Posted on August 3, 2012
Director, Sustainable Finance Initiative
Rainforest Alliance - Director, Sustainable Finance Initiative
The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Based in New York City, with offices throughout the United States and worldwide, the Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers.
Over the years, Rainforest Alliance has sought to engage the financial sector in diverse areas such as: linking small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to supply chain finance and capital finance generally, assisting financial institutions to assess environmental and social risks related to investments; hedge fund and private equity work around sustainability; carbon-finance in the voluntary market; and; sustainable sourcing and environmental impact reduction. Much of this work has been and continues to be carried out in different technical programs. The needs for small scale finance and its role in sustainability warrants a more concerted, coordinated and scaled up effort by Rainforest Alliance. Therefore the organization has decided to undertake a Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) that provides the home and context for this position.
Position Summary: The primary goal of the Director, Sustainable Finance Initiative will be to develop and manage a sustainably resourced initiative. S/he will be responsible for enhancing opportunities and capacities for SMEs/ producers to access finance on a sustainable basis and influence the traditional lending that investors make to large businesses in a way that increases their impact on and contribution to conservation.
The SFI is envisaged to be a cross program initiative that will require the Director to work across the program divisions (Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Forestry and Tourism) involving, inter alia, developing strategy and materials, training staff, recruiting financial partners and raising funds to grow the initiative.
- Review and create an inventory of Rainforest Alliance’s past and current work in sustainable finance;
- Work across Program/Divisions to develop a viable concept for the SFI and corresponding implementation strategy that supports the overall Rainforest Alliance Strategic Plan;
- Lead the coordination and implementation of the SFI strategy across the organization;
- Increase access to finance by small scale producers and enterprises, and to this end:
Undertake research and due diligence on and develop partnerships with appropriate loan institutions, development banks, microfinance institutions and supply chain partners;
Assess markets and identify “bankable” enterprises and investments;
Develop tools to enable Rainforest Alliance’s technical programs to provide assistance and training to small producers and enterprises in business skills and loan applications;
Adapt or develop sustainability indicators for integration in the planning and assessment of small and medium enterprise.
Link small scale producers and enterprises to financing institutions;
Seek incorporating grant funding for technical assistance and training into loan packages for small scale producers and enterprises;
Establish strong linkages and effective collaboration with relevant public, private finance and multi-lateral programs, specifically targeting SMEs; and
Seek to integrate sustainability into supply chain financing for small/medium enterprises.
Mainstreaming sustainability in the investors’ portfolio of traditional lending to large businesses by facilitating:
- Risk assessment: Rainforest Alliance provides analyses of risk associated with specific regions and types of investments related to forestry and agriculture as well as training for bank investment officers and other personnel;
- Enhanced biodiversity conservation: Help businesses identify and harness opportunities for positive contribution to biodiversity conservation in traditional investments;
- Portfolio certification: Rainforest Alliance certifies sustainable production and sourcing by forest and agricultural companies and assists with assessing the sustainability of tourism operations;
- Demonstrated business case: Rainforest Alliance works with key partners to demonstrate the positive business case for investing in sustainability; and
- Partnerships, joint ventures and other linkages with SME producers.
Other duties as assigned.
- Bachelor degree with extensive background in finance or banking; Advanced degree with specialization in finance preferred;
- Minimum of 10 years working experience in the finance; minimum of 5 years experience in the small scale finance;
- Prior field experience and strategic engagement at the corporate level;
- Solid understanding of the environment movement as well as of the sustainability in supply chains, and production and sourcing of certified commodities;
- Excellent English language skills both written and spoken; secondary language skills in Spanish and French preferred; and
- Willingness and ability to travel 20% of the time, both domestically and internationally.
To Apply: Send resume, cover letter and salary history to Human Resources, Rainforest Alliance, 665 Broadway, Suite 500, New York, NY 10012; Fax: 212-677-2187; E-mail: Personnel@ra.org. If emailing, use the following format in the subject line: first name and last name, job title of position you are applying for.