Vice President, Natural Climate Solutions

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace where innovation and results are a way of life.

 

EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share our Core Values of Respect, Results, Innovation, Optimism, and Integrity, and support our Commitment to Diversity.  

Overall Function

 

Greatly increased implementation of natural climate solutions is critical to meeting global climate goals and delivering additional environmental, social, and economic benefits to communities around the world. This work is a key element of EDF’s overall climate strategy and the VP will drive overall vision, strategy and leadership of EDF’s work to advance natural climate solutions. Through developing strong relationships with key internal and external stakeholders and integrating the work of teams across EDF, the VP will deliver on the following core objectives:  

  • Lead the development and implementation of an EDF Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) strategic plan. Integrate and expand current work within specific biome types to advance an overall theory of victory that highlights and advances practices and pathways to move toward integrated implementation of high value carbon credits across a range of natural systems. Build a wide range of supply and demand partners to maximize impact through those pathways.
  • Work collaboratively across EDF teams and with external partners to advance work within each biome type and orchestrate a global, science-based approach to provide natural climate benefits, through either negative emissions or emissions reductions.
  • Fully integrate results into regional and global efforts to implement systemic, high value carbon credits in public and private markets, in order to supply high integrity supplies of regional and global NCS carbon to satisfy current and future market demand. Place special emphasis on growing jurisdictional level tropical forest supply across target jurisdictions and globally.
  • Work with EDF +Biz and other partners to build private and public sector demand and funding for natural carbon credits.
  • Proactively identify and act on opportunities to execute natural climate solutions and deliver just and equitable outcomes with particular emphasis on communities in the developing world where companion social and economic benefits are critical to success.

The VP will advocate for, represent, and amplify EDF’s natural climate solutions work. They will build instrumental partnership with key external stakeholders including funders, NGOs, on-the-ground partners, government officials, and corporate leaders. In addition, the VP will lead collaborative efforts with teams across EDF including members of our Office of Chief Scientist (OCS), Office of Chief Economist (OCE), and more. They will tirelessly, diplomatically, and persuasively identify challenges the team has the unique capacity to tackle to advance this work and seek funding to support that work. The VP will serve as a key strategic leader in intertwining sound science, economics, policy and strategic communications. They will report to the Senior Vice President, People and Nature and actively participate in the People and Nature leadership team.

 

Primary Responsibilities

 

Leadership and Strategic Vision

  • Lead the development and creation of a focused, collaborative, entrepreneurial and sustainable strategy across EDF to implement the organization’s Natural Climate Solutions goals and strategies in collaboration with OCS.
  • Demonstrate and use political skills and public policy knowledge to build non-partisan alliances to move goals and strategies forward.
  • Lead, manage, and develop geographically dispersed teams, creating a shared sense of purpose and vision within team and across EDF and collaborating effectively to manage delivery of outcomes as defined by the program vision.
  • Ensure robust scientific and economic foundations underpin the NCS strategy by partnering closely with experts in OCS and OCE. Collaborate with the People and Nature leadership team and contribute to and support overall EDF strategy development.
  • Proactively identify and capitalize on opportunities to expand NCS impacts and manage risks.
  • Monitor and stay informed of like organizations’ work on emerging NCS issues.
  • Effectively communicate program achievements, progress, challenges, and opportunities to stakeholders, board members, EDF senior leadership, and other internal and external audiences.

External Relations and Partnerships

  • Collaborate with senior development staff and internal partners to develop and execute a diversified fundraising action plan to secure a robust pipeline of funders interested in NCS work and contribute to proposal development and reporting.
  • Cultivate relationships with board members and external stakeholders to identify other areas of program growth, including programmatic work and/or new funders.
  • Identify and implement partnerships with other members of the environmental community, influential academic institutions, and other stakeholders to achieve key programmatic goals.
  • Work with the SVP, program staff, marketing and communications, and other expert leaders to create momentum within industry, governmental and advocacy circles for the cause of improving uptake and implementation of NCS to the degree appropriate.
  • Represent the organization externally, making public presentations as required and engaging and building relationships with the media, elected officials, and government (agency) representatives to keep them apprised of progress and share EDF’s expertise on NCS.

Organizational Management

  • Promote an organizational culture and structure that fosters cooperation, communication, collaboration, teamwork and trust, and embraces diversity.
  • Collaborate as an experienced enterprise leader and strategize outside of core function.
  • Engage with peers to proactively create stronger collaboration between and across programs and identify cross-cutting funding opportunities.
  • Hire, train, supervise, and mentor staff, providing them with professional development activities that upgrade skills, support learning, motivate performance and promote retention.
  • Develop and manage program budgets with regards to program deliverables and outcomes.
  • Participate in advancing EDF DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values

Qualifications

 

The successful candidate will have the following minimum qualifications:

  • Experience leading and developing dynamic staff teams.
  • Advanced degree in relevant field and 15+ years of substantive, relevant work experience, including experience in an NGO or government setting or a related focused enterprise.
  • Thorough knowledge of current trends and technical excellence in the development and implementation of NCS related solutions in domestic, international and global settings.
  • Scientific literacy to apply NCS strategies across a variety of systems types at regional and global scales.
  • Excellent team-building skills and a collaborative leadership style with the ability to empower and inspire staff.
  • Ability to encourage staff development and collective buy-in and the capacity to enforce accountability and position individuals and teams for success.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and implementing a strategic vision.
  • A history of tangible fundraising success at high levels (7+figures) both in stewarding donors and helping to secure large gifts.
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship management skills with proven ability to attract funders and partners by communicating a compelling and inspired sense of purpose.
  • A strong understanding of public policy with a proven track record of building alliances and working with policymakers—experience achieving results in public policy through outreach and advocacy preferred.
  • Strong reputation and network among conservation organizations and leaders in the nonprofit, philanthropic, government, and for-profit sectors highly desirable.
  • Experience managing geographically dispersed staff.
  • Strong entrepreneurial capabilities and ability to foster innovation.
  • Excellent communication skills and experience with public speaking and working with the media.
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Willingness and ability to engage in regular travel, up to 30%.
  • Commitment to and passion for EDF’s mission, vision, and values.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

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