Chief Finance and Portfolio Officer

  • Barcelona, New York or Miami preferred, OTHER
  • Employees can work remotely
  • Full-time

Company Description

Forests are crucial to all life on Earth. They capture and store carbon and are one of the most promising, large-scale, and cost-effective opportunities to combat climate change. Rainforests also sustain rainfalls, food supply, vital ecosystems, and livelihoods for over a billion people. Protecting them is not just a moral imperative, it is essential for a stable, prosperous, and sustainable future for us all. As the COVID-19 crisis highlights, we live in a fragile and interconnected world where sustainability cannot be taken for granted.

There is increasing recognition of the urgency of climate change. The Paris Agreement in 2015 committed governments to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. 760 major corporations have committed to climate neutrality, and over 40 countries have implemented some form of carbon pricing scheme.  After two decades of putting necessary, effective, high integrity standards and market mechanisms in place, The Emergent Forest Finance Accelerator (“Emergent”) has the historic opportunity to channel this momentum to solving the deforestation crisis.

Emergent helps safeguard the world’s tropical forests by building a global market for forest carbon credits. Countries generate these credits by reducing deforestation and tropical deforestation (called “REDD+”). For forest countries, Emergent provides a guaranteed source of demand by facilitating access to a range of high-volume buyers, backed by a purchase guarantee from donors, giving countries the certainty need-ed to make investments in forest protection and chart a new course. For buyers, Emergent provides access to the highest-quality REDD+ credits, enabling them to meet their climate neutrality goals.

In the case of corporate purchases of credits, Emergent contracts via a standard ERPA with corporate buyers on a forward, unit-contingent basis.  Credits purchased from jurisdictions (also via ERPA) are sold to buyers, with the resulting revenues transferred, minus a small transaction fee, to jurisdictions via UN/World Bank-accredited ‘financial intermediaries’ (FIs).  FIs will be contracted by Emergent to provide these transfer services, and to work with jurisdictions to report on the use of the funds for pre-agreed purposes. 

In the case of price guarantee purchases, Emergent transfers funding from OECD governments to jurisdictions in return for credits which are then retired.  (As well as providing a demand signal to jurisdictions, these transactions are effectively government-to-government ‘results-based payments’ for progress in reducing deforestation.)  Before use, these funds may be held by Emergent or potentially in a trust fund arrangement administered by a multilateral such as the UN.

Job Description

Position Overview:

Any plausible pathway to the goals of the Paris Agreement includes the preservation of the Earth’s natural carbon sinks.  On land, the most important of these sinks are tropical forests, which hold nearly half of terrestrial carbon and biodiversity.  Their destruction for unsustainable agriculture and timber creates 10-15% of anthropgenic carbon emissions – more than the entire European Union.

Emergent is a mission-focused focused non-profit designed to create a pathway to zero tropical deforestation.  Emergent acts as an intermediary between forest countries and the private sector, facilitating transactions of high-integrity carbon credits from national-scale forest protection programmes. Backed by a coalition of governments, NGOs and major corporations, Emergent is catalysing a market that will channel billions of dollars of new funding into tropical forest protection and sustainable development.  More information on Emergent and its approach is below.

With credits expected to become available in 2022 and initial transaction volumes in the tens of millions of tons (tCO2e) building to hundreds of millions of tons within a few years, Emergent expects to receive substantial flows of private sector funds underwritten by sovereign guarantees.  The Chief Finance & Portfolio Officer (CFPO) will be an integral member of Emergent’s Executive team and will lead and oversee Emergent’s Portfolio team.  This is an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic leader and team player to join an ambitious, mission-focused group working to create a plausible, market-driven pathway to zero deforestation.

Responsibilities:

Under the CFPO’s leadership, the Portfolio team will (1) negotiate terms, structure agreements and execute transactions; (2) deploy sovereign-backed purchase guarantees; (3) manage portfolio concentration and counterparty reputational risks; (4) administer the flow of funds from credit sales to forest jurisdictions, including post-transaction reporting on the use of those funds.

Specific responsibilities:

  • Design and implement the resilient and scalable processes, policies, controls, infrastructure and partnerships Emergent needs to manage multi-million dollar transactions safely and with the confidence of its board, customers, suppliers and philanthropic/donor backers.
  • Maximise sales and minimise portfolio risk.
  • Oversee ERPA negotiations and contract finalisation, with external legal support as required.
  • Execute transactions once ERPAs are signed, including delivery of credits and receipt of funds.
  • Develop and manage Emergent’s strategy for credit placement with buyers.
  • Establish, develop, and lead Emergent’s Investment Committee.
  • Manage and report on Emergent’s portfolio risks.
  • Develop and execute Emergent’s strategy for use of its donor-funded floor price guarantee facility.
  • Design and implement a process for routing and reporting on funds from credit sales to jurisdictions via third party financial intermediaries.  (Emergent is recruiting a Director of Fund Control and Reporting, who will lead on this and report to the CFPO).
  • Work closely with Emergent’s Origination and Commercialization teams to ensure that fund control and reporting are effectively integrated across Emergent’s business development, transactions and communications.
  • Ensure effective working relationships, rooted in trust and transparency, between all parties involved in Emergent’s fund controls and reporting.

Qualifications

Essential experience and attributes:

  • 15+ years’ experience of executing complex transactions, gained in investment banking, commodities, carbon trading or similar.
  • Experience in managing a portfolio of assets.
  • Experience in negotiating and finalising multi-million dollar contracts.
  • Familiarity in sourcing and working with lawyers.
  • Experience identifying and navigating regulatory and tax issues, particularly in the US.Bachelor's degree required; master’s degree in business, economics, international development, law, or equivalent preferred.
  • Passion for the mission of Emergent.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead teams through complexity and ambiguity, and to act as an ambassador for the organisation.
  • Detail-oriented with strong analytical and administrative skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal, presentation, and communication skills.
  • Decisiveness and pragmatism.
  • Willingness and ability to work within a small team, ‘start-up’ and predominantly virtual environment.

Preferred experience and attributes:

  • English fluency required; Spanish, Portuguese, French or Bahasa a bonus.
  • Experience working with governments, especially in low/middle-income countries.
  • Experience working with donors and/or multilateral development agencies.

Additional Information

Applicants must have work authorization in the US or Europe.

Emergent provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, local or other applicable laws.

Please include your cover letter and resume as a single PDF document when applying.