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our team

a multi-disciplinary, market-leading team with unparalleled cross-functional expertise

our team
a multi-disciplinary, market-leading team with unparalleled cross-functional expertise
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its all about our people

We are global leaders with extensive, top-tier professional experience in carbon project development and carbon markets, major projects execution and management, emerging markets resources transactions and commercial structuring and finance.

All

Advisor

Nigel Topping

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Advisor

Will Stewart

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Advisor

Emma Zohner

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Chief Executive Officer

Scobie Mackay

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Chief Operations & Projects Officer

Mark Welch

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Chief Commercial & Legal Officer

Jake Howard

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Chief Carbon Officer

Arnaud Dore

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Chief Technology Officer

Kim Raath, PhD

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Global Head of Projects – Reforestation

Brett Henkel

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Global Head of Projects - Cookstoves, Water and Energy

Vahid Jahangiri

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Head of Technology Engineering

Raul Aragonez

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Global Head of Technical - NBS

Roman de Rafael, PhD

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VP Project Controls & Risk Management

Bruce Smith

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VP Strategy & Origination

Kian Keong Soon

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VP Project Development

Darren Moens

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VP Carbon Investments

Arthur Vanderschooten

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VP Brazil

Fernanda Castilho

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Senior Legal Counsel

Catherine Lobb

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Carbon Technical Manager

Nihar Kumar

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Technical Manager

Kinne Gueye, PhD

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Technology Project Manager

Chris Everts

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GIS Analyst

Nay Lin Tun

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Project Coordinator

Angeli Gabrielle Reyes

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Carbon Analyst

Maria Florinna Triviño

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Senior Associate

Jonathan Thurling

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Chief of Staff

Rafael Barone

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Advisor

Nigel Topping

Nigel was appointed by the UK’s Prime Minister to be the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion in 2020. In that role, he worked to strengthen collaboration and drive action from businesses, investors, organizations, cities, and regions on climate change and to coordinate this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Nigel is a Non-Executive Director for the UK Infrastructure Bank, an Advisory Board Member to the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & the Environment, and an Associate Fellow to the Chatham House Sustainability Accelerator.

Prior to his Climate Champions work, Mr. Topping was CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy, and Executive Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project. During that time, he oversaw the launch of various initiatives, programs, and partnerships including supply chain, water, forests, and cities.  These roles were preceded by an 18-year career in the private sector in both developed and emerging markets.

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Advisor

Will Stewart

Will Stewart is the Executive Chairman of the Board, of FIUTUR. He has been a board member of dozens of global private and public companies over the span of his 30yr professional technology and finance career, including numerous high-profile ESG companies.

Stewart will assist in driving the capital and corporate strategy, governance, and collaboration opportunities, assist in raising and structuring of capital and advise on technology.He brings an abundance of global tech, ESG, corporate growth, planning, and financial experience to Imperative.

Stewart has been an early investor in ESG, initiating his investment and board involvement with Xpansiv in 2017, and is either a Board Member or Board Advisor today to numerous ESG companies.

Stewart has a BA in Economics from St. Anselm College, Manchester, NH and MBA in Finance from Suffolk University, Boston, MA. In addition, Stewart was the Managing Director of Rogers Venture Partners, Toronto, Canada and Venture Partner at CSV Capital Partners, Shanghai, China.

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Advisor

Emma Zohner

Emma has amassed over ten years of experience in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence.

Previously serving as the Head of Data Science at Engine No. 1, Emma played a pivotal role in steering the company’s strategic direction in data analytics and AI implementation. Her tenure at Engine No. 1 was marked by significant contributions to the advancement of data-driven decision-making processes.

In addition to her leadership role at Engine No. 1, Emma has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Rice University, where she imparted her extensive knowledge and insights in statistics and data science to the next generation of scholars and professionals. Furthermore, her role as Data Science Lead at Fidelity Investments showcased her ability to navigate and excel in the complex landscape of financial data analysis and investment strategies.

Emma earned her Bachelor of Science from UCLA, followed by a Master of Science from the Drucker School of Management and another from Wichita State University, culminating in a PhD in Statistics from Rice University.

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Chief Executive Officer

Scobie Mackay

Scobie has approximately 20 years’ experience across voluntary carbon, international trade, cross-border commodities transactions and structured finance.

Previously Global Head of Origination, Structuring and Sales for Macquarie Group’s Global Carbon Business, Scobie authored the business plan for, and led the establishment of, the voluntary carbon business for Macquarie.

