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RELEASE: Jessica Seddon, Emma Stewart Take Leadership Roles at WRI to Advance Sustainable and Livable Cities

WASHINGTON (February 2, 2018) — World Resources Institute is pleased to welcome Jessica Seddon and Emma Stewart as the new Directors of Integrated Urban Strategy, and Urban Efficiency and Climate, respectively, for the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

“I am very excited to be adding these two great leaders to our team.” said Ani Dasgupta, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. “Emma and Jessica bring wide-ranging experience from the Caribbean to India and a remarkable depth of knowledge in the challenges of sustainable urban development. They will infuse our work with even more analytical skill and on-the-ground experience.”

Seddon has led the WRI Ross Center’s work on integrated land and water management, people-oriented development, and air quality since September. She joined WRI from Okapi, a social innovation strategy group in India that she founded during more than a decade of work on the sub-continent.

“It has been great to be part of a global team that is working with public, private, and community leaders to help cities tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time,” said Seddon. “WRI’s practice of integrating technical advice with strategies for building and sustaining coalitions to turn ideas into action is one of the most exciting parts of the position.”

Seddon was also a visiting fellow at the Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation and senior fellow at the Indian Institute of Technology's Madras Centre for Technology and Policy in Chennai. She worked with national government committees on urban infrastructure and transport; state government initiatives in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, and Karnataka; and community and civic-minded business groups to create policies, ecosystems and organizations that motivate and aggregate individual contributions to broader public purposes. She holds a PhD from Stanford University and a BA from Harvard University.

Stewart will oversee efforts to make urban buildings and transport more efficient and climate-friendly through demonstration projects, policies and new business models. Prior to joining WRI, she spent eight years at Autodesk where she founded the Sustainability Solutions division before spinning off a start-up automating the business case for green infrastructure.

“I have followed WRI’s urban work for years, and I am thrilled to be working at the nexus of their excellent cities, energy and climate teams,” said Stewart. “WRI Ross Center’s long-term engagement with cities, reliable open-source standards, and on-site research are incredibly valuable to sustainable urban development.”

Stewart has helped unearth what factors drive the best environmental and social practices among multi-national companies operating in major cities across the Caribbean. She launched toolkits, still used, that encourage companies to utilize their urban real estate as net contributors of ecosystem services and greenhouse gas mitigation. In the technology sector, she used the corporate bully pulpit to highlight urbanization as the single best opportunity in human history to bring about sustainable development. She holds a PhD from Stanford University and a BA Honors from Oxford University.

Stewart will be based in San Francisco. Seddon will be based in Washington, DC.

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