Director - Climate Finance

Program Management Worldwide


This position will be hybrid requiring a few days per week in office. You can be based in any of our country offices. Existing work authorization is required at the time of application submission as WRI is unable to sponsor any visa work sponsorship for this position.            

About the Program:            

 WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. We know this can’t happen without systemic changes and a structural shift in financial flows to enable them. The world needs more and better finance to achieve climate, nature, and other sustainable goals, from public and private, international and national sources. Delivery of finance must navigate several challenges, including a crowded global agenda, insufficient and fragmented development, climate and nature finance, higher real and perceived risks to green investments in developing countries and newer technologies, the need for a just transition, questions on how to finance loss and damage, and concerns about debt and the terms of finance. We’re far off from these outcomes now – but the work of the WRI Finance team is to put them in reach.          

In support of WRI’s mission, we work on unlocking the world’s financial flows to support sustainable development, climate and nature actions, especially to developing countries. We work with the incentives affecting national and international, public and private finance (from multilateral development banks, climate funds and development agencies and finance institutions to government ministries, national development, commercial banks, investment firms, and businesses) to influence their financial decisions, which shape our collective future.          

 WRI’s sustainable finance efforts focus on four interlocking strategies:         

  • Creating finance transparency for ambition and accountability
  • Mobilizing finance at the country level
  • Accelerating reform of international finance
  • Ensuring carbon market integrity.

Areas of previous and existing work include greening China’s Belt and Road Initiative; outlining expectations for and implementation of Paris alignment in the multilateral development banks; charting fair shares for contributors to climate financing, including the Green Climate Fund and $100 billion; developing tools to compare major private bank commitments to sustainable finance and net zero; engaging with the UNFCCC finance agenda; creating a landmark National Climate Finance Strategy in Fiji; hosting the P4G program to support SMEs in LMICs to attract investments through technical assistance and national policy action; and hosting a resource hub for how governments can finance their NDCs through shifting and increasing public and private finance for climate action, among others. To learn more, visit wri.org/finance.        

The finance team works closely with and supports other WRI global and country teams. From work with the Climate, Economics, and Equity teams to support developing countries making low carbon, climate resilient, nature positive, just transitions. To supporting the Energy, Cities and Food, Land and Water teams to mobilize finance to support these ‘human system transitions. To ensuring coherence with the financial incentives set by WRI’s standard-setting work on net-zero targets, carbon accounting, and climate risk disclosure.            

Job Highlight:            

In this role, you will lead a team and mobilize resources to produce tools, research, and collective action that inform these decisions and incentives, ultimately shifting public and private financial flows from unsustainable activities towards solutions for equitable, low-carbon, climate-resilient and nature-positive development. As Director, you will draw on a strong track record of research and policy engagement at the global and national level to develop a compelling vision of the changes needed in the financial system and help implement changes that shift the investment flows in a way which transforms the global and national economies.   

Reporting to the Global Climate Program Director, you will oversee and manage WRI’s sustainable finance portfolio. You will lead WRI’s implementation of its new finance transition strategy, its goals, and its deliverables. This involves providing senior oversight of strategy, management, thought leadership, and fundraising. You will not only develop and manage the portfolio but also leverage WRI’s global network of offices and programs to achieve results. You will serve as an internal and external spokesperson for the importance of finance for climate action and sustainable development.            

What will you do:            