Scobie has sat on the Taskforce on Scaling the Voluntary Carbon Market, the Sustainable Markets Initiative Working Group on Carbon Markets, the Environmental Defense Fund & High-Tide Foundation Steering Committee on Mobilizing Voluntary Carbon Markets and other thought-leading forums in the voluntary carbon space.

Academically, Scobie holds a Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences), a Bachelor of Laws (Hon) and a Master of Laws Degree in International Law, all from the Australian National University. He is currently an Executive MBA candidate at Oxford University.

Scobie is a qualified lawyer in England and Australia.

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Chief Operations & Projects Officer

Mark Welch

Mark has held a range of executive level positions globally.

His current role is Chief Operations and Projects Officer for Imperative Global.

Previously, Mark spent 19 years with KBR, a leading global engineering, technology and project delivery company providing solutions to the energy markets and governments of the world.

With KBR, Mark held a range of roles including head of strategy & acquisitions and global senior vice president of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas).

Highlights of Mark’s career with KBR included;

  • Leading the development of the low carbon energies strategy including green hydrogen and carbon capture & storage; and
  • His role as Deputy Project Director and then Project Director on the Ichthys LNG project in Darwin. At the time, Ichthys was one of the largest and most complex projects in the world with a value exceeding A$20billion and an execution team of more than 10,000 people.

Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New South Wales in Australia and an MBA (Project Management Specialism) from Henley Management College, UK.

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Chief Commercial & Legal Officer

Jake Howard

Jake has approximately 20 years in legal and commercial practice, having advised on projects and transaction in over 45 countries worth over US$20 billion in value.

Previously General Manager, Green Hydrogen at Fortescue Future Industries where he led investments, offtake negotiations and project development across multiple emerging markets projects.

Prior to that, Jake was a senior equity partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, where he had a 16-year career, specializing in emerging market cross-border commodities, energy and resources projects and transactions, including for example a sub-Saharan African carbon project portfolio.

Jake has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University and is currently an Executive MBA candidate at Oxford University.

Jake is a qualified lawyer in England and Australia.

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Chief Carbon Officer

Arnaud Dore

Arnaud has held a range of executive positions over the last 18 years across carbon markets, IT Infrastructure and Telecommunications.

Prior to joining Imperative, Arnaud had spent the last 10 years serving in multiple capacities at EcoAct. He was last Managing Director, where he led the business globally to develop and manage projects across both NBS and Technology-based solutions portfolios, and spearheaded the development and implementation of all of EcoAct and ATOS’ carbon offset business strategy at the group level.

Arnaud currently also serves as an Executive Committee Member of ICROA, as well as serving as the Co-Chair of its Policy & Advocacy Working Group.

Before this, Arnaud held various roles including as Head of Technical Department at EcoAct, Head of Deployment Department at VeePee, a France-based IT Infrastructure business, and over 7 years with Bouygues Telecom where he was last Business Project Manager.

Academically, Arnaud holds a Masters in Telecom & Services Network from Telecom SudParis, a BEng in Informatic Network from ISEP – école d’ingénieurs du numérique, and had completed the ATOS Gold Programme (Business/Commerce) at HEC Paris.

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Chief Technology Officer

Kim Raath, PhD

Kim was previously CEO and co-founder of Topl, a purpose-built blockchain infrastructure designed to increase coordination and efficiency in ethical or sustainable ecosystems, create stories for responsibly sourced products, and unlock innovative financing mechanisms across industries.

Kim has worked in over 18 developing countries to rebuild and strengthen communities by implementing innovative forms of technology.

Kim comes from an ethical mining and sustainable agricultural background with roots in South Africa. And she holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and is the first Rice University student to simultaneously complete an M.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Statistics.

As a leader in sustainability, Kim is a member of CNBC’s ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) Council and sits on the advisory board of Xpansiv, a global market for ESG-inclusive commodities. She also serves on the advisory board of Rice University’s Center for Computational Finance and Economic Systems (CoFES) and a few other impact-driven companies and foundations.

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Global Head of Projects – Reforestation

Brett Henkel

Brett Henkel has 20 years’ of experience in reforestation, ecosystem restoration and site remediation projects at scale.

He was CEO of Little Smokey Forestry Services, a Canadian ecosystem restoration company operating across a range of landscapes, including oil-sands remediation projects. In his role as CEO, Brett led a team of 100 employees (including seasonal roles) and planted nearly 100 million seedlings.

Brett’s areas of expertise include ecosystem site analysis, restoration design and management plan including hydrology and erosion mitigation, sourcing of raw materials for indigenous species, nursery and contractor management and in-field site management.

Brett holds a B.Sc. from the University of Alberta.

