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Todd Gartner

Director, Cities4Forests and Natural Infrastructure, WRI

Todd Gartner is the Director of Cities4Forests and WRI’s Natural Infrastructure Initiative, where he leads a multidisciplinary team with a mission to better conserve, manage and restore forests, working landscapes, urban green infrastructure, and other ecosystems. In his role, Todd is responsible for overall leadership, management, partnerships, and fundraising for these initiatives. 

Todd directs Cities4Forests, which provides technical support for 60 cities from around the world to invest in their inner forests (such as city trees, urban parks, and green infrastructure), nearby forests (such as watersheds) and faraway forests (such as tropical and boreal forests). Todd coordinates a network of experts and partners who provide cities with technical assistance to align local policies, conduct knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer learning, access financing for project implementation, and raise awareness of the value of forests among city governments and urban residents. 

Todd also leads WRI’s Natural Infrastructure Initiative, which works to scale up nature-based solutions for water, climate and disaster risk mitigation, through project development, economic analysis and financing strategies. His team works closely with key decision-makers, such as utilities, investors and local and national governments to finance green infrastructure, pilot innovative projects and scale successful approaches. 

Through these initiatives, Todd helps governments, companies, and civil society manage their natural resources to deliver crucial benefits such as poverty reduction, economic growth, rural employment and livelihoods, and disaster resilience. 

Examples of his work include: 

  • The Forest Resilience Bond, a public-private partnership that enables private capital to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire by financing much-needed forest restoration, including a $4.6 million pilot in the Tahoe National Forest. 
  • Todd has played a key role in several financial and economic analyses of nature-based solutions as substitutes or complements to built infrastructure systems. This includes an economic analysis that evaluates the potential role of forest restoration in São Paulo’s water supply, and similar assessments in Rio De Janeiro, Vitoria, Colorado, California, Maine, the Chesapeake Bay, and Monterrey Mexico. 
  • Todd has worked with CERES, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, and CDP to develop The Climate Bonds Initiative’s Water Infrastructure Standard which focuses on both built and natural systems. Since launch, over $8 billion of Green Bonds have been issued under the Water Criteria, which provides investors with a verifiable, science-based screening process to evaluate bond investments bringing climate mitigation, vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning to the fixed income investment space for water infrastructure. 
  • Todd and his team of experts work with the World Bank, policy makers and development partners to evaluate green infrastructure from a technical, environmental, social and economic perspective. His analyses seek to mainstream solutions that unite green and gray infrastructure for disaster risk management, water security and improved livelihoods. 
  • In San Francisco, Todd’s team at WRI and partners are working with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commissions to develop a “Joint Benefits Authority”, an innovative governance and financing mechanism that provides a new way for municipal governments and service providers to scale up green infrastructure in the face of climate change. 
  • Todd is also involved in helping watershed stakeholders, governments and land managers build successful natural infrastructure programs through developing and sharing WRI methods and case studies, sharing data, and providing workshops, trainings and one-on-one advisory services. 

Todd is the author of several WRI and external publications and is frequently quoted in the media. 

Todd’s previous work included developing and running the Conservation Incentives and Ecosystem Markets program at the American Forest Foundation, field forestry work in New England, fire ecology and eco-tourism research in Botswana and India, business consulting for the USDA Forest Service and several years as a corporate financial consultant. 

Todd earned his Master of Forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.S. in finance from University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business. He is also a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow, Switzer Environmental Fellow, Environmental Leadership Program Fellow, and Property and Environmental Research Center Fellow. 

Todd is based in Portland, Oregon and is an avid hiker, rock climber, snowboarder and Baltimore Ravens fan. 

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