| May 30, 2024

Director, Blue Carbon Positive Business Models

Guest Author

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  • Full Time
  • Remote

Website Conservation International

Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork, and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, biodiversity, and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples, and local communities to help people and nature thrive together.

POSITION SUMMARY – This position is based preferably in Arlington, VA. It is also open to Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Belgium, France (Remote), or United Kingdom (Remote)

Conservation International (CI) and our partners are pioneering a new initiative to save our coastal ecosystems while driving economic growth by establishing a Blue Carbon Positive Business Model Activator (BC+). BC+ goes beyond traditional carbon credits, focusing on sustainable, economically viable business models with broad applicability that benefit both the environment and the people who depend on it. By creating regenerative blue carbon businesses, BC+ aims to provide local incentives through economic growth and coastal protection, promoting a transition to a more sustainable and prosperous future where nature and humanity thrive together.

Coastal blue carbon ecosystems — mangroves, seagrasses, tidal marshes, and kelp — are some of Earth’s most biodiverse habitats, providing unparalleled carbon sequestration capabilities per unit area and ecosystem services that are critical for fisheries, water quality, local livelihoods, and coastal resiliency from climate change. Nevertheless, persistent threats have resulted in nearly half of these ecosystems’ degradation or loss. This decline deprives communities of essential ecosystem services, endangers biodiversity, and releases up to 1.9 Gigatons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere each year. Carbon finance is one strategy for driving investment in coastal conservation and restoration. However, projects have primarily relied on small-scale alternative livelihoods and have yet to be able to produce significant returns. With limited economic improvements compared to prior practices, backsliding to destructive practices is common. Moreover, gaining access to carbon finance is complicated and costly. Many areas with high carbon finance potential lack the enabling conditions (regulation, clear ownership, capacity) to engage the market.

To address these challenges, CI is partnering with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to establish the BC+ program. BC+ will accelerate the development of emerging business models that tightly weave protection and production goals, making coastal habitat preservation a crucial component of success.

CI is looking for a Director to co-lead the creation and longer-term management of the BC+ program. The Director will work closely with internal and external partners, including collaborating with CI experts in the Center for Natural Climate Solutions, the Center for Oceans, the Conservation Finance Division, and the International Blue Carbon Institute. The Director will also work directly with their counterpart at TNC.

We seek a highly skilled and entrepreneurial business professional with a strong background in sustainable finance, investment analysis, and business startups and a deep passion for addressing the climate crisis, protecting our oceans, and enhancing community well-being. The Director will be able to design and execute innovative financial models, forge strategic partnerships, provide project management services, and develop strategies that maximize the potential of regenerative blue carbon business models as natural climate solutions. They will work with a high degree of independence and professionalism and continuously engage key internal and external partners critical to program success, including country program staff and partners. They will provide broad programmatic, budget, and technical oversight and ensure compliance with CI policies, program and funding agreements, and local requirements. They must maintain strong relationships with current donors and actively pursue new funding sources in partnership with CI’s development staff and partners. The Director will lead an interdisciplinary network team and engage and influence key external stakeholders, including government and NGO officials, donors, and other parties critical to program success and achieving BC+ goals.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Programmatic Leadership:

  • Lead the BC+ team to define a vision, strategy, and priorities that support CI’s institutional goals.
  • Position CI as a recognized and sought-after leader in ocean climate change initiatives.
  • Ensure effective planning, program development, work plans, and associated partner engagement achieve the goals and priorities of the BC+ program.
  • Ensure internal CI alignment and coordination around the BC+ goals and actions.
  • Continuously represent the organization externally.  Serve as a trusted and visible point of contact for CI.
  • Directly supervise program and project staff, including overseeing the work of external partners.
  • Manage the program’s budget and finances and ensure compliance with donor requirements and CI policies.
  • Build and maintain strategic partnerships with private and public funders, policymakers, and international alliances focused on ocean and climate issues.

