Research Analyst, Nature-based Solutions Finance

Data Analysis & Technical Research Washington, DC, United States

Job Summary:

In this role, you will support the implementation and scaling of nature-based solutions for water security, human health and well-being, disaster risk mitigation, and climate resilience. Your areas of focus will include stakeholder engagement, researching and editing knowledge products; supporting the development and application of financing strategies that leverage private and blended capital; building the capacity of utilities, project developers, corporate funders, corporations, landowners and managers, and other key stakeholders; and help projects access and leverage financial resources across broad partnerships.

In this role, you will focus your efforts on advancing programmatic priorities in the USA (and potentially other global locations), the majority of which will be at the sub-national level with states, counties, cities and water and electricity utility providers. You will support several initiatives underway, including advancing financing models to leverage private investment in utility-led source water protection; developing and structuring a resilience fund to support long-term fuel reduction treatments; supporting the development of river basin business plans for a region of the American West; and working with key corporate partners to unlock new sources of NBS funding.

You will report to the Environmental Finance Manager and work closely with the Director of Cities4Forests, and other team members in the Cities4Forests program and external partners.

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

Job Responsibilities:

NBS Finance (60% of time required)

  • Support the development of natural infrastructure projects from inception to bankability by working with public sector, civil society, financial institutions, and private sector actors to establish enabling conditions, design financing strategies that blend public and private sources, like the $25 M Forest Resilience Bond or $31.8 M certified green bond, and assist with brokering investment deals that deliver environmental and financial results.
  • Provide research and guidance on the application of innovative financing mechanisms, public policies, and institutional arrangements that unlock increased funding to implement natural infrastructure projects
  • Engage with financial institutions, the public sector, private sector, and civil society to educate, prepare natural infrastructure projects for investment
  • Increase corporate engagement for conservation finance initiatives, working to transform corporate sustainability targets to on-the-ground projects that achieve watershed resilience across public and private landscapes
  • Introduce cities to new business models and financing approaches for nature-based solutions

Outreach and Communications (20% of time required)

  • Develop presentation materials and tool kits, communicate WRI research and analysis with external audiences, and represent WRI at high-level events
  • Author or co-author blog posts, case studies and other outreach and communications materials
  • Author or co-author knowledge products (e.g. reports, briefs, guidance documents, data products)
  • Design and lead workshops, working groups or other convenings with key stakeholders
  • Support in-country capacity-building efforts by leading the development of new analysis, convening key parties, and providing training on natural infrastructure approaches
  • Review knowledge products written by other WRI researchers yearly
Fundraising and Program Management (20% of time required)
  • Contribute to fundraising including for cross-programmatic concept notes and proposals
  • Leverage and maintain existing relationships with funding partners and donors
  • Develop strategy and steward outcomes for project components
  • Collaborate and work closely with project staff on the broader Cities4Forests team, potentially manage interns and consultants, and provide mentorship and guidance to partners
  • Manage some components of business operations, such as budgeting, developing agreements and contracts, performance monitoring, and reporting for relevant project components                      

Job Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Business Administration, or related field, relevant work experience in lieu of a degree is accepted
  • Minimum of 2 years of full-time work experience in financial management and administration
  • Minimum of 2 years of work experience and with demonstrated fluency in environmental finance and/or natural resources
  • Demonstrated knowledge of innovative financing strategies and/or brokering deals for environmental projects or relevant transactions
  • Excellent English speaking and writing skills
  • Excellent research skills with financial analysis capabilities
  • Experience engaging and convening with financial institutions, investors, businesses and corporations, government, and/or civil society sectors
  • US work authorization is required for all WRI US opportunities


  • Experience managing partnerships to advance environmental outcomes
  • Demonstrated success in providing support for fundraising on relevant topics
  • Strong oral communication skills and experience presenting at major relevant events
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work with teams of individuals and colleagues at all levels inside and outside the organization
  • Extremely well-organized, efficient, responsible, self-motivated
  • Unequivocally committed to delivering work on time
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Comfort with portions of the team and management being based remotely
  • Ability to work calmly and enthusiastically in a dynamic and diverse environment
  • Relevant experience in Latin America, Africa and/or Asia would be an asset
  • Ability to develop discounted cash flows or familiarity with geospatial analysis would be an advantage

Potential Salary:

$53,000 - $68,000. Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors.

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants must
apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. 

Program Overview:

Program Overview Over the past decade, WRI has been at the forefront of increasing investment in well-designed nature-based solutions (NBS) for water security, disaster risk reduction, and climate and community resilience. We have developed guidance on best practices for evaluating enabling conditions for NBS and appraising NBS projects. We have pioneered an economic method for analyzing NBS investment opportunities and applied it with utilities in several watersheds around the world including in Portland (Maine, USA), Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Monterrey (Mexico), Bogota (Colombia), and other locations. We have supported the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank with their NBS strategies. We have advanced the first green bond standard for water infrastructure and worked with a utility to issue the first-ever green bond for forest-based water infrastructure. And we have developed and piloted a multi-stakeholder finance platform, known as the Forest Resilience Bond, resulting in an unprecedented pipeline of blended finance NBS deals.

Our Learning Guide on Social Equity Considerations supports cities to advance inclusive and equitable NBS projects and our work with Caterpillar Foundation, L’Oréal, FEMSA, and Danone has resulted in significant investment in watershed stewardship as well. Building on this progress, we now aim to scale up our work on NBS through the Cities4Forests initiative. Cities4Forests Overview Cities4Forests is a cross-programmatic effort – involving WRI’s Water, Forests, and Cities programs – that aims to catalyze political, social, and economic support from city governments and urban residents to integrate inner, nearby, and faraway forests into city development plans and programs. Participating cities share an aspiration to reduce commodity-driven deforestation, restore forests and trees, and manage forests more sustainably. Cities4Forests’ goal is to amplify current best practices and extend the deliberate city-forest relationship to the global scale on which cities and forests interact. It is a voluntary coalition involving mayors’ offices — and supported by other subnational agencies such as public water utilities and offices of sustainability — from more than 75 cities around the world. We encourage peer-to-peer inspiration and learning, and members receive technical support from WRI and partners with expertise in forests, climate change, water, communications, finance, and policy.

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, water, sustainable 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 in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United 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.