Executive Director – The Climate Trust

Executive Director – The Climate Trust

Location: The location is flexible with Portland, Oregon being preferred.


About The Climate Trust

The Climate Trust combats climate change by funding and managing projects that reduce greenhouse emissions. Founded in 1997 in Portland, Oregon, The Climate Trust is recognized as a pioneer in the carbon market industry by developing and managing high quality carbon offset projects. They also manage carbon offset acquisition programs for a growing number of organizations from different sectors seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Climate Trust is a unique and trusted voice in the carbon market. As a nonprofit operating in this dynamic arena, it works with mission-aligned partners and provides tangible environmental benefits through its carbon offset projects. It also advocates for the expansion of voluntary and compliance carbon offset markets that provide quantifiable and verifiable greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Since inception, The Climate Trust has developed a portfolio of 104 carbon projects in ten different sectors. The organization has committed $53M in carbon financing from voluntary and compliance buyers towards high quality carbon offsets and reduced 6.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. It has financed 2 anaerobic digesters and protected 22,000 grassland acres and 135,000 forest acres. Currently, The Climate Trust is scaling up its grassland conservation and forest carbon initiatives to increase its conservation impact across the United States.

The Opportunity

The next Executive Director of The Climate Trust has the opportunity to maximize the impact of a small organization with a unique set of assets. Nature-based solutions are among the most effective ways to combat climate change. And there is a growing groundswell of support for climate change solutions at the federal level with the new administration, and internationally as countries and organizations align with the Paris Agreement.

Furthermore, many corporations, governments, and citizens are voluntarily seeking carbon offsets to meet their climate action goals.  The Climate Trust looks to play a critical role in these efforts by utilizing its strong reputation, a history of innovation, and a longstanding mission-driven focus. It is poised to lead in new sectors of offset project development with attractive terms for mission-aligned partners and in the sale of legitimate, vigorously validated carbon offsets.

Reporting to a Board of Directors and overseeing a talented team of professionals, the Executive Director will serve as a partner and guide, stewarding a continued path of innovation and ensuring the organization moves effectively into its next phase of impact. The Executive Director will spearhead planning for the future and ensure the organization delivers on its priorities and partnerships.

The Executive Director will be joining a culture that is fast moving and entrepreneurial, keeping pace with the dynamism of the carbon markets. Collaboration, participatory leadership, and inclusive decision making are characteristics of the team’s approach to working together. Embracing these qualities is essential to success in this position. Leading with humility, bringing a collective, team-based approach to working with both staff and the board, the Executive Director will set the tone for a culture that promotes and inspires continuous growth, creativity, and interconnectedness.

Key Responsibilities

First and foremost, the Executive Director will provide leadership on vision, strategy, board relations, and team management. The work of The Climate Trust centers on carbon asset development, financing offset projects, external partner relationships, and thought leadership. The Executive Director will lead these efforts, as well as grow capacity and capabilities to accelerate The Climate Trust’s positive impact on climate change. With input and oversight by the Board of Directors, the Executive Director’s key responsibilities include:

A Shared Vision for Future Growth

  • Build on success and innovation to foster growth  in carbon markets and unprecedented project development
  • Lead a strategic planning process with staff and board to ensure a long-range business plan is in place to achieve The Climate Trust’s mission and goals, with an eye on significant developments, trends, and policy changes in the field
  • Create corresponding tangible and clearly articulated operational plans and priorities with corresponding Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), forecasts, and financial requirements
  • Help identify and evaluate access to capital strategies to pursue and ensure long term financial stability with funders and corporate partners

Team and Organizational Management  

  • Lead both staff and board with an equity mindset, ensuring the culture is collaborative, inclusive, and supportive
  • Harness the energy, expertise, and knowledge of the current team and work with them to add complementary skill sets
  • Collaborate with the team and board to ensure the operational and financial management structures and practices are in place to support current and future strategies and growth
  • Foster strong, productive board/staff relationships through regular, clear, transparent communications and other opportunities for engagement

Project and Program Operations

  • Oversee acquisitions of offsets and project development
  • Provide guidance on structuring and financing offset purchases
  • Negotiate offset development contracts and sale contracts
  • Support offset portfolio management

Elevate Partnerships, Presence, and Voice

  • Support current clients and partners and establish new working relationships and collaborations with land trusts, landowners, and corporations across various industries
  • Represent The Climate Trust innovative grassland and forestry conservation programs nationally as a thought leader
  • Engage in new carbon offset sectors by participating in working groups, exploring new protocols, piloting new projects and innovations

Ideal Candidate

The next Executive Director is committed to combating climate change and is driven by an abiding mission focus to serve the field. An experienced leader and manager, they have a genuine respect for collaboration and place a high value on both team and board input and contributions.

We seek candidates with a strong background in four key areas of skill and experience:

Climate and carbon market expertise:  the level of technical expertise of the current team is very high. Candidates for the Executive Director role should have a strong base of knowledge of carbon markets, conservation finance, or impact investing.  An understanding of carbon offset sectors and offset development from natural climate solutions and working lands is valuable. Importantly they must have a grasp on where the carbon markets and climate change solutions are heading. Ideally, candidates have worked across sales and investment transactions.

Experience leading teams and interacting with boards: the elevated leadership skill to leverage and engage the board and develop staff is essential.  An understanding of the nuances of nonprofit financial compliance and governance, whether that comes from serving on nonprofit boards or previous experience leading a nonprofit entity would be valuable.

Business acumen and strategic planning: candidates should have a track record of successfully leading teams and guiding long-term organizational vision within a fast-paced market-driven sector. They need to bridge business and technical competence to think critically; synthesize complex data; and connect the dots to plan for trends in the sector longer term.  Financial expertise to support the team in investment transactions and contract negotiations is an asset.

Partnership, presence, and policy builder: ideally candidates will come in with an established reputation, credibility, and network in the sector with the interpersonal skills to secure meetings with landowners, key Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) decision makers in corporations, and legislators. As a compelling communicator, the ideal candidate can articulate a vision, inform decisions, and generate excitement with diverse audiences for The Climate Trust’s unique role in the carbon offset markets and in mitigating climate change.

Personal attributes most desired for the new Executive Director include:

  • Mission-driven and aligned with The Climate Trust’s values
  • Forward thinking and entrepreneurial with respect to strategy and future business growth
  • A collaborative, humble and inclusive team leader who supports culture and listens to and trusts their team
  • A strong communicator in all forms – listening, verbal, written for both internal and external audiences
  • Connector who engages effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders across political, public, private, and community interests.

The Executive Director position requires some domestic travel. The location is flexible with Portland, Oregon being preferred. The anticipated base salary range for this position is $190,000 – $230,000.

How To Apply

The Climate Trust is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive work environment. Applications are welcomed from qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, or marital status. All candidates are invited to apply.

To be considered for the Executive Director position please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest and fit via the button at the bottom of this link. Letters may be addressed to Melissa Merritt.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Kickstart your impact finance career today!

We're excited to share with you our guide on how to kickstart your career transition into the impact finance space.  Click below to get your free guide.  It's packed with over 50 pages of helpful content to get you started.