Chief Finance and Operations Officer

  • Barcelona, New York or Miami preferred, other locations within these time zones considered., 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. Over 1,500 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, 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.  Emergent is currently grant-funded, but will become self-sufficient through transaction fees as volumes build.

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 anthropogenic 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 & Operations Officer (CFOO) will be an integral member of Emergent’s Executive team and will lead and oversee Emergent’s Finance & Ops 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. 

The CFOO will report to Emergent’s Executive Director (ED) and work closely with other members of the team, in particular the Chief Portfolio Officer (CPO).  (The CPO is responsible for managing matching supply and demand to initiate Emergent’s transactions, deploying sovereign-backed purchase guarantees, and managing portfolio concentration and counterparty reputational risks).

Responsibilities

  • Work with the Portfolio team to 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.
  • Administer the flow of funds from credit sales to forest jurisdictions.
  • Manage key external relationships, in particular with Emergent’s global banking partner, legal advisors and auditors.
  • With the ED, lead on the definition and iteration of Emergent’s business model and plan, in order to achieve financial sustainability through transaction fees as quickly as possible. 
  • With the Board and Executive Director, source and secure adequate funding to meet Emergent’s operating costs until it becomes financially sustainable through transaction fees.  (Emergent has 18 months’ secured funding from a government backer, and a strong fundraising pipeline in place.)
  • Refine operational functions including finance, HR, IT etc, and manage a growing team to build a culture of responsible finance, good governance and supervision, expense discipline and strong ethics.
  • Manage Emergent’s participation in due diligence processes instigated by corporate buyers, donors and others.
  • Work with the ED on broad organisational development matters.
  • Lead on preparation for Board meetings.

Qualifications

Requirements of the Role

Essential experience and attributes:

  • BA/BS and relevant graduate degree (e.g. MBA, MIA, MPA et al) or equivalent experience
  • Substantial commercial experience, ideally within a corporate environment and including:
    • operations roles, including accountability for financial management
    • experience managing multiple accounts and cashflows
    • exposure to carbon credits
  • Experience managing relationships across a wide range of stakeholders including as many as possible of the following:
    • Corporate and other buyers.
    • Government agencies at national and sub-national level.
    • Bi- and multi-lateral funding agencies.
    • Banks and other financial intermediaries.
    • Carbon markets actors including credit brokers and standards bodies.
    • Legal advisors.
  • Experience identifying and navigating regulatory and tax issues, particularly in the US.
  • Able to flex across all areas of a business, including business development and sales.
  • Experience preparing, negotiating and executing multi-party contracts.
  • The confidence and ability to play a leading role in defining a new organisation’s business model and strategy in a nascent market.
  • A proven strategic thinker, able to constructively challenge and to focus a team on clear objectives.
  • 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.
  • Consistently high levels of accuracy, efficiency and follow-through.
  • Ability to travel internationally at short notice (allowing for Covid travel restrictions).

Preferred experience and attributes:

  • Experience setting up and overseeing back office functions such as finance, HR and IT would be a significant advantage.
  • Experience across multiple sectors, including non-profits, international development and emerging markets. 
  • 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.