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Sustainable financing: High hopes in Highbury

3rd Apr, 2023

Leaders for a changing world – Sustainable financing for a net zero future. 

The “Leaders for a Changing World” programme is a three-year education partnership between BNP Paribas UK, Teach First and Gemserv running from 2022 to 2025. The partnership supports Teach First’s incredible work to recruit, train and place more teachers is schools in disadvantaged areas and focusses on developing a series of sustainability lessons aligned with the school curriculum, covering various subjects and age groups.. These resources are freely available to all teachers in the UK via the Times Education Supplement (TES) online teaching platform. 

Our first lesson plan Powering a Net Zero Future aimed at the Geography and Science curriculum was launched in November 2022.

The second lesson for this initiative, “Sustainable Financing for a Net-Zero Future” was recently launched at the City of London Academy, Highbury Grove in North London. This lesson, aimed at Business Studies students, from school years 9 to 11, aims to bring Gemserv’s expertise and experience in the low carbon space, into the classroom.  

As the name suggests, the lesson materials discuss financing methods (as covered in the syllabuses) and have been worked to ensure cross-compatibility across multiple exam boards. The lesson has been primarily designed to be delivered with the help of volunteers, working on behalf of BNP Paribas, but also to be used by independent teachers and tutors. Students are taken through a series of informative, interactive and educational tasks, beginning with a video covering an introduction to sustainable finance: 

Several activities then follow from this, culminating in a scenario-based task, asking students to put themselves in the shoes of business owners, who must then navigate the challenges of financing their operations, in a sustainable manner. 

Delivery of the first session was an enlightening and educational experience – and not just for the students! Having delivered over a thousand hours’ worth of one-to-one teaching, it is readily apparent that there are clear overlaps with the skills and behaviours required in a professional services setting. Preparation and foresight are key requirements for success. This must be balanced by flexibility, and adaptability which are incredibly helpful attributes to develop across both environments – we are used to fielding questions from clients, but no one knows how to throw a curveball like intelligent and diligent students!  

Some of the key learnings from the experience were: 

  • Practice makes perfect. Deliver the lesson and presentation in person. What looks good on paper may not translate to delivery in the real world.  
  • Bring energy, both clients and students respond well to energy and enthusiasm. You get out what you put in.  
  • Stay engaging. Conversation and discussion are key to getting buy in and engagement from your audience. It is not a lecture. Interaction is key to keeping them involved!  
  • Build rapport. The students didn’t know us before the lesson, and often when pitching or presenting to clients, they don’t know you either. It’s important to build relationships and trusts to communicate effectively.  

With work nearing completion on the Sustainable Financing for a Net Zero Future lesson pack, attention now turns to the next – Sustainable City Design, with the final lesson on Sustainable Lifestyles for Climate Action to follow that one completing the suite of 4 lessons from the partnership. 

For this, and all other resources, stay tuned, and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, and other social media sites.

Authors

Will Taylor

Senior Low Carbon Consultant

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