Earthmind maintains a network of experienced Senior Associates to support the sustainability requirements of its clients and partners. Scroll down this page for more information on our Senior Associates.
Divonne-les Bains, France
Francis is the founder and executive director of Earthmind. He has over 25 years of international experience in sustainable development and business. Professional strengths include strategic thinking, programme development, project management, technical analysis, policy dialogue, applied research, and executive training. Previous experience includes:
- Oxford: as the CEO of Earthwatch Institute (Europe) managed a unique partnership programme with a group of 40 large multinational corporations
- Geneva: as the Senior Economist for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) set up its Economics and Business Units, including undertaking a feasibility study with the IFC on biodiversity finance in Africa
- Nairobi: worked for the African Wildlife Foundation under a UNDP/GEF grant to build biodiversity economics capacity in East Africa
- Johannesburg: set up Eco Plus, an innovative consultancy focused on business and the environment, and advised on the economics of dune mining and the reintroduction of lions
Francis has a PhD and MA in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Diploma in Integrated Environmental Management from the University of Cape Town. He is a member of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), World Commission of Protected Areas (WCPA), Species Survival Commission (SSC), and Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social policy (CEESP). Also see: linkedin.com/in/vorhies
Sam is a geologist whose primary focus is resource economics. An expert on the various ‘peak oil’ arguments and methodologies, his interests extend to the strategic outlook for alternative energy sources for the economy. In addition to fossil fuels, his geological approach encompases all natural resources, especially water. Over the years Sam has worked for major international oil companies, industry consulting groups and founded his own consulting company.
Because his work requires significant data analysis, Sam is particularly competent in computer data management. Clients have included banks, environmental NGOs and International organizations. Sam hold degrees in geology from Yale and Harvard, and is currently working on another at the University of Geneva. He supports the work of Earthmind by providing an understanding of the links between economics, the living environment and the physical environment.
In the late nineties, Jan worked for four years as an ecologist with one of the first carbon sequestration reforestation projects in the world, the Ecuadorian Programa PROFAFOR, which was set up to offset the emissions from a new Dutch coal-fired power plant through tree planting in the Ecuadorian Andes.
Jan then moved to Oxford, UK, where he worked for 10 years with carbon market pioneer and leading carbon project developer EcoSecurities, heading the carbon forestry department. Jan and his team were responsible for originating a forestry project portfolio, bringing it through the carbon offset certification process and assisting the Commercialization Team to sell the resulting credits in the carbon markets. In this function he assessed over 30 projects on their carbon market feasibility and brought numerous projects through the process.
Jan is a Dutch biologist who graduated in tropical ecology at the University of Amsterdam. He speaks fluent English, Dutch, German and Spanish and has working knowledge of Portuguese and French. Since October 2010, Jan has an independent consultant based in Oxford and working under the name of Value for Nature Ltd.
Sheldon’s long term objective is to create solutions at the forefront of engineering and business to make the world sustainable for all, and he previously worked for Earthmind as a Junior Associate on the implementation of the GDI and the design of the pilot platform for VCAs.
His work experience includes environmental education, engineering consulting, working for Canada’s federal environmental agency, as well as working for Canada’s Department of National Defence. The last few years of his career have focused on designing effective strategies to engage individuals and companies into investing in sustainability, with a particular interest in ocean issues.
Sheldon holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Systems Design Engineering with a specialisation in Environmental Engineering from the University of Waterloo. He continues to support the development of the VCA Platform from his home in Canada.
Aurélien is an environmental and development economist with various work experience with NGOs, a development bank and the public sector. He has lived and worked in the USA, Jamaica, Guadeloupe and France – providing policy analysis and programme evaluation and conducting environmental and economic assessments. In Jamaica, he conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) management plan based on an economic valuation of its ecosystem goods and services within a local non-profit organization. He worked as an economist for the French Development Agency in Guadeloupe on the production of publications on the macroeconomic and international trade dynamics, sectoral challenges and sustainable development issues facing each region of the French Antilles.
More recently, he coordinated the initial economic and social assessment of the use of marine waters and of the costs of ecosystem degradation for the implementation of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive in France. Aurélien holds a MSc in International Development and Environmental Policy Analysis (High Hons) from the CERDI at the University of Clermond-Ferrand in France and studied during his first year of masters at the University of Virginia, USA. He also has a BA in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Lyon II.
His work with Earthmind has focused on the economics of biodiversity including financing mechanisms and policy incentives.
