Sharon works on a range of projects related to biodiversity management by the private sector. Her role within the Business and Biodiversity team is to develop and oversee projects that support improved corporate performance regarding biodiversity and ecosystem services. This involves working to support companies directly as well as with those that influence corporate action, including national governments responsible for the regulation of activities, and finance institutions that influence business practice.
Sharon joined the centre in 2009 to help build the centre’s portfolio of work with the private sector. Prior to joining the Centre, Sharon worked on a number of projects that aimed to reconcile conservation objectives with those of social development. She has led field-based research and conservation projects in Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, working in affiliation with a number of institutions, including the Wildlife Conservation Society. Sharon has an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation and a PhD in the field of conservation and development, both carried out at the University of East Anglia, and has carried out post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge and the Universidade da Paraíba in Brazil.
Sharon has been leading the programme’s work to support national governments to manage the environmental impacts of development activities. This work draws on the Centre’s long history of working with the extractives sector to build capacity of government institutions in countries with emerging oil and gas sectors. This relates principally to UNEP-WCMC’s support to the Norwegian Oil for Development programme which Sharon oversees. While focused on the oil and gas sector this work entails broader capacity development and technical assistance to manage environmental data that is envisaged to strengthen environmental regulation in general.
Sharon has been heavily involved in efforts to engage business in international processes to set the global agenda on biodiversity, principally that related to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This has involved working with groups of businesses to provide input to the agenda in the CBD related to mainstreaming biodiversity into economic sectors such as energy, mining and infrastructure. More recently Sharon has been leading efforts to engage UK businesses in the development and subsequent implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework of the CBD, working in collaboration with the UK government.
Sharon oversees the portfolio of work related to agricultural commodities and supply chains in a private sector context. Sharon is one of the co-investigators for private-sector impact on the UKRI GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub, which brings together over 50 organisations from 15 different countries to help make trade sustainable for people and the planet. Through this work, Sharon engages with a range of private sector actors to better inform more action-orientated research to address supply chain sustainability challenges. Sharon also leads a collaboration with the UNEP Finance Initiative to build capacity of global and national banks to assess risks related to deforestation and other impacts on natural capital from their finance activities.