Helen Ding leads WRI’s economics research on Inclusive Development at the Global Centre of Economics. She is also Head of the Centre’s Equitable Economics Innovation Team in WRI Europe’s regional office in The Hague. In this capacity, Helen will develop and lead a compelling equitable economic growth strategy for WRI, in line with the global system transformational agenda. This new initiative will promote the sustainable uses and allocations of natural resources while ensuring fair and equitable benefit-sharing towards the vulnerable and marginalized groups. Additionally, she also provides thought leadership and directs economics research projects in the following areas: (1) making and strengthening the economic case for protecting and restoring natural capital and ecosystems; (2) developing financing instruments to scale up nature and climate actions and promote equitable benefit-sharing towards the vulnerable and marginalized local population and indigenous communities; (3) assessing the distributional economic impacts of environmental policies among different gender, culture and income groups; and (4) exploring the potential of circular economy to accelerate sustainable system transitions.

Helen is a subject matter expert on topics related to the economics and finance of forest and landscape restoration. She leads the socioeconomic analyses for the Global Restoration Initiative and is a co-founder of The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, a multi-partner initiative led by FAO to collect standardized data about the costs and benefits of ecosystem restoration worldwide. She is also an affiliated senior researcher with the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), where she contributes to research and strategic inputs that aim to transform the way the world produces food and uses our land for people, nature and climate.

With a career spanning across academia, consultancy, and NGOs, Helen brings over 15 years of professional experience and expertise in natural capital accounting, economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and policy-oriented economic analyses to her role at WRI. Her project experience extends a wide range of geographies, including the Africa region, Amazonia, China, Europe, India, and the Pacific Islands. Prior to WRI, Helen was a senior economist with Deloitte Sustainability Service in Paris and the deputy leader of Deloitte’s Natural Capital Community of Practice for Europe and Asia, where she represented Deloitte at the Expert Review Panel for the Natural Capital Protocol. She is also the winner of the UNECE/FAO PhD Thesis Award on Sustainable Forest Management in the UNECE region in 2011.

Helen holds a PhD degree in Science and Management of Climate Change from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy, and a MSc in Environmental Sciences with a specialization in Environmental Economics and Natural Resources from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.