Toby Janson-Smith

Title: Chief Innovation Officer
Joined Verra: 2013
Lives: San Francisco, CA

As Chief Innovation Officer, Toby is charged with identifying and advancing new standards frameworks and partnerships for Verra.  He also oversees the organization’s Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) efforts including the development and implementation of project and jurisdictional/landscape standards.

Toby led the establishment of the original VCS AFOLU framework in 2008, which has become the preeminent global carbon accounting standard for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), currently being used by more than a hundred projects worldwide.

Previously, Toby headed up Conservation International’s Climate and Land Use, Markets and Policy program, advancing market mechanisms for ecosystem services and securing some of the largest corporate REDD investments to date through partnerships with Disney, Marriott and Dell.  Prior to that, Toby directed the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) – developer of the leading social and environmental standards for forest carbon projects and government programs, now managed by Verra.

On the forest carbon policy front, Toby has developed legislative proposals adopted within various US climate bills and helped establish bilateral agreements between leading U.S., Brazilian, Indonesian and Mexican states.  He also served on the REDD Offsets Working Group, providing recommendations to the California Air Resources Board on how tropical forests could be brought into the state’s cap-and-trade scheme, and has been an adviser to the Carbon Fund of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.

Toby authored the “Corporate Primer on REDD+” (Conservation International, 2013) and co-edited the book “Climate Change and Forests – Emerging Policy and Market Opportunities” published in 2010 by the Brookings Institute and Royal Institute of International Affairs.  Toby holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of London and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and two sons.

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