Leaders on the cutting edge of conservation recognized on International Women’s Day

  • The Global Landscapes Forum has named 16 leaders in global climate change work ahead of International Women’s Day.
  • The conservation leaders come from various backgrounds – from finance and technology to public figures and industry founders and CEOs.
  • All of those recognized have long been working to protect and restore the planet, and are actively involved in efforts all over the world. 

A list of 16 leaders doing impactful global climate change work are being honored ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8. The list was published by the Global Landscape Forum as a way to recognize and celebrate conservation leaders who hail from a range of backgrounds – from finance and technology to public figures and industry founders and leaders. They are all working to protect and restore the planet. 

Many of the leaders recognized are trailblazers in their fields.

“We’re going into a space that very few have been to before,” said independent evaluator Jyotsna Puri, one of those recognized on the list. “Climate change is a relatively young discipline, and we want to create a culture of trusted evidence.” 

Puri is the head of the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) Independent Evaluation Unit, and works to make sure systems and mechanisms are having the right impact. She said she was alone when she started work as head of evaluation unit at the GCF in 2017. Today there is a team of 27 that works to create and foster trust between climate change solution partners. 

Early on, one of her reviews (co-authored with others) found over 220 high-quality studies that examine if land use change policy is effective or not. The review found that academic studies on the issue didn’t give impact analysis of these policies on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It is those types of omissions that can contribute to delaying progressive solutions, Puri says, and that’s where independent evaluation can help. 

“There’s a huge amount of responsibility to get this right the first time around,” said Puri of the work she is evaluating. “GCF represents the promise of a generation.”

In the world of finance, investment and philanthropic giving, Jennifer Pryce is president and CEO up Calvert Impact Capital. The firm handles advising and guiding impact investment decisions that achieve both financial goals as well as results that have an impact on the environment and society. 

“We invest in opportunities – forests, oceans, sustainable agriculture – that are overlooked by traditional investors,” said Pryce in an interview. Using something called Community Investment Notes, Pryce and the team at Calvert help investors who want to start with as little as $20. That money goes toward the firm’s 115 individual investments, like forests – not to big banks. 

Pryce notes that a lot of the work involves educating and advising investors on why they don’t have to choose between philanthropy and making investments that get returns. She says many see it as a “two-pocket problem,” and it’s an either-or decision when investing. 

In 2018, Calvert Impact invested in the world’s first “blue bond,” which secured a 1.4 million km marine protected area near the Seychelles for dolphins on a $15 million bond.

The ultimate goal? To become obsolete and go out of business someday. 

“Money has an enormous amount of power to be a force for good,” Pryce said. “If everything goes the way it should…traditional markets will just act this way someday.”

Other leaders recognized include Brazil’s Fe Cortez, who has reached influential Brazilian leaders with her colorful, collapsible, reusable cups. Constance Okollet of Uganda is one of the forces behind Climate Wise Women, she is recognized as a voice of African women farmers and their myriad climate adaptation efforts. A full list of all of those recognized can be found on GLF’s website.

Banner image: The leaders selected for Global Landscape Forum’s 16 Women Restoring the Earth for International Women’s Day 2020. Image courtesy GLF. 

This story first appeared on Mongabay

South Africa Today – Environment


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