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Global Head of Projects - Cookstoves, Water and Energy

Vahid Jahangiri

Vahid has led several cookstove carbon financing programs since 2009 and advises various multi-laterals and development agencies on financing strategies.

He has worked on the UNITAR Global Plan of Action Steering Committee and various UN agencies, including the World Food Program, UNCDF, and UNHCR, to formulate realistic energy strategies and introduce innovative technologies in the cookstove and solar sectors.

Vahid has co-authored several policy initiatives in collaboration with local government agencies to create national energy strategies and has recently co-authored the State of the Humanitarian Energy Sector report.

He holds a BS in International Management from UB and Masters in International Public Policy with School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins.

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Head of Technology Engineering

Raul Aragonez

Raul Aragonez is a versatile tech leader with over 11 years of experience across IoT, FinTech, cloud computing, decentralized systems, and ESG technology. As the former VP of Software Engineering at Topl, Raul gained a profound understanding of the decentralized technology landscape, value chain asset tracking, and honed a strong track record in developing innovative and impactful solutions within the Web3 space.

Prior to his role at Topl, Raul served as a Senior Software Engineer, and Architect, contributing his expertise to various projects and industries with a particular focus on IoT and Sensor data aggregation.

Raul holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at El Paso. Recently, he furthered his skills with a Specialization in Leadership and Management from Harvard Business School Online.

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Global Head of Technical - NBS

Roman de Rafael, PhD

Roman has over 12 years of experience in project development and climate-related work.  Roman was Head of Project Development at EcoAct, where he led a team of 20 to conduct end-to-end project development work on a number of projects, including the PDD writing a number of projects e.g., agroforestry and mangrove restoration.

Roman also served as the Design Document lead for the Enkima Stove VPA project (GS11319) and Dziva cookstove project (GS11790). Additionally, he was the co-lead and reviewer of various projects including a clean cooking and safe water supply project in Africa, a mangrove IUCN REDD+ feasibility initiative in Cameroon, a mangrove restoration project in Mexico, a Clean Cooking and Safe Water project in India (GS12046), a Hifadhi Improved cookstoves project (GS2898) and a Hifadhi Improved cookstoves project (GS7495).

Roman holds a PhD from Université Paris-Est, a Masters of Energy and Carbon Finance from Paris IX Dauphine, a Masters of Sustainable Development Policies from Sciences Po Lille and a Baccalauréat Economique et Social.

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VP Project Controls & Risk Management

Bruce Smith

Bruce has 20 years of experience in Project Controls, Commercial & Project Management across a diverse range of sectors. He has held several leadership positions on some of the world’s largest projects on 5 continents.

His expertise includes providing strategic and hands-on leadership, and the delivery and implementation of project controls.

Highlights of Bruce’s career include leading project controls teams for Golden Pass and Queensland Curtis LNG, a collective capital value in excess of US$40billion.

Bruce holds a BSc (Quantity Surveying) and Diploma in Construction Management from Cape Peninsula University, South Africa.

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VP Strategy & Origination

Kian Keong Soon

KK has approximately 7 years of experience across voluntary carbon and structured commodity finance.

KK has over 7 years Macquarie’s client-execution lead for top-tier accounts, overseeing end-to-end (origination, structuring, execution) of over 340 physical oil purchases, sales, and inventory monetization transactions worth >$17bn. This involved commercial & contractual negotiations, deal structuring, pricing and execution, ongoing oversight and operational handling of cargo flows, and risk distribution with banking partners and insurance providers. Cargo flows were global in nature (US-Asia, Europe-Asia, US-Australia, US-Mexico, LATAM-US, Africa-LATAM) and across the spectrum of crude and oil products.

  • Origination, structuring and sales within Macquarie’s Commodities & Global Markets business.
  • Pioneer member of Macquarie’s Global Carbon business, officially launched in May 2021, with specific focus in originating high-impact projects and structuring bespoke client transactions.
  • Structuring and implementing working capital solutions for clients (ie. physical commodity and commodity-linked financing solutions, debt & equity).
  • Building strong client relationships across the Americas.
  • Previously based in Singapore and subsequently Houston, Texas.

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VP Project Development

Darren Moens

Darren has 10 years of experience investing in renewable energy and climate projects across global emerging markets.

Prior to joining Imperative, Darren was an investment manager and capital raising executive at Climate Fund Managers, an innovative blended finance fund manager investing exclusively in emerging markets. While there, he developed and raised Climate Investor Two, a USD 700mn fund with an investment mandate for sustainable energy, circular economy, water and ecosystem projects. In this role he led the development of the market research and investment strategy for the following sectors: carbon credits with a focus on blue carbon, seaweed aquaculture and nature-based solutions for water management.

