Request for proposals

Rainforest Foundation Norway is seeking proposals from universities/research institutes in China and Europe to support the capacity development pillar of its China workstream, focusing on sustainable finance and nature-related financial risks.

THREATENED: A river in the Amazon rainforest. Photo: Araquém Alcântara


The main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are industrial agriculture, plantations, and logging. Unsustainable business practices linked to value chains pose the greatest risk to rainforests. Therefore, RFN works to promote rainforest protection vis-à-vis financial institutions and companies, advocating for forest-dependent communities while supporting the implementation of net zero strategies in the financial sector and within value chain operations.

Our work with international investors, banks, and companies seeks to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 15 Life on Land and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. Working together with partners in the Global South and North, we advocate for best practices in environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, alert financial institutions to material risks to which they may be exposed, and organise capacity development and knowledge exchange activities between the financial sector, academics and rainforest protection experts.

Against this background, RFN seeks to develop a course for up to 30 Chinese financial sector professionals, including asset managers, asset owners and other stakeholders in partnership with European and Chinese course providers such as universities and/or research institutes. The objective of the course is to enable mid and senior-level Chinese financial sector professionals to gain new skills and knowledge in the area of sustainable finance, in order to manage risks and support climate and nature-positive goals while maintaining strong financial returns.

Course Structure

The course is intended as a hybrid executive education course, with a mix of face-to-face and online modules in Mandarin and English to be provided by Chinese and European course providers.

It is envisaged that modules 1 and 3 will be delivered online by a Chinese institution, while module 2 will be delivered in person by a European institution.

Below is a suggested course structure. Interested course providers are welcome to suggest changes to their respective modules in their proposals.

Module 1 – Introduction

Duration, mode of teaching and language: 4-6 hours, online, in Mandarin.

Expected date: June 2024.

Module 1 will contain:

  • A pre-recorded lecture introducing the concepts of green finance and sustainable finance, including an overview of sustainable finance policies and practices in China, and the rationale for Chinese financial institutions to incorporate these areas in their work, from a business perspective.
  • A pre-recorded interview and/or testimonials by three senior representatives of Chinese institutions representing policymakers, investors and banks, making the case for green/sustainable finance. One of the interviews should address the topic of nature/forests.
  • An English transcript of the interview.
  • A live Q&A session with a senior professor /lecturer with demonstrated teaching experience in the area of sustainable finance.
  • A literature list with a focus on material of interest to practitioners such as interviews, articles in the media, and podcasts. Academic articles may be included but the literature list should be user-friendly, keeping in mind the target audience for the course.

The course provider will assist in the identification of potential course participants in collaboration with RFN partners in China and will be responsible for participant outreach, registration and communications with participants for the duration of Module 1.

The course provider will send up to two representatives to Europe to join Module 2 of the course in person.

Module 2 – Sustainable finance, climate and nature-related risks

Duration and language: 28 hours spread over 4 days, face-to-face, in English.

Expected date: July 2024.

Module 2 will cover the following topics:

  • The climate-nature nexus and why climate change and biodiversity/nature loss are considered systemic risks to the global economy. This may include an introduction to climate and nature-related financial risks. (1/2 day)
  • An overview of relevant international conventions and initiatives such as the UNFCC and the Convention on Biodiversity, the TCFD, TNFD, EU and UK policies, instruments and regulations relevant to managing climate and nature risks. (1/2 day)
  • A deep dive into nature-related financial risks, including risks inherent to specific sectors that drive deforestation and forest degradation such as agriculture and mining in RFN programme countries (Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea). (1 day)
  • An introduction to sustainable finance, including best practice ESG standards, and responsible investment tools (eg. company expectation documents, active ownership approaches, etc.). (1/2 day)
  • An introduction to tools for the management of nature-related financial loss. (1/2 day)
  • Case studies illustrating how European financial institutions have incorporated biodiversity/nature loss into their risk management strategies (RFN can assist with the identification of cases). (1 day)
  • A literature list with a focus on material of interest to practitioners such as interviews, articles in the media, and podcasts. Academic articles may be included but the literature list should be user-friendly, keeping in mind the target audience for the course.

The European course provider must assist with the issuance of required documents for course participants to obtain a visa.

Module 3 – Practical application

Duration, mode of teaching and language: 15 hours over 2 weeks, including offline work in groups/pairs and one online feedback session per group, in Mandarin.

Expected date: July/August 2024.

The exact content and duration of Module 3 will be decided in collaboration with the Chinese course provider. It is envisaged that it will consist of a case study for participants to practice one or more risk management tools covered in Module 2, in pairs or groups, with assistance from teaching staff allocated by the service provider.


Course providers must be universities or research institutes affiliated with a university.

The Chinese course provider must have demonstrated experience with online course delivery.

The European course provider must have access to teaching facilities for the course on a university campus with/near accommodations for 20-30 course participants.

Selection criteria

Proposals will be awarded a maximum of 55 points according to the following criteria:

  • The course provider has senior-level teaching staff /researchers with 10+ years of experience in sustainable finance or related disciplines (20 points)
  • The course provider has demonstrated experience with the delivery of executive education and/or postgraduate courses on sustainable finance in English or Mandarin (20 points)
  • The course provider has demonstrated experience with the delivery of online courses (10 points)
  • The course provider has demonstrated experience with the delivery of custom-made courses for international public, private or non-profit organisations (10 points)
  • The course provider has previously collaborated with/engaged with institutions that may be contacted for interviews/testimonials in Module 1, please specify which and the type of collaboration/engagement (Applicable only to Chinese course provider – 5 points)
  • The course provider has previously collaborated with institutions that may be contacted for participation in Module 2, please specify which and the type of collaboration (Applicable only to European course provider – 5 points)

Proposal format and deadline

Proposals should be sent in MS Word or PDF to by 02 September 2023.

The following information should be included:

  • Course provider name, website, registration number in home country, year of registration, number of staff
  • A suggested course programme based on the structure outlined above. Suggestions for changes should contain an explanation of rationale before change.
  • CVs for all staff involved in course delivery and a detailed indication of how they will be involved (eg. course design, lectures, support functions)
  • A publication list for all staff involved in course delivery, in English
  • A detailed budget in RMB/EUR indicating estimated hourly rate and number of hours for course preparation, delivery, and support for the module(s) in question.

Chinese and European course providers may send one joint or two separate proposals.

Important note on intellectual property rights/copyright

Rainforest Foundation Norway is a nonprofit organisation and the purpose of the course is to make knowledge on sustainable finance widely accessible. All material produced in connection with the course will be co-owned by RFN and the course providers and may be used in the future by any of the parties or their donors, partners, and associates, in any country, without any copyright restrictions. Course providers are free to use course material in their own executive education programmes in the future.