Cases in Conservation Finance
Learn about a range of conservation finance issues and tools through guest speakers and case studies.
Next session: November 10
The Case Studies in Conservation Finance webinar series will seek to answer questions like:
- What’s new in Conservation Finance?
- Who is doing exciting and innovative work in the field?
- How are various innovative tools being used to address the finance of conservation outcomes?
- What can be learned from practical conservation finance experiences on the ground?
We will answer these questions by looking at case studies and talking to practitioners in this space. Each month, we will talk to, and hear from, a different guest speaker about the work they are doing and the tools they are employing to invest in the conservation of ecosystems and the services they provide. We will hear how different organizations and projects are utilizing market mechanisms to align environmental, social and economic returns, and better understand the challenges they’ve faced and how these were overcome.
Each webinar will be structured as a discussion between the moderator and guest to hear about what they are doing and how they have either succeeded or failed in the field of conservation finance. It will then be followed by an open Q&A with the speaker.
Second Tuesday of the Month at 10am PT/11am MT/12pm CT/1pm ET
Case #6: David Antonioli and Cecilia Simon, Verra
Tuesday, November 10 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm CDT
Description: Many Conservation Finance strategies rely on environmental markets as a source of revenue. Think carbon markets, water markets, mitigation banking markets or other markets for ecosystem services. What few people realize is that for markets to work, there needs to be an underlying infrastructure designed to build trust, things like standards, verification, certification, monitoring, etc. Without these, markets --be they carbon markets, currency markets, or markets for stocks and bonds— will inevitably fail. Standards and systems that build trust are important, maybe even essential. In our next case study in conservation we will be talking to one of the most interesting initiatives to build standards and trust-systems for environmental markets: Verra (formerly known as the Verified Carbon Standard or VCS). To tell us about Verra we will have as guests David Antonioli, Verra’s CEO, and Cecilia Simon (2014 Kinship Fellow), Verra’s Senior Program Officer on issues of REDD+ and AFOLU (an acronym for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses). David and Cecilia will talk to us about the history of Verra, how it began as a standard for carbon in the Voluntary markets, and how it has grown to become a registry for regulated carbon markets such as the California carbon markets, how it goes about establishing standards, ensuring verification and just generally making markets possible. We will also hear more about how Verra has dealt with issues such as REDD, jurisdictional crediting systems, and how it is looking at expanding into other markets ranging from water to plastics. Join us as we learn about how markets work and the infrastructure that makes them possible from two of the most innovative actors in the space.
About David: David serves as Chief Executive Officer of Verra where he oversees all aspects of the organization, including ensuring the financial and operational health of the organization and that the organization’s certification programs meet high quality integrity and transparency standards. In recent years David’s focus has been to expand the scope of Verra, broadening it from an organization dedicated exclusively to certifying carbon reductions to one that also identifies and develops other standards frameworks for a sustainable world. In this vein, David works to ensure that the standards Verra identifies, develops and manages facilitate the flow of capital to enable countries, the private sector and civil society achieve and demonstrate their climate and sustainable development goals. David works closely with the Verra Board to chart the future course of the organization, and spearheads outreach to government, foundation, business and environmental leaders around the world. A world-renowned expert on climate change, David began his work in this sector when he worked for ICF Consulting in 1994 providing technical advice to Latin American countries developing their GHG inventories and serving on the team that pioneered verification procedures for emission reduction projects. In 1999 David joined the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Mexico as its global climate change advisor overseeing the development of an energy-sector grid emission factor and baseline studies for forest protection efforts. In 2003, David joined EcoSecurities in Oxford (UK) where he led a joint venture to develop landfill gas-to-energy projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). At EcoSecurities David also spearheaded the company’s efforts in the voluntary market, helping to identify key infrastructure and procedural needs that the voluntary carbon market lacked in the early days of its existence. David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Princeton University and a Master’s in Public Policy, with concentrations in Environmental Policy and International Development, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Originally born and raised in Mexico City, David now resides in Bethesda, MD with his wife and two children.
About Cecilia: As Verra’s REDD+ and AFOLU Senior Program Officer, Cecilia is responsible for providing input on land use work, drafting changes to relevant Verra programs to help maintain the robustness, workability and reputation of Verra’s nature-based work, managing REDD+ and AFOLU accounting and assessment methodologies being developed under Verra programs and collaborating with the Verra team to help implement changes and improvements to Verra standards. Prior to joining Verra, Cecilia worked as a consultant for more than ten years with the Climate Action Reserve on the development and implementation of the Mexico Forest Protocol. She also worked with Conservation Strategy Fund on a number of projects using economic tools for conservation and for the National Forestry Commission in the development of Mexico’s REDD+ strategy. She began her career in forestry carbon in 2007 as Pronatura’s Climate Change Director. Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a Master of Science in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health from the University of Edinburgh. In her free time, Cecilia loves to go hiking, take photos and spend time in nature with her family.
This webinar series is moderated by Ricardo Bayon of Encourage Capital.
Ricardo Bayon is a Partner and a member of the Board of Directors of Encourage Capital. Ricardo leads the water team and new business and innovation at Encourage and works across several other investment sectors. Ricardo is a member of the Investment Committee of the EKO Green Carbon Fund. Prior to co-founding EKO in 2007, Ricardo helped found and served as the Managing Director of the Ecosystem Marketplace, a web site and information/analysis service covering the emerging environmental markets. In that capacity he co-authored a number of publications on voluntary carbon markets, mitigation banking, and ecosystem services, including The State of Voluntary Carbon Markets 2007: Picking up Steam and Voluntary Carbon Markets: An International Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work, and Conservation and Biodiversity Banking: A Guide to Setting Up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading System. For nearly two decades he has specialized on issues related to finance, banking, and the environment. He has done work for a number of organizations, including Insight Investments, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, Domini Social Investment, among others. His articles have appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and the International Herald Tribune. He has also written numerous publications and chapters on mitigation banking, biodiversity markets, markets for water quality, and other environmental markets. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, and is currently based in San Francisco. Ricardo graduated with a B.A. degree from Brown University.
Ricardo currently serves on the Kinship Conservation Fellows Advisory Council and is faculty at the Kinship Conservation Fellowship program.