Job Opportunity: Environmental Economics/Water Expert

The Natural Capital Declaration, a joint initiative between Global Canopy Programme and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), is seeking a Research analyst for a project in partnership with the German International cooperation (GIZ) and the The German Association for Environmental Management and Sustainability in Financial Institutions (VfU). The aim of the joint project is to identify and quantify corporate water risks and to develop and test a methodology and tool to incorporate water risks the valuation of corporate bonds. T he project will develop a first-cut framework and demonstration tool to map water risk across corporate bonds and integrate indicators of exposure to water scarcity into credit risk assessments. The 'Corporate Bond Water Risk Tool' will build the capacity of finance professionals to assess the materiality of water risks, quantify water metrics, and incorporate these risks directly in the credit risk analysis for corporate bond valuations, an essential lever to incorporate material environmental externalities in capital markets.

Role and Responsibilities of the Environmental Economics/Water Expert:

  • Defining corporate sectors with high water risk exposure
  • Defining scope of the tool in terms of water aspects
  • Evaluate existing methods and tools that help to identify, assess and quantify Natural Capital / water risks
  • Link Natural Capital and Financial Data Structure in coordination with Financial Analyst
  • Create Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium Model and Sensitivity Analysis for Shadow Price of Water Resource
  • Provide inputs into supporting methodological papers and evidence.


  1. Help identify high-risk sectors to focus on in methodology development.
  2. Academic literature review and gathering of expert opinions on environmental economics and ecosystems valuations to collect, analyse and quantify economic values for water to reflect water stress levels.
  3. Assess existing water-related tools available to asset managers. Identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative water risk indicators/tools available to asset managers.
  4. Draw on existing valuation methodologies to identify the value of water in different locations. Research and analysis to develop an Excel-based economic values/price index for water.
  5. Define water risks and create a clear methodological framework for measures of the economic value of water as an ecosystem good, including assumptions and limitations. Incorporate feedback from expert peer review.
  6. Map water values to data on water availability using spatial data on water distributions and projected constraints.
  7. Contribute to developing geospatial and sector-specific water risk methodologies.
  8. Structure appropriate analysis/data for company analysis and create hierarchy of proxies to evaluate water risk across company operations.
  9. Develop first draft of methodology/guidance and tool to integrate water risk into corporate bond analysis together with financial analyst.
  10. Develop a paper providing an evidence-base to illustrate the business case for strengthening water risk management.
  11. Develop research to identify correlation and causality between water and financial risk. Evaluate systematic market risk. Identify potential implications of changes in actual water pricing in relevant locations and trends/volatility in costs for water users. Identify mechanisms for the internalisation of external environmental costs of water use across industries and geographies.
  12. Work with partners to support research, attend meetings, help design, implement and analyse methodology, liaise with stakeholders and assist with report writing.
  13. Evaluate the feasibility of alternative approaches and including broader risk indicators, such as water quality, water-related charges and penalties, changes in water supply and treatment costs, regulatory and reputational risk in the analysis. Explore the potential to use the gap between water pricing, infrastructure/technology costs and the external environmental costs of water use as a risk indicator.
  14. Other tasks as agreed with the project team.

Essential skills/experience:

  • Postgraduate degree (Masters or PhD) in environmental/resource economics or a related field (or equivalent level qualification)
  • Strong analytical ability
  • Professional experience in environmental economics, environmental risk, natural resource / water management
  • Research track record with excellent modelling and statistical skills
  • Knowledgeable about the economic and ecological issues surrounding integrated water resource management
  • Interest in cross-disciplinary research
  • Fluency in English

Desirable experience and qualifications:

  • Familiar with geo data tools
  • Good Excel skills
  • Project management ability
  • Independence, reliability and good communication skills
  • Highly flexible in activities undertaken
  • Water valuation expertise and understanding of water issues
  • Corporate financial accounting knowledge
  • Knowledge of R, Matlab or Python (in particular libraries such as Pandas, NumPy, Statsmodels, Matplotlib, etc.)

The position will suit a person with expertise in environmental economics and water scarcity issues who is motivated to apply this knowledge to the financial sector.

Location: Ideally to be based in Oxford, London, Geneva or Frankfurt

Remuneration: Competitive for NGO sector


Start date and terms

September/ASAP; part-time or full-time for 4-6 months.

Application process

Applicants for the role should send a full CV and covering letter to Liesel van Ast, Natural Capital Declaration Programme Manager, at

Please include your salary expectations (on a monthly or daily rate, including taxes).

Applications are requested asap and by 31 August 2014 at the latest.

Due to the number of applications, we will only be able to contact those shortlisted for interviews in September.