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Standard Framework Launch and Pubic Consultation - Pilot Implementation and Partnerships Phase

The Higher Ground Team

Karl Schultz, Founder and Executive Chairman 

Karl has worked on environment and development issues since 1991, including for the Peace Corps in West Africa and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's climate protection division where he managed the agency's international and domestic coal and climate programs. Over the past decade he has focussed on climate, markets, and policy issues and founded energy and environment consultancies Climate Mitigation Works and Energy Edge. He also co-founded the clean energy venture Green Gas, and now focuses primarily on climate finance and adaptation economics. He is the creator of The Higher Ground Foundation's vulnerability reduction market concept. Karl is responsible for strategic oversight of Higher Ground, research and development, and is Higher Ground’s senior spokesperson.

Linus Adler, Co-Founder and Technical Manager

Linus is a Climate and Energy Analyst responsible for management and analytical modeling and databases development. He has been involved in all phases of the consultative process, collaborating with sources and authorities within the climate and energy fields to develop insights and analysis on carbon credit baseline setting, down-scaled climate outputs for impacts assessments, and proposed frameworks for energy investment decisions. For Higher Ground, Linus is contributing technical analysis and modeling of the impacts of climate change on societal and economic well-being to establish baselines, monitoring and additionality criteria.

Roland Mader, Co-Founder and Advisor to the Executive Chairman

Roland is a successful entrepreneur and has been working as an executive in the clean energy and oil and gas industries for more than 15 years. He is the founder and Managing Partner of Entrenergy Partners Limited, an advisory firm focused on Energy, Natural Resources and Entrepreneurship, working on selected early stage companies in the clean technology space. Prior to that, he initiated and co-founded Green Gas International where he was Managing Director and a member of the Executive Committee for more than 5 years, growing the company from the start-up phase to a profitable company with EUR 60 million turnover and 450 employees. Roland is currently managing director of Werthland, a sustainable apple processing company. Among other roles, Roland advises Higher Ground on management and commercial aspects, and the strategic growth of Higher Ground.

Andrew Auruku, Fundraising Manager

Andrew is a public health and supply chain specialist who has an international diploma in Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University-New York and a bachelors of Laboratory Technology, with experience spanning over nine years in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is interested in and has expertise in climate change. Andrew has a long track record of international experience within professional companies operating in countries such as Uganda, Botswana, Tanzania, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and is acquainted with best professional practices. He also has intensive experience working with donors that fight diseases such as TB, HIV, and malaria and promote reproductive health, including USAID, the Global Fund, and CDC/PEPFAR. For the Higher Ground Foundation, Andrew will support the resource mobilization process by providing accurate and efficient fund research, identifying, tracking, and pursuing new business opportunities, and supporting donor relations.

Blake Gentry

Blake Gentry is a program and policy consultant in indigenous community health, development, and climate change with 20 years of experience. He currently serves as the Policy Advisor to the Traditional Govt. of the O’odham in Mexico Tribe, and has directed and coordinated activities with the United Nations Association of Southern Arizona and the Interactivity Foundation. He has worked with indigenous from over fifty unique indigenous nations and or individuals principally from Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, United States, and Canada. Blake is a member of the Cherokee Nation. His research and writing focuses on internal Chinese migration, indigenous rights, and climate change and can be viewed at: For the Higher Ground Foundation, Blake is serving as the Chief Author and Review Coordinator for the “Standards for Indigenous Community Consultation” under the VRC Standard Framework Experts Review.

Lydia Gomez Gonzalez

Lydia is an engineer with more than 16 years of experience in energy efficiency, renewable energy, green buildings design, and climate change mitigation. Lydia has worked in multicultural teams and has lived in countries such as Spain, France, Australia and Ethiopia. She has a combined experience working in the private sector in international companies such as Aurecon or Gas Natural Fenosa with an involvement in a large number of NGOs (Adsis Hedra, Engineers Without Borders, Jovesolides, UNHCR, Red Cross, etc). Lydia is on the Secretariat of the Higher Ground Foundation’s VRC Standard Framework Experts Group.

Bharat Vasandani

Bharat comes from a background in financial services, business consulting, and media. Bharat has worked across sectors in business consulting and financial services but in the last few years has been more focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency. He has been part of various committees focused on renewable energy in India, a speaker at events, and an InterSolar India Jury Member for 2013 and 2014. Bharat has a Bachelors in Engineering from Mumbai University, India followed by a Masters in International Business from ESC-Grenoble, France. As a volunteer with Higher Ground Foundation, Bharat's focus is on developing financial tools for VRCs for various climate change initiatives.

Dewan Quadir, Scientific Advisor

Professor Dewan Quadir is Chairman of the Physics Department at Uattara University in Dhaka, Bangladesh and a monsoon climatologist with more than 30 years experience. His work includes climate modelling, in particular for the South Asian region, climate impacts assessments, and adaptation developments. He has worked for a variety of organizations including SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC), and Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization. He has a PhD in meteorology and climatology from Moscow State University, and post-doctoral work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Lousiana State University in USA, and Reading University in the UK. Dr. Quadir serves as Higher Ground's climatologist and focuses on performing and assessing downscaled climate modelling results including assuring their applicability and sufficient confidence levels for generating VRCs.

