Ecosphere+ makes senior appointments and announces new collaboration
PRESS RELEASE - London, UK - 02 February 2017 - Ecosphere+ today announces several key appointments to its senior team, bringing a broad set of skills and experience to launch its sales and marketing operations.
Ecosphere+ was established by the Althelia Climate Fund in September 2016 to develop and scale the market for carbon assets, environmental services and sustainably produced commodities generated through transformational forest conservation and sustainable landuse projects.
Lisa Walker, the former Vice President of Environment and Climate Change at BG Group (now part of Royal Dutch Shell), was appointed CEO of the venture in September 2016.
The full-time team reporting to Lisa will now include:
- Kate Dillon Levin – VP, North American Sales & Marketing
- Jessica Verhagen – VP, Business Development & Strategy
- Gustavo Gamio – Latin American Sales & Marketing
- Lucy Arndt – Sales & Business Development Manager
- Naazia Ebrahim – Strategic Analyst
Anna Lehmann, agronomist and natural resources expert, is also supporting Ecosphere+ as a Technical Adviser.
Commenting, Lisa Walker, CEO of Ecosphere+, said:
“I’m thrilled we have been able to bring together such a talented team to launch Ecosphere+. Our business has been created to bring innovative new approaches to financing the protection of the planet’s most valuable climate assets - our forested landscapes. Creating a market for the carbon assets, environmental services and commodities from sustainable landuse will incentivise new business models, as well as establish a practical means of valuing carbon emissions.
We have recruited a strong blend of skills in the new team to drive our mission. The team brings together experience of consumer as well as industry initiatives, policy and politics, financing and technical skills. Most importantly, there is a strong energy among the team to have a material impact and bring a new and creative mindset to the way we think about natural assets.”
As well as the core team, Ecosphere+ is also announcing its collaboration today with Andrew Mitchell, founder and former-CEO of the Global Canopy Programme.
Andrew will join Ecosphere+ as a Senior Adviser and Chair of the Advisory Board.
Commenting, Andrew Mitchell, Senior Adviser to Ecosphere+, said:
“I’m delighted to be joining Ecosphere+ with the chance to work with such a diverse and talented group of people. Fulfilling the Ecosphere+ mission to scale up demand for environmental assets and sustainable landuse is absolutely vital. Forest landscapes provide the most scalable and cost effective, natural solution to climate change, as well as a wealth of other social and economic benefits. Unlike a factory, forests cannot easily be re-built. The ecosystem services they provide to the whole world are huge, underpinning food, climate, water, energy and livelihood security for us all. That’s why the Ecosphere+ mission is so important.”
Lisa Walker recently left BG Group (now part of Royal Dutch Shell), where she served as Vice President for Environment & Climate Change, to become CEO of Ecosphere+. Lisa worked in the oil and gas sector for >17 years and has been closely involved in all aspects of climate change strategy development and implementation, public policy formation, coalition building and low-carbon business development. She has been actively promoting and developing carbon markets since 1999 and was a driving force behind a number of coalitions such as the UK Emissions Trading Group, the CCAC Oil & Gas Methane Partnership, the Sustainable Gas Institute and the CEO-led Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI).
Before BG Group Lisa held various roles at BP including Director of the BP Carbon Ventures corporate VC fund focused on development of a diversified carbon finance portfolio. Lisa successfully secured capital for a number of innovative investments around the world including forestry, REDD+, sustainable land management, carbon farming, low-carbon technologies and bio-energy, including a number of first-of-their-kind deals for the private sector such as investment in the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
Andrew is the Founding Director of the Global Canopy Programme, an environmental think tank based in Oxford and is Senior Adviser to Ecosphere+. He is an international thought leader on tropical forests and climate change with extensive field experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Andrew has 40 years of experience at the frontline of conservation policy in developing countries and was the co-founder of Earthwatch Institute in the UK. At GCP he has strongly advocated for a halt to the global destruction of tropical forests and the inclusion of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in the UN climate regime.
