Paul William JORGENSEN, MSc in Environmental Science (South Africa)

Paul Jorgensen

Paul holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is currently an environmental scientist at SRK Consulting, South Africa. His latest research work focuses on natural capital, ecosystem services, climate change and sustainability certification systems in mining and agriculture.

Current position: Environmental Scientist at SRK Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa

Research focus: Natural capital assessments, sustainability certification systems and climate change risk assessment

For his Master´s thesis, he explored how ecosystem services can be quantified by linking risk and vulnerability to game theory and applied to a corporate sustainability model, in order to influence public policy development. During that time he also worked as a junior lecturer and senior tutor.

Paul received a Green Talent in 2010, which allowed him to work in an international environment and broadened his perspective on international research methods and opportunities. After participating in the competition, he began working as a visiting researcher at the United Nations Institute for Environmental and Human Security in Germany and as a sustainability consultant at Thorn Ex Group in South Africa before joining SRK in 2013.

2015 Member of the Ecosystem Services Partnership
2014 Member of the Climate Reality Project founded and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2010):

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Research focus: Quantification of ecosystem goods and services

In spite of his young age, Paul William Jorgensen has already earned a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Science in addition to a Bachelor of Social Science in Geography and Economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, in his home country of South Africa.

There, he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Science, which he hopes to complete by the end of 2010. Previously, Mr Jorgensen had worked as a junior lecturer at the university and now serves as a senior extended curriculum tutor. Furthermore, Mr Jorgensen founded the student branch of the International Association for Impact Assessment, South African Affiliate (IAIAsa) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Its purpose is to help environmental students to network with those working in the field in order to broaden their knowledge of environmental issues and allow them to better contribute to sustainable development.

Mr Jorgensen’s background in both environmental and social sciences puts him in an excellent position to tackle interdisciplinary problems. He is particularly interested in ecosystem goods and services (EGS) – the benefits arising from ecological functions of healthy ecosystems. Examples of such EGSs are clean air and fresh water or aesthetic beauty of a landscape or the raw materials it provides. In his master’s thesis, Mr Jorgensen is investigating how such EGSs can be quantified by linking risk and vulnerability to Game Theory that will hopefully influence policy development. For his research, he is using the example of the community of Msunduzi KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. A better understanding of EGSs and methods to quantify them could significantly improve environmental management, land use planning and policy making, which would ultimately lead to a sustainable way of living.

Aside from his excellent academic credentials, Mr Jorgensen impressed the jury with how focused on studying EGSs he already is at his young age. Especially in the context of global warming, such research is eminently relevant at the moment. During the Green Talents Forum, Jorgensen will have a chance to meet with representatives of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), which played a key role in the TEEB study “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.” He hopes to learn more about effective formulation and implementation of plans and policies for sustainable development: “Learning from the German experience will allow me to better understand how such plans and policies can be incorporated into a local context here in South Africa.”