Research Associate, Sustainable Investing

Program Management Washington, DC, United States

Job Summary
In this role as Research Associate, you will join our Sustainable Investing Initiative and help advance sustainable investment and financing practices through research and engagement that incentivizes and empowers investors and financial institutions to integrate sustainability considerations—especially climate change—into their strategies and decision-making. In addition to research and engagement, you will support the team’s fundraising efforts and manage and mentor other members of the team.

Additionally, you will gain first-hand experience in the opportunities and challenges associated with sustainable investing, by supporting WRI’s efforts to sustainably invest our own endowment. In fulfilling your responsibilities, you will collaborate with colleagues in other projects within the Finance Center and other parts of WRI, including our Corporate Relations team and the Science Based Targets Initiative.

This position is remote due to Covid-19, but you will be based at WRI’s office in Washington, DC once restrictions have lifted.

Job Responsibilities
Research & Knowledge (75%)

  • Conduct research and stakeholder engagement aimed at improving the quality and adoption of sustainable investment and financing strategies and products
  • Contribute to the development of publications and/or data tools that help investors and financiers integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations, particularly those related to climate change, into their investment and financing decisions
  • Implement research methods that lead to robust and unbiased knowledge products and guide the development of analytical methodologies
  • Serve as a resource for the team on the social dimensions of sustainable investing and banking, particularly as they relate to climate change
  • Author or co-author knowledge products (e.g., reports, issue briefs, working papers, and technical notes) and coordinate the publication process
  • Mentor junior researchers
  • Review 2-4 knowledge products written by other WRI researchers yearly
  • Collaborate with the Head of Sustainable Investing, CFOO, F&IC, and OCIO to help (1) implement and strengthen WRI’s sustainable investment strategy for WRI’s endowment and (2) facilitate peer-to-peer knowledge exchange with other asset owners by documenting and disseminating our approach and lessons learned from WRI’s endowment experiences
  • Prepare presentations and share research findings with investors, bankers, regulators and other stakeholders and decision-makers 
  • Author or co-author at least two blogs a year on timely sustainable finance topics
Project Management (15%)
  • In collaboration with senior level staff, manage outcomes and partnerships associated with project deliverables
  • Monitor and manage project deliverables, setting and clarifying priorities for global team members and external partners, as relevant
  • Monitor and manage project budget performance as relevant, scoping progress according to planned milestones, expenses and revenue, and internal and donor reporting
Fundraising/Grant Management (10%)
  • Complete institutional and donor reporting (e.g. narrative) for projects, including project outcomes
  • Contribute to funding proposals between a five to six figure fundraising goal
  • Identify and develop funding partner relationships through external outreach and due diligence
  • Contribute to donor presentations
Job Qualifications
  • Three+ years of highly relevant, professional work experience
  • Master’s degree in environmental sciences, finance, economics, or other related fields, or a bachelor's degree with an additional 2 years of work experience
  • Demonstrated understanding of the financial system and financial-services industry, particularly sustainable investing and/or banking
  • Excellent written, verbal communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative research and analytical skills
  • Experience with program implementation and project management 
  • Prior supervision and mentorship of one or more junior staff
  • Detail-oriented and organized thinker who can juggle multiple, competing priorities
  • Comfortable communicating with different audiences, including colleagues, investors, media, and donors
  • Track record of working collaboratively on teams and providing support to team-members
  • Ability to take initiative and lead work involving many parties
  • Demonstrated interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and just transition issues
  • Experience with external communications and donor management 
  • US work authorization is required for this opportunity. WRI cannot provide visa sponsorship for this role.
Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience working in a private sector bank and/or investment management firm
How to Apply: Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. 

Potential Salary: $59,000 - $77,000. Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors.

Program Overview
WRI’s Sustainable Finance Center aims to shift public and private sector finance toward sustainable activities that support a low carbon, climate-resilient, just transition—and away from those that harm people and the environment. We do this by producing evidence-based, actionable research and data tools and by convening coalitions of key stakeholders that can drive action on the ground and in financial markets. The Center’s Sustainable Investing Initiative works to facilitate the shift of private sector capital toward sustainable activities that align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, promoting a fast, resilient, and just transition to net zero global emissions. The Initiative engages institutional investors and other market participants to inform, develop, and promote widespread adoption of sustainable investment strategies in the mainstream investor marketplace. We leverage WRI’s own endowment investment experiences, provide tailored environmental data and cutting-edge research, and promote peer-to-peer learning through our convening power to encourage this transition. As we look ahead, the Center is also seeking to expand its work focused on the banking sector, building on existing partnerships between WRI and several private sector banks, as well as past research.

WRI Overview 

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, watersustainable cities, and the ocean. 

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect. 

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges, and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.  

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices inAfrica, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexicoand theUnited States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.   

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.