 

BC+ Business Model Development

  • Develop a pipeline of both investment-ready and non-investment-ready enterprises that deliver community and climate-based outcomes based in coastal wetland conservation and restoration.
  • Identify and pursue diverse funding sources, such as grants, various concessional and impact investment strategies, nature-based credits, and philanthropic contributions, and assess potential returns and risks to ensure a sustainable and diversified financial structure for the BC+ Business Models.
  • Provide consulting and advisory services to country program staff, communities, and multi-sector partners, supporting them in designing, executing, and scaling new business and finance initiatives.
  • Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to address governance and policy challenges that may impact the efficient and equitable deployment of funds for project implementation.
  • Identify and support policies and regulatory frameworks that facilitate the flow of financing to communities and remove barriers to successful project implementation.
  • Collaborate with global and country teams across CI to increase effectiveness, learning, dissemination of best practices, and continued improvement of global, regional and country strategies and programs, including participating in conferences, workshops, and knowledge-sharing platforms.
  • Persuasively communicate complex finance and market concepts to internal and external stakeholders with diverse backgrounds.

 

Fundraising and Financial Management

  • Ensure the financial sustainability of the BC+Program by securing necessary funding and support. Regularly partner with CI programs and external partners on funding proposals and regional/global fundraising efforts.
  • Partner with CI development staff to identify and develop potential sources of support.
  • Oversee CI’s collaboration with TNC and third-party Fiscal Sponsors to ensure accurate reporting to donors and impacts are fully and effectively communicated.

 

Other duties as assigned by supervisor.

WORKING CONDITIONS

  • Local and/or international travel of 25% or more, often in difficult travel conditions.
  • Ability to work in remote locations or under difficult working conditions.
  • Flexibility in work schedule in order to accommodate time differences among HQ, field programs, and partners.
  • This position follows a hybrid work structure, working some days from the office and some remotely. Guidance will be shared during the interview process.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

Required

Technical Knowledge:

  • Bachelor’s degree in international development, finance, business, or related field.
  • 7 or more years of experience in business, impact investment, sustainable economic development, or a related field, or an equivalent combination of education and professional experience.
  • 2 or more years of supervisory experience.
  • Program leadership and project management experience, with alignment on initiatives and driving successful execution of complex, cross-functional projects.
  • Experience developing strong relationships with diverse internal and external stakeholders, including business, investors, governments, NGOs, community members, program leadership, and related audiences.
  • Critical thinking, research, and analysis skills, including assessing a large set of opportunities and distill complex issues into strategic decisions, structured frameworks, and cohesive action plans.

 

Domain & Subject Matter Expertise:  

  • Knowledge of common public and private sector investment structures and mechanisms (e.g. blended financing, credit enhancements, concessional financing tools, etc.) relevant to conservation and development financing;
  • The position requires that the Director remain up to date on key economic and environmental issues and trends in relevant sectors and industries (e.g. seafood, fishing, aquaculture, marine tourism, blue carbon, etc.)

 

Financial Planning & Analysis  

  • Preparation, review, analysis, and interpretation of both general-purpose financial statements and reports (i.e. financial accounting), and financial forecasts, plans, budgets, and reports (i.e. managerial accounting).
  • Development, evaluation, and interpretation of ad hoc financial and economic analyses, models, and decision tools.

 

Direct Investments Transactions  

  • Basic fluency of investment term sheets.
  • Preparation of investment memoranda, and coordination and management of due diligence, contracting, and disbursement requirements and processes.

 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:  

  • Strong analytical and conceptual skills, and demonstrated ability to understand, evaluate, and interpret a broad range of economic, financial, scientific, and non-technical information used in economic decision-making.
  • Superior written, oral, and interpersonal communication and presentation skills in English required, other languages are a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully execute on multiple workstreams with varying degrees of complexity. Ability to work independently.

 

Preferred

  • MBA or a degree in finance, business, or a related field, and experience, preferably in sustainable finance, venture or private equity investing, or management consulting.
  • Familiarity with coastal ecosystems and relevant value chains, including those related to agroforestry, livestock, fisheries, or ecotourism.
  • Familiarity with barriers to scaling sustainable economic initiatives, such as lack of access to capital, markets, and technical assistance; unfavorable public policies; and outsized resources and subsidies flowing toward unsustainable development options.
  • Experience applying or developing models to define, measure, and evaluate social and environmental impact, and adapt programs accordingly.
  • Familiarity with carbon markets, impact investing, blended finance, or a related field.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, organizational skills, political savviness.
  • Multi-cultural experience appreciated, including experience working directly with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and smallholder producers.
  • Multi-cultural experience, with fluency in Spanish, French, Indonesian, and/or other languages.

 

ID:2235

To apply for this job please visit phh.tbe.taleo.net.