Leadership and Management (30%):            
  • Lead a global team of professionals to implement WRI’s sustainable finance strategy
  • Help teams identify opportunities, problem-solve challenges, and deliver top-notch results
  • Ensure that the staff work effectively across global and country teams to bring a “whole of WRI approach” to executing our strategy and achieving our aspired impact targets
  • Identify and motivate a high performing team of direct reports that drive effective implementation of the strategy and achievement of the impact targets
  • Ensure that the team continues to recruit, train, and retain world class staff
  • Oversee budget and financial performance
Research and Outreach (20%):            
  • Build a global network, positioning WRI as a key collaborator on sustainable finance
  • Be a lead as WRI spokesperson on sustainable finance, particularly in the media, high-level fora and on higher-level questions that span several areas of expertise
  • Help teams define research and action agendas that address the knowledge and implementation challenges facing sustainable finance
  • Work with the team and WRI’s Research, Development and Innovation department, to ensure the program delivers high-quality research and impactful outreach
  • Ensure programmatic research findings and project achievements are communicated to target audiences in a compelling manner (via your own outreach activities and via the program’s communications team)
  • Help the program leverage strategic communications as a means of creating the political narrative and setting the agenda about sustainable finance

Strategy and Impact (25%):            

  • Evolve WRI’s finance strategy in light of on-the-ground experience, research findings, political realities, emerging opportunities, and/or observed challenges
  • Ensure the strategy’s “theories of change” are (and remain) robust and fit for purpose, engaging with public, private, international and domestic financial actors at all levels
  • Ensure the portfolio’s landmark initiatives, collaborations, and leadership platforms are designed to deliver on the strategy
  • Establish WRI as the “go to” non-governmental organization on sustainable finance for the decade

Fundraising and Funder Stewardship (25%):            

  • Work with WRI Development (fundraising) and project teams, build on existing relationships and expand the base of philanthropies, governments, high-net-worth individuals, and other funding sources
  • Conceive, write, and help colleagues prepare impactful 6-8 figure project funding proposals
  • Identify and nurture new team capabilities to deliver on the new strategy and support growth
  • Cultivate new and help manage high-profile donor relationships
  • Increase the public profile of WRI’s work on sustainable finance, thereby helping make WRI more attractive to donors

What will you need:            

  • Education: Master’s degree in finance, economics, business administration, international affairs, international or sustainable development, or other discipline relevant for sustainable finance
  • Experience: Minimum of 15 years of professional experience in relevant fields, including at least 3 years in a management position
  • Experience collaborating with developing country governments and with public and private finance institutions
  • Track record of visionary and strategic thinking
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and wide-ranging intellectual curiosity
  • World-class presentation skills (ability to communicate clearly and compellingly, both written and oral)
  • History of effectively motivating and connecting people to fulfill their potential and achieve results
  • Experience with finance and "cross-sectoral" issues (e.g., food-land systems & finance, energy & finance, restoration & finance, transportation & finance, cities & finance) in low and middle-income countries
  • Demonstrated fundraising track record, including securing multi-year seven-figure funding
  • Strong network of relevant relationships
  • Ability to travel, especially internationally, about 20% of time
  • Languages: Fluent in English, with additional languages a plus.
  • Requirements: Existing work authorization is required where this position. WRI is unable to authorize visa work authorization

Potential Salary: We have local salary scales for each country and can provide them if you move forward in the process. Please indicate your required salary in your application.            

How to Apply: Please submit a resume with a required cover letter by the date of 25 February 2024. We are unable to consider your application without a cover letter.            

You mustapply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.            

What we offer:            

  • Access to the WRI global network with the opportunity to exchange with and learn from passionate colleagues working at the cutting edge of their fields across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US
  • The chance to have an impact and to develop your career within a mission driven organization with access to varied learning and training opportunities. 
  • A workplace that strives to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our work
  • The opportunity to join and get involved in different working groups and affinity groups to shape the future of WRI
  • Commitment to hybrid working model with flexible working hours
  • Generous leave days that increase with tenure

About Us:            

Founded in 1982, 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 to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. WRI has a global staff of over 1,800 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.            

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.            

Our mission and values:            

WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.            

Our values are shared ideals that bind us together: Integrity, Innovation, Urgency, Independence and Respect.            

Our culture:            

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. We are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment; we embrace all diversity and encourage women, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, Afro-descendants, and Indigenous people to apply. Recognizing our strong commitment to gender equality, WRI has also been awarded EDGE certification.            

Our team in Human Resources carefully reviews all applications.