Position Title: Director for Innovative Finance, Forests & Climate Change
Reports to: Executive Director, Forests & Climate Change
Coordinates with: Executive Director, Markets; Forests & Climate Change programmatic priority leads; Regional and Country Directors upon request.
The Forests & Climate Change (FCC) Director for Innovative Finance is responsible for leading development, implementation and coordination of new forest and climate finance initiatives within FCC, in collaboration with the WCS FCC and Markets Teams, and priority field programs -- with the objective of delivering new finance with large-scale positive impact on forests and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Priorities include making high-integrity forests an investable proposition on the basis of their critical role in climate regulation, and the development of large-scale public-private partnerships for expanded protection of high-integrity peatlands. This position is intended to complement, but not substitute for, REDD carbon market programming and expertise in the WCS Markets Team.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (“WCS”) is a New York not-for-profit corporation founded by statute in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through research, science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. That mission is achieved through our global conservation programs (WCS currently oversees a portfolio of more than 500 conservation projects in 65 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America, and the oceans between them) and through the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks–the Bronx Zoo; the New York Aquarium; and the Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos (the City Zoos)
The overarching goal of WCS’s Forest & Climate Change Program is to help realize the full potential of forests to deliver climate change mitigation and adaptation, along with global and regional biodiversity conservation, through a linked set of programmatic priorities: (1) Protecting Intact forests; (2) Preventing the expansion of deforestation and forest degradation; (3) Reforesting in and around priority landscapes; and (4) Building resilience to the impacts of climate change.
We work both globally and in support of WCS field programs to achieve results at scale, using a varied, adaptive set of tools for impact:
Using science, including spatial planning and monitoring, to identify priorities for action and measure our impact from a global scale down to specific landscapes, enabling more effective, adaptive implementation;
Supporting policy reforms to accelerate implementation of each priority at national and regional levels, including through governmental, intergovernmental, and private sector initiatives;
Catalyzing financial investment and innovation to enable effective and durable progress on each priority, and to help key geographies connect with favorable investment opportunities;
Fostering economic alternatives at local and national levels to support green economic development for each priority in ways that both protect forests and promote human well-being;
Building capacity within government and local community partners to effectively lead on implementation and delivery of each priority;
Employing savvy strategic communications to support and amplify all of the above to inform key decisionmakers and the constituencies that influence them.
The position will join an integrated central team aimed at delivering finance for climate initiatives across WCS country and regional programs. The central team includes the WCS Forests & Climate Change leads for forest conservation, reforestation, public policy, science, and communications, along with WCS Markets Team colleagues on REDD+ and deforestation-free agricultural supply chains. The central team works closely with field staff focused on climate finance in multiple regions including Central Africa, Andes Amazon, Mekong, SE Asia Archipelago and Mesoamerica.
Working with the FCC Executive Director, the Director for Innovative Finance will:
Develop and pursue promising new financing opportunities in support of FCC program goals and strategy, including the WCS-led High Integrity Forest Investment Initiative;
Develop, leverage and expand partnerships with the private sector and relevant government finance agencies, including opportunities to expand high integrity peatland conservation;
Collaborate with other FCC program leads, the Markets team and selected Regional and Country Directors to help deliver FCC objectives;
Identify and successfully pursue opportunities for grant funding to support FCC Innovative Finance Programs;
Help translate important forests & climate financial innovations for internal and external audiences, including through WCS-branded and unbranded communications.
Manage, organize, convene and attend high-priority events and meetings.
Participate fully as part of a collaborative FCC leadership team.
Superior knowledge of forests and climate change finance issues
Minimum ten-years’ experience working on forests and climate change finance
Established network in relevant finance/investment community
Evidence of leadership and impact on relevant financing initiatives
Multi-cultural skills and experience working virtually across cultures and time zones
Proven ability to self-direct and collaborate effectively in a complex, global, matrixed organization
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Strong interpersonal and presentation skills
Fluency in relevant financial analysis techniques
Proven ability to translate technical finance into effective communications for non-expert audiences
Commitment to pursuing innovative finance for large-scale real-world impact
Strong interpersonal communication and presentation skills
Successful project and proposal development experience
Willingness to work flexible hours and travel internationally as needed
WCS is an equal opportunity employer and the organization complies with all employment and labor laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in hiring and ensures that candidates from all backgrounds are fairly and consistently considered during the recruitment process. We are dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.