Meet the team – Introducing Head of Sustainable Banking, Carolien Samson 

So Carolien, tell us a bit about yourself:  

I was born in South Africa and lived in Johannesburg for the past 20 years until moving to Chester in 2022. I have degrees in Town and Regional Planning, Economics, Law and Development Practice. I have worked in agricultural finance in South Africa for commercial and development banks, covering product development, crop insurance, commodity trading and latterly sustainability and strategy.   

What is your role in Oxbury and when did you join? 

I’m the Head of Sustainable Banking and joined in May 2022, I initially worked from my dining room table in Johannesburg until we arrived in Chester at the end of June 2022 with my husband and two daughters. 

Tell us about your background and how that has led to you working at Oxbury and the role that you are in?  

I spent two decades in agricultural finance in both commercial banking and development finance institutions in South Africa in roles ranging from policy and product development to soft commodity trading. In 2016 my role changed to focus more on strategy and sustainability in agricultural banking. I was part of the founding group of banks that developed the Principles of Responsible Banking and became involved in assessing climate risk for agricultural finance.  

When Oxbury launched, I saw an article and said to my husband that it could be interesting to work there! My current role includes all matters relating to sustainability, climate and nature risk, and reporting. Since our impact is through our customers, I spend a lot of time looking at how we measure customer impact and assessing technologies that could support our customers in a transition.  

How do your colleagues describe you in 3 words?   

  • Thoughtful 
  • Enthusiastic 
  • Pragmatic 

What do you like most in your current role? 

I get to meet customers who are undertaking small and large changes on their farms which will make them more resilient in the future, while also reducing emissions and enhancing nature and that is inspiring. I get to talk to many exceptionally knowledgeable people in climate and nature-risk and try to identify the topics which will help us as a bank or our customers to adapt and become more sustainable. 

Do you have a funny moment you can share that has happened to you at work or on farm?  

My colleagues managed to talk me into taking part in a 10km run to raise money for our charity of the year, The Country Trust. I do not run and managed to finish last by many minutes in the race through the Cheshire lanes of Farndon 

 What is your proudest moment from working at Oxbury? 

The release of our Natural Capital Report in 2023, Oxbury became the first bank with UK headquarters to disclose the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, it was a huge privilege to write one of the first combined nature and climate risk reports in the world. I’m also very proud of the natural capital training that we introduced in 2023, every employee irrespective of role attended a one day of in-person training conducted by myself to understand how natural capital affects the bank and our customers. To date more than 160 employees have been trained. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself or an interesting, yet unhelpful fact that you know? 

I was an official cricket scorer at club, provincial and international level in South Africa and scored some memorable games at Centurion Park immediately after South Africa’s re-admission to international sport in the 1990s, including the infamous fixed test match in 2000 between South Africa and England.