Vanja Westerberg

Vanja Westerberg

Applied Economist | Impact Valuation 

Co-Founder of Altus Impact

Vanja is trained as an environmental economist and has 15 years of experience in applied research and consultancy combined with extensive fieldwork spanning Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East. She has led mandates with development cooperations, companies, governments and NGOs, with a focus on

  • assessing the costs and benefits of large-scale interventions to regenerate agricultural and forest landscapes;
  • undertaking financial feasibility assessments and impact valuation of green and grey infrastructure developments;
  • advising on finance mechanisms for integrating the values of natural capital into policy decisions.

In doing so, she designs and implements stakeholder consultations, trainings, field-based surveys, earth observations and multi-disciplinary teams, to effectively advance green economy agendas. Her research, teaching and data analytic skills allows her to distill complex information into grounded and practical material for evidence based decision-making.

Prior to embarking on the Altus Impact journey, Vanja worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the French National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), the Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research and European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

Vanja has a Ph.D. in Environmental Economics from University of Montpellier; a MSc of Agricultural Economics from the University of Copenhagen and a BSc in Economics from the University of St Andrews. She speaks fluent Danish, French and English with some conversational Spanish.

Contact Vanja

Selected publications & contributions

  • World Bank. 2023. Valuing Green Infrastructure: A Case Study of the Vakhsh River Basin, Tajikistan. ©Washington, DC: World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/40350.
  • Westerberg, V. McCann, T., Costa, L., 2023. Agroecological farming in Haiti: A poverty crisis solution. An ELD publication. Also featured in Mongobay.
  • Olam Agri 2023. Land degradation hotspot analysis. p.103 in Olam Agri’s annual report.
  • Doku, A. Di Falco, S. Westerberg, V., 2023. Training, locus of control and sustainable land management in Upper West Region of Ghana in Behavioral Economics and the Environment. pp418
  • Westerberg, V., 2022. The economic case for re-using sediment from the Tuyamuyun Hydropower Complex. The Nexus WEF Security Hub, funded by the GIZ, the EU commission and the World Bank.
  • Reynolds, S. Westerberg, V. Costa, L. An open access toolkit in Google Earth Engine to help decision makers assess and address progress towards land degradation neutrality (target 15.3.1), awarded second price in the international GEO-LDN competition and support to work with the winning team.  For more info: https://old.geo-ldn.org/finalists
  • Reynolds S. Westerberg, V. Mirzabaev A., 2022. Methodology and Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Sustainable Land Management Practices from the WOCAT Database.
  • Westerberg, V and Costa, L, Chapter 4, 5 & 6 in Valuing, restoring and managing “presumed drylands”: Cerrado, Miombo–Mopane woodlands and the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. hwww.fao.org/documents/card/es/c/cc0110en/ UN FAO.
  • Westerberg, V. Robinson, S. Stebbings, E. Costa, L. Visetti, P., 2021.  The economics of pasture management in Georgia. The Economics of Land Degradation Initiative, GIZ, Bonn, Germany.
  • Westerberg, V. Doku, A., Damnyag, L., Kranjac-Berisavljevic, G., Owusu, S., Jasaw, G., Di Falco, S., Reversing Land Degradation in Drylands: The Case for Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Undertaken as part of the ‘Reversing Land Degradation in Africa by Scaling-up Evergreen Agriculture’ project.
  • Costa, L. Westerberg V., 2019. The simulated global and nation-specific benefits of adopting the “4 per 1000” initiative. The value of water savings, yield improvement and carbon sequestration. Output published in “Common ground: restoring land health for sustainable agriculture” 2020, Gland, Switzerland, IUCN.
  • Westerberg, V., 2017. The economics of conventional and organic cotton production. A case study from the municipality of Banikoara, Benin. Report (en) (fr). The ELD initiative.
  • Westerberg, V., Golay, A., Houdekon, V., Le coton est-il vraiment l’or blanc à Banikoara? Case study report (fr)
  • Westerberg, V., Costa, L., Ghambashidze, G., Reducing Wildfires in Georgia. CBA of Agricultural Burning Practices in the Dedoplistskaro Municipality, Georgia. Published by GIZ Caucasus. & Associated video www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz3zkBRL94s
  • Altus Impact, SUMAS and OKO forests, Cassava Starch to Beer: Transforming agricultural practices in Ghana by applying the Natural Capital Protocol.
  • Westerberg, V. Bredahl-Jacobsen, J., Lifran, R., 2015. Offshore wind farms in Southern Europe – Determining tourist preference and social acceptance. Journal of Energy Research and Social Science, vol. 10, 165-179.
  • Westerberg, V. Myint, M., 2015. An Economic Valuation of a large-scale rangeland restoration project through the Hima system in Jordan. Report for the ELD Initiative. ISBN: 978-92-808-6057-3.
  • Sidibé, Y. Myint, M. Westerberg, V. An Economic Valuation of agroforestry and land restoration in the Kelka forest in Mali. Report for the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative. ISBN: 978-92-808-6058.
  • Ricome, A. Myint, M. Westerberg, V. An Economic Valuation of sustainable land management through Gum Arabic agroforestry in eastern Sudan. Report for the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative. ISBN: 978-92-808-6059-7.
  • Westerberg, V. 2014. Chapter 4. Market-based Instruments (to address aggregates and cement waste and account for biodiversity). In Lucas, S., Borges, M.A., Westerberg, V., Guendling, L., Biodiversity management in the cement and aggregates sector. http://tinyurl.com/mr3bjnhv. Published by IUCN Business and Biodiversity Programme, 2014.
  • Westerberg, V. Bredahl-Jacobsen, J. Lifran, R., 2013. The case for offshore wind farms, artificial reefs and sustainable tourism in the French Mediterranean. Journal of Tourism Management 32, p.172–183.
  • Aronson, J, Clays, F. Westerberg, V. Bernard, G., De Groot, R., 2012. Steps Towards Sustainability and Tools for Restoring Natural Capital: Etang de Berre (southern France) case. Chapter 7 for M. Weinstein and E. Turner, eds. Sustainability Science. Springer, New York.
  • Bishop, J, Westerberg, V. Ettehad, S., Seidl, A., Identifying and Mobilizing Resources for Biodiversity Conservation. Prepared for the CBD COP-11. IUCN Global Economics Programme paper series 2012, p.1-102.
  • Lifran, R. Rambonilaza, T. Westerberg, V., 2011, L’évaluation économique de la demande de paysage. Chapter 2 for Ouestlati, W., 2011. Analyses économiques du paysage, Quae publications.
  • Westerberg V., Lifran, R., Olsen B.S., 2010. To restore or not? A valuation of the social and ecological functions of the Marais des Baux wetland in Southern France, Journal of Ecological Economics 69, p. 2383–2393.
  • Westerberg, V. Akwah, G., 2016 Keys to efficient REDD+ Benefit Sharing Mechanisms in the Ghanian Cocoa Sector – An analysis of cocoa agroforestry using household data from the Wassa Amenfi district. IUCN BMU publication.
  • Westerberg, V., 2016 ‘All that glitters and burns is not gold’ Blog post. CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems; 2015 Blog post. “Water use: rights versus markets – a false dichotomy?” IUCN knowledge platform