Director, Innovative Finance, Clean Cooking Alliance

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Full Time
  • Employment Opportunity
  • Experienced

Position Overview

The Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) works with a global network of partners to build an inclusive industry that makes clean cooking accessible to the three billion people who live each day without it. Established in 2010, the CCA is driving consumer demand, mobilizing investment to build a pipeline of scalable businesses, and fostering an enabling environment that allows the sector to thrive. Clean cooking transforms lives by improving health, protecting the climate and environment, empowering women, and helping consumers save time and money. In alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, CCA is working to achieve universal access to clean cooking by 2030.

CCA seeks to make high-impact clean cooking solutions desirable, affordable, and accessible for consumers, and viable for businesses to provide sustainably at scale. It supports companies that design, manufacture, distribute, and retail biomass, ethanol, biogas, and LPG-based clean cooking solutions in addition to more efficient wood and charcoal cookstoves. It also supports technology innovation with the aim to commercialize new technologies such as highly energy-efficient electric cookers for off-grid/mini-grid communities.

CCA has been leading a system-wide Strategy development process. Launched in mid-2020 and expected to continue throughout 2021, the Clean Cooking Systems Strategy aims to secure commitment and mobilize collective action toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 - access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. The emerging Strategy has been co-created with over one hundred stakeholders from the clean cooking ecosystem and adjacent spaces, including partners from the energy access, electricity, food systems, health, climate, and gender sectors.

The Market Strengthening team’s mission is to foster the development of a pipeline of sustainable, scalable, and investable clean cooking businesses that are able to attract capital to scale and replicate, accelerating the transition to cleaner cooking technologies that meet consumers’ needs. The three areas of interventions of the Market Strengthening team include the Venture Catalyst, the Market Catalyst, and the Demand Catalyst. The Venture Catalyst focuses on improving the pipeline of investment-ready businesses through business-level interventions; the Market Catalyst focuses on improving the enabling environment that helps such businesses succeed through market-level interventions; and the Demand Catalyst focuses on understanding consumers and driving demand through interventions targeted at consumers. Gender is a core and cross-cutting theme of the three Catalysts.

The Director, Innovative Finance Lead will join the Market Strengthening team to contribute to the identification, design, and implementations of interventions that seek to improve the development of financing options for a strong and sustainable clean cooking market. The Director, Innovative Finance Lead will be expected to work heavily through partnerships so as to leverage other institutions and efforts and scale the reach and depth of CCA’s work. The scope of work covered by this position will include equity and debt funds, results-based financing – including carbon credits, climate finance, public subsidies, consumer financing, crowdfunding, guarantees, and other financing vehicles that show potential for supporting the growth of the clean cooking market. The Director, Innovative Finance Lead is expected to interface with a broad range of primary stakeholders through this position, including small and growing business, multinational corporations, angel investors, institutional investors, and family foundations.

The Director, Innovative Finance Lead will also work closely with the Strategy and Development team, the Evidence and Impact team as well as with the Chief of Staff on strategic cross-cutting CCA initiatives relevant to the work of the Market Strengthening team.

This role is based in Washington D.C. or London.

Essential Functions

  • Clean cooking sector stakeholder engagement
    • Identifying, shaping, and supporting innovative finance projects with Venture Catalyst companies
    • Cultivating relationships with investors to connect them with Venture Catalyst companies seeking investment
    • Promoting and cultivating investor interest in clean cooking, including through CCA’s investor roundtables and through CCA’s investment series events
    • Engaging with and mobilizing of sources of finance around clean cooking policy issues
    • Providing technical assistance to investors, financial institutions, and donor-funded programs on the development of financial instruments
  • Country-level engagements
    • Supporting the Country Director and the private sector and investment team of CCA’s Haiti Cookstoves and Clean Energy Markets project
    • Contributing to innovative finance interventions that aim to build more robust national clean cooking ecosystems
  • Global-level engagements
    • Identifying key financing gaps or pain points within the clean cooking sector and supporting the development of new solutions that enhance or complement existing initiatives
    • Developing a strategy for the Market Strengthening team’s work on innovative finance, in line with the Clean Cooking Sector Strategy
    • Developing prototypes for new innovative finance interventions, services, tools, and processes
    • Developing CCA-hosted or spinning out public goods related to a range of financing needs and solutions across the clean cooking sector such as tools, platforms, databases, knowledge briefs, and networks
    • Playing an important role in the development and implementation of a Results Based Finance Accelerator (RBFA). The RBF Accelerator aims to resolve the most urgent challenges inhibiting the deployment of RBF funding for clean cooking at scale More specifically, the primary objective of the RBFA is to unlock funding streams capable of facilitating access to clean, safe, convenient, reliable, and affordable cooking solutions for the 2.6 billion individuals worldwide that presently lack access
    • Supporting the implementation of the Clean Cooking System Strategy in the Market Strengthening Team
  • Other duties as assigned