Prior to joining Climate Fund Managers, Darren was an investment manager for the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and in this role sourced, structured and executed numerous renewable energy transactions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as being part of the team which created FMO’s sustainable forestry investment strategy.

Academically, Darren holds a Master of Science in International Finance from the University of Amsterdam as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. In parallel with his studies Darren served for 4 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, including a year in Afghanistan as part of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in 2008.

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VP Carbon Investments

Arthur Vanderschooten

Arthur has about 10 years of experience in the development and financing of carbon, natural capital and impact investment experience in emerging markets.

Prior to joining Imperative, Arthur worked for South Pole’s global Structure Carbon Finance team where he was in charge of securing and closing large scale NBS investments for corporate clients, primarily with water filters, reforestation and REDD+.

He was previously the lead Private Equity Investment Officer for Forestry at FMO, the Dutch development bank, leading various innovative transactions in Asia, Latin America and Africa (funds, strategic and minority acquisitions, loans and restructuring). Arthur started his career working with two different carbon project developers, working on various key steps of the carbon asset development for a cookstove project in Burkina Faso and ARR/IFM VCS CCB certified projects (baseline, registration, MRV, execution).

Arthur holds Masters in Environment and Resources Management from the VU University in Amsterdam, and in Corporate and Market Finance from Science Po Strasbourg. He also holds a bachelor’s in Economy and Law from Strasbourg University and Los Andes University in Bogota, Colombia.

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VP Brazil

Fernanda Castilho

Fernanda has approximately 4 years of experience in the voluntary carbon markets, serving as an executive and partner at a carbon projects development company in Brazil.

Previously, in the positions of Legal Counsel and Relationship Manager, she worked over the past 10 years in the financial market at companies such as Banco Fator, BTG Pactual, and XP Investments, with an emphasis on advising clients on investments and succession planning.

Before entering the financial market, she spent 5 years at one of the most renowned Brazilian business law firms, where she was responsible for tax litigation lawsuits and consultancy services related to direct and indirect taxation.

Fernanda is a Lawyer graduated from FAAP, holds a specialization in Business Administration from Insper, and has an MBA in Finance from the University of North Carolina.

Senior Legal Counsel

Catherine Lobb

Catherine has close to a decade of top-tier legal experience, having advised on a wide variety of corporate finance and M&A transactions in multiple jurisdictions for clients across several industries, including commodities and natural resources.

Prior to joining Imperative, Catherine was an Associate at Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto, Canada where she advised corporate, investment banking and private equity clients on domestic and cross-border transactions and general corporate matters including IPOs, common share offerings and acquisitions, investment grade and high yield bonds, and credit facilities.

Before that, Catherine was an Associate at Sidley Austin LLP in their New York, London and Sydney offices where she established a global practice focused on advising corporate and investment banking clients as they conducted public and private securities offerings in the U.S. equity and debt capital markets.  Catherine regularly participated in pro bono initiatives, including the Veterans Advocacy Program and the Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program.

Catherine holds a Bachelor of International Studies with Distinction (majoring in Globalisation) from the University of New South Wales and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Sydney.  Catherine is a qualified lawyer in the United States, Canada and Australia.

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Carbon Technical Manager

Nihar Kumar

Nihar has 8 years of relevant climate and energy project experience, with particular expertise in developing Improved Cookstove and Safe Water Supply projects globally.

Prior to joining Imperative, Nihar was Project Development Manager at EcoAct, where he was involved in the end-to-end development process for cookstove and safe water projects under the TPDDTEC methodology, including performing baseline and usage surveys, conducting Kitchen Performance Tests, Water Boiling Tests, Water Quality Tests, Water Consumption Field Tests and local stakeholder consultations.

Previously, Nihar worked with an Indian Carbon Offset Project Development Consulting firm in New Delhi, where he was involved in the registration of large-scale cookstove project in Bangladesh, and registration and validation related workstreams for over 25 projects across CDM, Gold Standard and VCS frameworks. During this time, Nihar was involved in the issuance of 1.9 million carbon credits.

Nihar holds a Master’s in Renewable Energy Engineering & Management from TERI University, a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and is a certified Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Engineers, India.

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Technical Manager

Kinne Gueye, PhD

Kinne has over 10 years of experience providing science-based policy and technical advice for the development of forest conservation and environmental projects in Latin America and Africa.

Prior to joining Imperative, she worked as an independent consultant providing technical advice for the development of carbon forestry projects in the tropics and helped various clients, including local communities, landowners, local governments and private companies on sustainability issues, including ecological impact assessment, woodland creation and sustainable forest management. Previously, she led the development of a multi-partnership research project in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve to evaluate REDD+ strategies and coordinated the environmental compliance of the Supervia Poniente in Mexico.