Jesse is an environmental policy analyst with more than 10 years’ experience working in international conservation. His areas of expertise include marine protected area governance and financing, capacity building, environmental research/analysis, science-policy translation, and programme development. His most recent projects and partners include:
- Developing a collaborative conservation internship programme in Timor-Leste (CI-Asia Pacific, 2014)
- Leading sustainable financing and benefit-sharing assessments/workshops aimed at advising development of a marine protected area around the Koh Rong Archipelago, Cambodia (FFI-Cambodia, 2013-2014)
- Developing and leading conservation field courses in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, and the Philippines (National University of Singapore, 2012-2014)
- Drafting a strategic plan for a worldwide marine protected area campaign and writing position papers for Convention on Biological Diversity advocacy (WWF-International, 2011-2012)
Jesse brings an international perspective to his projects, having worked in 14 countries on four continents. He has a Masters in Public Policy (2006) and a PhD in Environmental Science and Policy (2011) from Duke University, United States. He is currently based at the National University of Singapore.
Julian is a senior diplomat with extensive experience of working with international organisations, NGOs and the business community. He has worked in Malawi, Egypt, Latin America, the Balkans, and as Minister and Deputy Permanent Representative at the UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. His experience includes:
- Leading the UK Delegation to the World Trade Organisation Doha trade negotiations for 4 years (2005 -09). Elected Chairman of the WTO Committee on Regional Trade Agreements
- Leading the UK Delegation to the UNCTAD XII Ministerial Conference, Accra, 2008
- Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy, Zagreb, 1995 – 97
- Policy experience in the Former Yugoslavia (1993 – 2000), South Africa (1991 – 93), the Middle East (1987 -91) and Latin America (1983 -87)
- Strategic management of a global asset portfolio, including considerable interface with the private sector
- Development planning in Africa as a Fellow of the Overseas Development Institute (1981 -82)
Julian specialises in international negotiation, conflict resolution and stakeholder management. He is a Development Economist by training, having a Masters degree in Economics from Sussex University and a BSc in Politics and Economics from Bristol University.
With Earthmind, Julian played a central role in the GDM 2010 Initiative and the subsequent Green Development Initiative which conceptualised and designed the pilot VCA scheme . He is also a member of the current VCA team.
An economic consultant with experience on four continents, Valerie engages key actors in sustainable development and conservation by exhibiting the value added of cross-sector collaboration. Previously, Valerie worked in a public-private economic development corporation in the United States and at the Delegation of the European Union of Australia. She currently works in Paris as a junior consultant in the sustainability services of a Big Four accounting firm.
Valerie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Arizona State University and a Double Master’s in International Political Economy and Economic Policy from the London School of Economics and Sciences Po Paris. Her Master’s thesis explored the international political economy of wildlife trade. Valerie is collaborating with Earthmind to help establish an online information platform for sustainable wildlife trade and grow the VCA Alliance.
Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes
Cape Town, South Africa
Michael is a sustainability economist, with unique experience and understanding of the role of markets for biodiversity conservation. He has been actively involved in various private conservation initiatives for 25 years, starting as a financial manager of a private game reserve in South Africa. Michael conducted pioneering research into the role of private markets for wildlife conservation in Southern Africa, and worked with Francis Vorhies in setting up Eco Plus, an innovative consultancy on business, economics and the environment.
His consulting experience includes work on issues as varied as energy policy, environmental impact assessments, trans-frontier conservation areas, wildlife trade policy and institutional reform in protected area management. Past clients include the World Energy Council, USAID, WWF, TRAFFIC International, Africa Resources Trust and Save the Rhino International. He has also worked and published with several think tanks, including the Free Market Foundation, Institute of Economic Affairs Environment Unit, Property and Environment Research Center and the International Policy Network.
Michael completed his BCom (Hons) at the University of the Witwatersrand and his MSc in Environmental Resource Economics at University College London under Professor David Pearce. He also has a diploma in integrated environmental management from the University of Cape Town and recently was awarded a Masters in Biodiversity Conservation and Management from Oxford University. Michael is supporting Earthmind’s new initiative to establish an online information platform for sustainable wildlife trade.
Vanja is an environmental economist by training. She has extensive field experience across different agro-ecological zones spanning Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East. Her work focuses on assessing private and public benefits of ecosystem restoration; undertaking investment and impact analysis of agricultural land uses; demonstrating the business case for renewable energy developments; and advising on finance mechanisms for integrating the values of natural capital into policy decisions. Vanja appreciates the benefits of interdisciplinary teamwork, having collaborated with agronomists, hydrologists, landowners, business representatives, NGOs and government agencies to incorporate environmental issues into business practice and public policy.
Vanja earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Economics in 2012 from University of Montpellier that was co-tutored by University of Copenhagen. She has worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research (KORA), the French Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the French National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) and the European Commission’s Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB – JRC).