Selection Criteria

  • Graduate degree and at least 8 years of related professional experience required
  • Experience working with a wide range of investors, including impact investors, commercial investors, and strategic investors, ideally related to increasing investor engagement in energy, climate, healthcare or gender in low- and middle-income countries
  • Experience with a broad range of financial instruments relevant to small and growing businesses, including results-based financing
  • Experience with the design and roll-out of financial instruments, particularly for social impact businesses
  • Existing understanding of the early-stage financing landscape, existing networks within the climate finance, energy access, and SME finance communities
  • Existing understanding of and experience with the carbon market sector
  • Keen understanding of development finance institutions
  • Demonstrated interest in the social and environmental impact dimensions of the products and business models that CCA supports, and the ability to liaise and collaborate with other colleagues within CCA and those in the sector at large
  • Experience in low and middle-income countries, that conveys credibility amongst stakeholders including senior management teams of companies, investors, government officials, and other ecosystem professionals, particularly among those working towards social and environmental impact
  • Ability to cultivate effective working relationships with people, internally and externally, from a wide variety of types of organizations, cultural backgrounds, and areas of expertise
  • Demonstrated project management skills, including managing teams and budgets on a tight timeline
  • An ability to translate technical information in a compelling way for non-technical audiences
  • Existing relationships with innovative finance actors relevant to the clean cooking sector
  • Energetic and positive attitude
  • Solutions-oriented and able to manage and advance multiple task and responsibilities in a dynamic, fast-paced environment
  • Strategic thinking
  • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills
  • Problem-solver with a proactive, no-task-is-too-small nature who takes initiative 
  • Team-oriented, supportive work style, and able to work independently
  • Excellent communicator, able to synthesize and convey complex information clearly in written and oral forms, in particular, development of visual assets to present design findings
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress
  • High ethical standards and the ability to maintain confidentiality and discretion with sensitive information
  • Ability to learn new systems and collaboration platforms efficiently
  • Proficiency in Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint), with particular emphasis on the ability to create compelling and professional PowerPoint materials
  • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy
  • Experience developing results-based finance contracts and structures, as well as other blended finance models, is preferred
  • Experience working on market development, public health, energy access, clean cooking fuels, and cookstoves in low and middle income countries preferred
  • Experience with innovation in the financial sector preferred
  • Entrepreneurial experience in the private or non-profit sectors preferred
  • Experience with design thinking preferred
  • Ability to work in French preferred

Benefits & Compensation 

For full-time, benefit eligible employees, UNF offers an excellent range of benefits, including:

  • a choice between two health plans through UnitedHealthcare (PPO or HDHP with HSA)
  • dental insurance
  • vision insurance
  • flexible spending accounts
  • 403b retirement savings plan with a generous matching contribution
  • group term and supplemental life insurance
  • short-term disability
  • long-term disability
  • health club discounts
  • commuter subsidy
  • back-up care
  • employee assistance program

Additionally, all benefit eligible employees have 12 paid holidays, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 3 personal days, and 8 weeks of family leave care.

The United Nations Foundation is proud to be an equal opportunity and affirmative-action employer. The United Nations Foundation provides equal employment opportunity to all employees and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

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