Andrew has a strong track record of working with the corporate and finance sector on sustainability. He initiated the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project (now CDP Forests) that is today backed by 365 investors managing assets of USD 22 trillion. Andrew also jointly established the Natural Capital Finance Alliance, that engages 160 banks, insurers and investors and civil society organisations on designing tools to help the financial sector take natural capital into account in its future lending and investments. Andrew was Special Adviser to the Prince of Wales’ Rainforests Project and has experience developing green bonds in tropical landscapes for capital markets.
Andrew trained as a zoologist at the University of Bristol and spent his early years pioneering research in the high canopy of tropical rainforests. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford and was a Research Associate at the University’s Zoology Department.
Kate Dillon Levin
Kate has worked on REDD+ and sustainable land use for the past nine years at Fundacion Natura Bolivia, UNDP Equator Initiative, Code REDD/Stand For Trees, and Stockholm Environment Institute, focusing on scaling and mainstreaming private sector support for sustainable land use finance. Kate earned a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009 following a long career as a fashion model. Kate is based in Seattle, Washington.
Jessica has been at the intersection of environment and finance for over a decade, working in the British Columbia government designing some of North America’s first carbon pricing mechanisms. Jessica then joined the founding team to launch Evok Innovations, a private sector $100 million fund that invests in clean technologies to reduce greenhouse gases. Following this, Jessica worked for a cleantech startup, Axine, raising capital and developing its go-to-market strategy.
Gustavo studied Business Administration at the Universidad de Lima, specializing in Marketing. After thirteen years in the corporate sector – including as the marketing supervisor of Visanet, the Peruvian representative of Visa International, which processes 80% of credit/debit cards transactions in Peru – he decided to make a career change to pursue goals relevant to his personal values. He joined the Althelia team in Peru, using his corporate skills and experience to support conservation and sustainable development pathways for tropical forests and local populations in Peru, and then transitioned to Ecosphere+.
Anna is a climate finance expert, natural resources economist and agronomist with on-the-ground working experience in the design and implementation of sustainable land use projects in East and South East Asia, Africa and Latin America. Anna has been involved in the carbon market from the beginning and worked along the full project cycle of GHG emission reduction projects. She served as investment advisor for two carbon and clean energy funds and draws on more than 15 years working experience in international climate, energy and land use policy, of which eight years in high-level climate policy advisory. Since 2008, Anna holds a Board Seat with London based Climate Market and Investment Association (CMIA) and is acting Vice President Policy.
Lucy has a background in addressing sustainability and climate risks and opportunities within the private sector. At BG Group, a FTSE10 oil and gas company, she worked on developing environment and climate change strategy and building multi-stakeholder climate initiatives to drive industry action. She also led the sustainability communication programme, achieving the highest transparency ratings for the energy industry. She holds a Master’s in Sustainable Development from the University of St Andrews where she co-founded a Scottish Government Climate Challenge funded community behavior change initiative. Lucy joins Ecosphere+ after working in Kenya for a REDD+ project.
Naazia works in the space between strategic policy and implementation, and between policy, governance, and science. Originally an engineer specializing in nanotechnology, she made a career change into international environmental policy, and earned a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She represented the Maldives in UNFCCC and Rio+20 negotiations, and then worked with the USFS in Alaska. She then moved to the OECD in Paris, where she worked on the political economy of biodiversity policy reform and on financing options for marine protected areas, before joining Ecosphere+.
Ecosphere+ was established in 2016 as a new venture for the Althelia Climate Fund. Its purpose is to build global market demand for undervalued environmental assets and their services, including incentivising new business models that put a price on carbon. For more information: www.ecosphere.plus
Althelia Climate Fund is an international impact investment fund that provides strategic finance to projects that are preventing and reducing worldwide deforestation, conserving biodiversity rich primary forest and delivering sustainable and dignified livelihoods to some of the world’s poorest communities. For more information: www.althelia.com