Jim Leape

Advisory Council Member, Consulting Professor at Stanford University

Specialties: Climate Change, Environmental Law and Policy, Science Communication

Jim Leape is the Cox Consulting Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and a consulting professor in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Through research, writing and direct engagement with private and public sector leaders, he is developing ways to catalyze private sector leadership on sustainability globally and specifically in China. He looks at how we can drive large-scale systemic shifts to sustainability.

Leape came to Stanford with 30 years of experience in conservation.  From 2005 to 2014, he served as the Director General of WWF International and leader of the global WWF Network, which is one of the world’s largest conservation organizations. In that capacity, he worked with government, business and civil society leaders on a wide range of issues from climate change, to forest conservation, to sustainability in global commodity markets.  Previously, he directed the conservation and science initiatives of the David and Lucile Packard foundation, a leading philanthropy institution in the U.S.  He was a lawyer for the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, a law professor, and a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Jim has served as an advisor to the World Economic Forum, the board of the International Civil Society Center and the China Council for International Cooperation in Environment and Development which advises the Premier of China on environmental policy.

Jim’s work has spanned a wide range of conservation efforts on every continent, including:

-Large-scale land protection initiatives, including protection of the 20-million-acre Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia and 150 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon.
-Community-based programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America to integrate conservation with local development.
-Collaboration with leading global companies and NGOs to drive sustainability into major global commodity markets, including markets for timber and paper, seafood, palm oil, soy, and others.
-Global campaigns to protect critically endangered species, including tigers, elephants, and Bluefin tuna.
-Public engagement, including Earth Hour, the largest public participation event in the world, reaching two billion people in 150 countries
-Convening heads of state to forge common conservation agendas in the Coral Triangle and on tigers.
-Global negotiations on climate change, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development
-High-level policy engagement and partnerships with key ministries and companies in China, on issues ranging from species protection and forest conservation to water resource management and energy policy.

Jim received an A.B. with honors from Harvard College and a J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School.

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