Developing systems-change leaders for bank climate action


Under pressure to act on the climate crisis, many banks are making commitments to achieve ‘net zero’. However, they are not yet taking sufficient action to reach this, and such targets alone are not enough to support a transition that is ‘just’ and also builds climate resilience.

All across banks, committed professionals are seeking to drive greater change. The nature and scale of change needed is vast and complex, and these ‘intrapreneurs’ often find themselves isolated, with limited resources or networks to support this work.

The Climate Safe Lending Fellowship seeks to equip bank climate intrapreneurs with the skills, tools and networks to drive the kinds of systems change needed from the inside. 

What we do

The Fellowship brings together diverse cohorts of banking professionals to participate in a leadership development journey that focuses on building the core competencies needed to catalyse systems change through:

  • Core workshops that introduce concepts and practical tools that Fellows apply to advancing their bank climate action.
  • Peer learning, through which Fellows develop and practice coaching skills and benefit from the collective wisdom of the cohort to tackle challenges they face.
  • Individualised support from coaches or mentors.

All of this is framed around a ‘critical shift’ that each Fellow identifies to work on, in order to make a breakthrough in their bank’s climate impact. The first two cohorts of the Fellowship took place over six months each, between 2021 and 2023. In 2024, we are running a condensed version of the programme in recognition of the urgency of the challenge.

Over three cohorts of the Fellowship my role has included team leadership, programme management, supporting design and co-facilitating systems-change workshops, leading peer coaching circles, monitoring, evaluation and learning, community building and Fellow support.

Read more about the culture of learning I helped to build among the team and cohort of the inaugural Fellowship, in this blog post.


58 Climate Safe Lending Fellows to-date form an impressive network of determined bank climate intrapreneurs. They tell us that the Fellowship has helped them to:

  • Advocate for bolder strategies for their banks to address climate change to be adopted by senior leadership.
  • Transform how they work with stakeholders to implement new policies and processes that drive more concrete action towards achieving climate targets.
  • Feel less alone and more confident in their work, with a trusted network of peers they can turn to for practical and emotional support.

Alongside the Fellowship’s core goal of supporting Fellows, we share learnings from the programme via publications, webinars and talks, to help inform (and amplify the impact of) others’ work towards financing a more climate just economy or developing systems-change leadership.

You can find out more about the lessons learnt from the previous two cohorts of the Fellowship in this article Nurturing intrapreneurs to drive systems change, and this in-depth report Catalysing bank climate action: Lessons from the inside.

What the client says

“Over our time working together, Natalie showed herself to be one of those “unicorn” consultants who have outstanding skills in big picture strategy, managing the detail of implementation, leading project teams and collaborative ways of working.

Natalie was instrumental in the success of the pilot programme. She is strategic, impact-focused, reliable, collaborative and a joy to work with. Natalie deployed her skills in a context that was new to her; she picked up the contextual knowledge quickly and created processes for subject matter experts to fill in the gaps.

I cannot recommend Natalie highly enough for work that involves project and team management, developing impact strategies through experimentation, impact measurement and evaluation, programme facilitation, leadership coaching and documenting strategic learning.”
Lydia Hascott, former Head of Intrapreneurship, Finance Innovation Lab

Why this work matters

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of our time, and while all of society has a role to play in mitigating and responding to it, banks play a particularly important one:

Financing by banks determines the activities which can take place and those which can’t. Banks continue to finance new fossil fuel projects, while climate resilience initiatives struggle to access funding. If we are to limit rising temperatures and build resilience to the inevitable effects of climate change, we need banks to:

  1. Divest from continued fossil fuel use
  2. Invest in initiatives that aim to limit changes to the climate and biodiversity (e.g. alternative energy sources)
  3. Invest in initiatives that boost the resilience of communities and ecosystems to climate change and its impacts.

This requires banks to re-envision their purpose and make significant strategic, technical, and – most importantly – cultural changes.