Andreas Merkl

Andreas Merkl is a consultant and researcher based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He centers his work on complex systems problems on the human/ecology interface. Oceans, circular economy/plastic, food systems, and natural resource management are areas of special interest. He chairs Sustaining our Urban Landscape (SOUL), a nonprofit focused on the reforestation of New Orleans.

Andreas learned politics working for Diane Feinstein in San Francisco (1983-1987). He spent the better part of a decade (1989-95, 1997–2000) with McKinsey & Co, mostly in banking and natural resources.  He grew CEA, a San Francisco-based consulting and investment platform, into an incubator of environmental foundations (e.g. ClimateWorks), an international treaty-based organization (Global Green Growth Institute), venture capital funds (e.g. SeaChange Fund), industry associations (e.g. Chemical Recycling Partnership), a fiscal sponsorship organization (e.g. The Canopy Institute, now Multiplier), and nonprofits (e.g. Community Conservation Investment Forum), holding senior management or governance roles in all of these institutions. From 2013 through 2018, Andreas was CEO of the Ocean Conservancy.

Most recently, Andreas was the lead author on the High Level Panel on Sustainable Ocean Economies Report (2019), worked with a major global investor on reshaping global plastics recycling markets (2020), and served as a principal in the Finance for Biodiversity (F4B) initiative (2021).  He also has a long-term collaboration with Oxford University on quantitative assessments of the dynamics between complex ecological system (ocean, agriculture), their users (fishers, farmers) and the polices that govern them.

Andreas holds a Harvard MBA, a UC Berkeley Master’s in Natural Resource Analysis and Regional Planning, and a BA from UC Santa Cruz in natural history and environmental studies. 

Susannah Burley

Susannah Burley is the founder and executive director of Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), which was founded in 2016 with the goal of advancing a resilient and environmentally equitable New Orleans through reforesting our urban landscape. To date, SOUL has planted over 8,000 native, water-loving trees throughout Orleans Parish. From 2012-16 Susannah served as the program director at Parkway Partners, a nonprofit in New Orleans. There she oversaw the community gardens and urban farms program, ReLeaf tree program, and Sow & Grow schoolyard garden program.

She received her Master of Landscape Architecture in 2011 from Louisiana State University. This program focused on systems thinking, which has informed Susannah’s approach to urban landscape problems such as deforestation.

Prior to 2011, Susannah worked as a camera assistant in Los Angeles, primarily working on television commercials. She was a member of the Local 600 Union.