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Senior Director, Sustainable Finance, NCS

Website Environmental Defense Fund


US Posting: Senior Director, Sustainable Finance, NCS

Preferred locations:

US: Washington, DC; New York; San Francisco; Remote-US

Europe: Belgium, Netherlands


Willing To Consider Qualified Candidates From Other Geographies.

EDF’s Natural Climate Solutions Initiative is a new global initiative and matrixed team whose goals rise to the level of the enormity of the climate crisis. Through taking a systems change approach that harnesses EDF’s unique capabilities in science, economics, policy, corporate partnerships and market design, we seek to bring forward catalytic solutions that, by 2030, will result in critical global-scale contributions to halting destruction and degradation of forest, peatlands, coastal and other natural systems, while rapidly growing natural carbon accumulation through sustainable management and restoration. The scope of this work is global in nature, with near-term priorities on tropical forests and emerging priorities on temperate and blue carbon systems, amongst others.


The Senior Director of Sustainable Finance, Natural Climate Solutions, is a first-of-function role for EDF’s rapidly growing Natural Climate Solutions team. Working in close collaboration with EDF counterparts in +Biz, Global Economics and others, as well as with a network of external partners, the Senior Director of Finance will deliver overall vision, leadership, and entrepreneurial know-how to ensure that up-front public and private financing is available on the terms, volumes, and timelines required for key stakeholders to scale-up implementation of EDF-supported natural climate solution approaches.

In so doing, the Senior Director will deliver against the 5 following core objectives:

  • In collaboration with key partners, identify, pilot and bring to scale financing structures such as loans, commercial investment funds, revolving funds, blended financing facilities, and/or endowments required to enable jurisdictions participating in the LEAF coalition to access up-front financing for carbon credit generation.
  • Advise and/or co-create with key stakeholders and legal counsel, inclusive governance structures (governing and advisory boards, operating rules for funds, legal entities such as Special Purpose Vehicles) required to enable effective and transparent management of these financing structures.
  • Design and execute strategies resulting in the capitalization of such financing structures at sufficient scale (i.e., the 9-figure level), while also enhancing access to funds through social inclusion and/or direct access funding windows.
  • Design, pilot and scale complementary non-carbon credit public and private finance structures that further leverage investment and align to tropical forest priorities.
  • Draw lessons learned from tropical forest engagement to roll out design of such financial mechanisms globally, including in temperate forests and blue carbon systems.

A priority focus in years 1-2 will be on co-creating financial structures to support implementation of REDD+ programs in tropical forest regions, and complementary financing around that, with an expectation to scale up efforts to other geographies and NCS types over time consistent with EDF’s global Natural Climate Solutions strategy.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Vision and Innovation

  • With key colleagues and partners, lead the creation of a sustainable finance strategy and workplan, and take accountability for its execution.
  • In close collaboration with EDF colleagues and external partners, identify and co-create novel financing structures required to unlock up-front financing at the scale required for tropical countries to implement their LEAF, avoided deforestation and sustainable development objectives on the ground.
  • Establish and guide long-term governance and implementation arrangements to drive transparency, monitor the progress of financial vehicles, and carry out adaptive management and troubleshooting required to ensure successful implementation.
  • Innovate mechanisms for social inclusion within these funding vehicles to facilitate equitable access for marginalized groups, including, i.e., direct access windows.
  • Scope and assess complementary public financing opportunities, generating analyses and advice to support creation and/or targeting of public finance to NCS.
  • Engage in co-creation of new market design mechanisms in other geographies and NCS types (i.e. temperate forests, blue carbon), and progressive scoping, iteration, implementation and scale-up of financing mechanisms for these additional systems types.
  • Proactively engage in institutional planning and strategy processes and foster effective internal collaboration in a matrixed working environment.


  • Help build a high-performing, results-oriented and mission-driven team of consultants, partners and/or staff that reflects EDF’s vision, values and culture, creating a positive work environment.
  • Guide, motivate and develop personnel, prioritizing professional development and ensuring staff understand how their work relates to EDF’s global strategy.
  • Participate in advancing EDF Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) 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.
  • Take accountability for effective and impactful implementation, ensuring that EDF attains its technical, financial and contractual commitments for work under the Senior Directors’ purview.
  • Proactively identify and manage risks, escalating as necessary to senior leadership.
  • Ensure compliance with EDF’s policies, procedures and project management processes, and actively contribute to the strengthening of these.

Partnerships and External Engagement:

  • Serve as a global thought leader and thought partner to influence the broader global sustainable public and private finance agenda, through active engagement in priority multi-stakeholder platforms.
  • Periodically author op-eds or other thought pieces to enhance EDF’s positioning and drive uptake of finance solutions.
  • Proactively strengthen existing and cultivate new partnerships from all sectors (public, private, nonprofit, etc) that enable EDF expand the scope, scale and impact of its finance work.
  • Serve as primary contact point with Emergent and other key EDF partners to assess and bridge financing gaps for LEAF implementation.

Business Development/Fundraising

  • In collaboration with EDF+Business and other colleagues, design and execute a recruitment strategy to secure investors for financial structures.
  • In collaboration with EDF+Business, Communications and other colleagues, create profiles, sell sheets and other communications materials that articulate the business case for investment to diverse stakeholders.
  • In partnership with senior leadership and development, lead and/or serve as key contributor to the design, writing and budgeting of fundraising proposals.
  • In partnership with senior leadership and development, cultivate and engage new funding prospects.


  • Graduate degree in economics, finance, or public policy with 12+ years of relevant experience; experience working on issues of finance with applications to climate, natural climate solutions, market-based incentives, and/or sustainable development strongly preferred.
  • Track record of successful innovation and implementation of a range of financial instruments geared towards sustainable land use in tropical countries.
  • Familiarity and experience working in impact investing and/or creation of PES markets.
  • Background in investment banking desirable.
  • Demonstrated results building coalitions and/or co-creating financial products with internal and external partners.
  • Experience managing a team of staff to deliver results within a thriving team environment with a commitment to team health, mentorship & staff development, and work-life balance.
  • Evidence of a collaborative mindset, demonstrated through prior experiences and results.
  • Willingness and ability to engage in regular travel domestically and internationally, up to 25% of time.
  • Excellent communication skills, oral and written.
  • Oral and written fluency in English and at least one other of Spanish, Portuguese or French.
  • Demonstrates initiative, embodied by the ability to deliver results in complex, unstructured environments with limited direction/supervision.
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Flexibility: demonstrates ability and/or experiences delivering results and working effectively in a fast-paced, start-up environment.
  • Demonstrated results developing fundraising proposals and cultivating donors is preferred
  • Alignment and commitment to EDF’s mission and core values.

Note: When submitting your application materials, please be sure to submit all documents in English.

Hiring Range

We offer a strong total rewards package encompassing competitive salary, robust benefits, and professional development opportunities consistent with a modern global organization.

The pay range for this role is 155,000 – 165,000 USD which takes into account factors such as candidate experience, skills, training, internal team equity and local norms.

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.