ADAM DAVIS is a co-founder and Managing Partner at EIP. He has worked over the past 35 years to understand and implement contract structures that reward environmental performance. In his “dream job” at EIP, he identifies opportunities for private capital and expertise to solve important regional problems, and has recently been focused on new types of public-private partnerships. He believes that practical experience and policy support each other, and works to improve the ability of environmental laws and regulations to achieve their intended outcomes.
Adam developed his expertise in aligning economic incentives with environmental outcomes in the recycling and composting business, and worked for the world’s largest solid waste and recycling company during the 1990’s. His work on structuring contracts to reward environmental performance there led to his becoming fascinated with the idea of “ecosystem services,” and how to get real people in real places paid for the protection and restoration of the natural systems that provide those services.
Adam and his wife Sara live in San Rafael, California—not far from their daughters, Eleanor and Olivia, who are also Bay Area residents. Adam has a BA in Africana Studies from Cornell University. He serves on the Board of the national industry trade association, the Ecological Restoration Business Association (ERBA), and the new California affiliate, CalERBA. Since the start of “stay-at-home” orders, he’s avoided the gym and become an avid e-mountain biker instead.
Q&A with Adam Davis
Tell us about your path to EIP. What interested you about this work?
I grew up in Baltimore in the 1960’s. My mother was a nature photographer who introduced me and my brother to the splendor and scale of America on a road trip in 1971. We drove some 7,000 miles and camped for an entire summer in a 1963 Buick station wagon (with no A/C and two dogs). My first job in the environmental field was with a composting company where I gained firsthand experience in using business to improve the environment.
What excites you about EIP’s impact in the world?
By developing a model that delivers a fair ROI for institutional investors through environmental restoration activity, we are creating more capacity to help solve important regional and environmental problems. The model can be really powerful anywhere, because when the incentives are aligned right, the more good we can do—and the better our investors do. Today we have the capacity to do some really good work, and I think this kind of capacity will be even more important as the effects of climate change become more evident in the coming years.