Musfera Jahan ("Shormy")

Musfera Jahan ("Shormy") is a professional urban planner with 6 years’ experience in physical, land use, and master planning. She is currently involved in developing the 20-year detailed area plan for the Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan area. She has expertise in geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and map preparation, along with a number of skills obtained through earning her master’s degree in Disaster Management and Vulnerablity studies, including climate change adaptation and mitigation planning, vulnerability assessment and mapping, and remote sensing. For the Higher Ground, Shormy is developing a VRC methodology and tool for urban sector adaptation projects.

Sanjib Saha ("Tapu")

Sanjib Saha (“Tapu”) is a professional urban planner with 5 years' experience in physical planning, including preparing the master plan for 41 Pourashavas (Village Towns) of Bangladesh under a project titled “Upazilla Towns Infrastructure Development Project for 223 Pourashavas ”of the Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department. Now he is preparing a detailed 20-year area plan of Dhaka (Capital of Bangladesh) as an assistant urban planner. He also has expertise in geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and map preparation. For Higher Ground Tapu is developing a VRC methodology and tool for urban sector adaptation projects.

Jennifer Steeves

Jennifer is a risk analyst for the climate adaptation consultancy Acclimatise and leads its development and coordination of work in South Asia. She holds a master's degree in Environmental Policy and Regulation at the London School of Economics; her dissertation topic was the role of the private sector in climate change adaptation in developing countries. She holds a bachelor's degree in International Management, with experience working in business operations and communications in London, Brussels, Hong Kong, Poland, and Canada.

Jonathan Young

Jonathan is an independent consultant to the insurance industry, providing fee-basedservices to trade and political risk insurers, as well as to commercial clients. His experience spans more than 30 years in the UK and abroad, including 5 years specialising in underwriting risks arising from the carbon and renewable energy finance markets. Jonathan brings expertise in insurance and risk, along with carbon markets to Higher Ground and serves as “devil’s advocate” in strategy deliberation.

Maria Lasa Aresti

Maria is a recent graduate of the London School of Economics Masters of Public Administration Programme. She is a consultant with the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and for Higher Ground participated in the Climate Adaptation Business Challenge and has research opportunities for Corporate Social Responsibility to employ climate Vulnerability Reduction Credits.

Fawn Glen

Fawn Glen has extensive experience working with various industrial and energy entities, both large multinational corporations and small-medium size start-up companies. Fawn's successful career focused on business development and strategy formulation especially on Chinese market entry and expansion and in particular in the renewable energy sector. She is also an expert on sustainability issues and sustainable development.

Mukesh Gupta

Mukesh is an independent consultant and scholar with a background in energy and natural resource policy and sustainability transition. He has a particular interest in complex systems and has worked with NGOs, academia, and the corporate sector on studying energy and sustainable development in order to help develop a truly multidisciplinary outlook. He also has experience in translating research into policy-relevant outputs.

Mukesh’s view that effecting sustainability transitions will require treating mitigation and adaptation activities in constant feedback led to his joining the Higher Ground Foundation as a volunteer. As part of his work here, he will help manage and guide the 2017 VRC Framework review and rollout process.

Enrico Ponte

Enrico Ponte is an urban planner with five years of international experience in Adaptation Planning to Climate Change, DRR, Vulnerability Assessment, Vocational GIS Training in Caribbean countries, South America, Africa and Europe. He has also several years of collaboration with the DIST department of the Politecnico di Torino. Here he is developing experiences as invited lecturer for 3 different academic courses and he has worked also to submit proposals for international projects. He has a PHD focusing on climate adaptation and has worked as researcher and consultant for NGO’s, academic research centers and consulting agencies. With Higher Ground Dr. Ponte is developing project opportunities to pilot the VRC on the ground.

Marie Schön

Marie has a background in International Economic Relations and International Business and has had the opportunity to live, study and work in Germany, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and now the UK. She is currently working in business development for a consulting company and has a great interest in issues around sustainable development and climate change. As a volunteer with the Higher Ground Foundation and with her distinguished business development skills, Marie’s work includes coordinating Higher Ground's latest survey and survey report on climate adaptation support and assessment.


We wish to thank our volunteers and the many people that graciously have been helping us; dedicating their valuable time and efforts to develop Higher Ground.

Our special appreciation goes to:

Raymond Yu for designing our corporate identity, such as our company logo and corporate colour scheme.

be-wired for designing and implementing our website.

Dechert LLP, London for helping us to understand the legal and administrative requirements for a charity in the UK. 

Climate-KIC, Cleanlaunchpad, Knowledge for Climate, and its Climate Adaptation Business Challenge for entrepreneurial coaching as we progressed to the EU finals of the challenge.

We also wish to thank the numerous experts, advisors, and friends, for sharing their knowledge and experience in helping making the climate Vulnerability Reduction Credit standard ever better.

Thank you for your continued support.

©2015 The Higher Ground Foundation. The Higher Ground Foundation is an initiative of Climate Mitigation Works, a private limited company registered in England and Wales. Registration Number 04906591.