She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Cambridge, an MSc in Environmental Geography, a BSc in Biology – both from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a diploma in Environmental Modelling from ITC/University of Twente (The Netherlands).

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Technology Project Manager

Chris Everts

Chris was previously employed with Dimension Data, a technology company specializing in information technology services focusing on consulting, technical and support services. Primarily focused on data administration and analytics.

Chris has experience in implementing ERP software and IoT technology solutions empowering organizations and transforming operations to become digitally driven. Chris has implemented projects in various industries including mining and agriculture. He has implemented software and technology solutions in emerging African countries such as the DRC, Swaziland, and South Africa. He also has experience in technology product development, specifically focused on product demands driven by customer needs.

Chris is from South Africa and holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and is currently completing his MBA from Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) at University of Pretoria. He strives to create value in projects by enabling partners with relevant technology driven solutions.

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GIS Analyst

Nay Lin Tun

Nay is a forester with over 7 years of experience in remote sensing and geospatial analysis.  

Prior to joining Imperative, Nay was a Range Officer with the Forest Department of Myanmar, where he was involved in several nature conservation projects and led work relating to forest cover mapping, biomass estimation, forest inventory, landuse and landcover assessment and web mapping. 

Nay holds a MSc in Geospatial Science from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia and a BSc in Forestry from University of Forestry (Ye Zin), Myanmar. 

 

Project Coordinator

Angeli Gabrielle Reyes

Angeli has experience in the conduct and management of various environmental projects ranging from impact assessments to monitoring studies and audits. Her projects are spread across a range of industries, including voluntary carbon markets, urban development, power, and transportation. Her work as an environmental scientist with AECOM mainly comprised of data collection through fieldwork supplemented by research and report preparation.  

During her work as a research assistant with Ateneo URC, she conducted a comparative assessment of blue carbon stocks in conserved and disturbed seagrass beds. This helped her hone her skills in fieldwork, in-situ sampling, technical writing, and community engagement. Her study was published in 2021 as “Seagrass biomass and sediment carbon in conserved and disturbed seascape”. 

In 2020, Angeli graduated with a BS in Environmental Science, Honorable Mention from Ateneo de Manila University.

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Carbon Analyst

Maria Florinna Triviño

Inna has over 7 years in environmental science, technical writing, research and project management & coordination roles.

Inna was previously an environmental scientist with AECOM Philippines for 4 years, where worked on several environmental monitoring and impact assessment projects for a range of industries, including power, water supply and land development.

Inna also held technical writing, research and project coordination roles with Jacobs Philippines, Centre for Conservation Innovations (CCI), Futures Inc and Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute. Notably, as part her work with CCI, she actively consulted the Philippines government on the authoring of its National REDD+ Strategy.

Inna holds a BSc (Environmental Planning & Management) from MIRIAM College, Philippines.

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Senior Associate

Jonathan Thurling

Jonathan has over 5 years’ experience in emerging market investment and climate finance.  

Jonathan was previously an associate at Climate Fund Managers, an innovative blended finance fund manager investing exclusively in emerging markets. Together with Darren, he helped raise Climate Investor Two, a target USD 1 Billion blended finance fund focused on sustainable energy, circular economy, water, and ecosystem projects. During his time, he facilitated the investment of several different climate providers into the fund and developed the market research and investment strategy for the firm’s new climate finance investment products.  

Prio to joining Climate Fund Managers, Jonathan was a development economist at Urban-Econ Development Economists (based in South Africa) where he developed economic impact assessments, business plans and models for public and private sector organizations. He started his career at Kempen & Co, a Dutch investment bank.  

Jonathan holds an MSc in Economics with Distinction (specializing in Sustainability & Growth) from Tilburg University and a BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Cape Town. 

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Chief of Staff

Rafael Barone

Rafael brings over five years of experience in the sustainability field, focusing on decarbonization strategy projects, energy transition strategies, and due diligences primarily for McKinsey in South America and Europe.

Before his current engagements, Rafael played a pivotal role in advancing sustainability initiatives, applying his expertise to develop comprehensive decarbonization and energy transition strategies across various sectors. His work has been instrumental in guiding clients through complex sustainability transformations, leveraging his in-depth knowledge of the South American and European markets.

Rafael earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Finances from École Polytechnique and furthered his education with a Master’s degree in Management from HEC Paris, where he distinguished himself by completing a master’s thesis on green nudges. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Military Institute of Engineering in Brazil.

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