manager, NCFA Chair, and the NCFA Secretariat before engaging in any transaction or providing advice or recommendations. Any disclosures of a potential or actual conflict of interest by financial institutions or supporters will be managed by the Working Group Project Manager in coordination with the Chair and the Secretariat. If any such conflicts of interest are unresolved, the Steering Committee will be notified. A fair and transparent selection process will be developed to commission third parties to contribute to the delivery of work plans.
3. Openness and transparency: Working Group members will ensure clarity and openness on the way in which decision-making takes place in order that stakeholders can have confidence in the Working Group processes.
4. Accountability: Ensuring that all members of the Working Groups, including the Project Manager and Chair, are seen to be responsible and accountable for their decisions and actions, including the delivery of the work plans.
5. Integrity: Ensuring straightforward dealing and completeness, based on honesty and objectivity, and ensuring high standards of probity and propriety in the conduct and decision-making of Working Group members. Working Group members will maintain the security of confidential information.
6. Clarity of purpose: Ensuring that stakeholders know why the Working Group exists, what it does, and what to expect from it.
7. Effectiveness: Ensuring that the Working Group delivers quality outcomes efficiently and effectively, according to available financial and human resources and work plan requirements. The quality of work and outputs is paramount and takes precedence over quantity and timings of deliverables. Key Working Group outputs will be peer reviewed to help ensure the quality and credibility of outputs.
8. Consensus oriented: The Working Group members shall recognise the interests of different stakeholders to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of achieving the NCD commitments.