Director, Commodities and Private Sector Engagement

2 days left

United Kingdom, Cambridge
Sep 26, 2020
Nov 25, 2020
Job Level
Senior level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type

Reports to:                             Executive Director, Conservation Studies

Location:                                United Kingdom

Country Program/Sector:     Global Conservation Program / Conservation Studies

Position Type:                        Full-Time

Internal liaison:                     Conservation Solutions team, Communications team, Grants Management team

Expected travel:                     TBD


Organization Background:

The Wildlife Conservation Society (“WCS”) is a New York not-for-profit corporation founded by statute in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through research, science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. That mission is achieved through our global conservation programs (WCS currently oversees a portfolio of more than 500 conservation projects in 65 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America, and the oceans between them) and through the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks–the Bronx Zoo; the New York Aquarium; and the Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos (the City Zoos)    


Job Summary:

The position holder will lead WCS’s global efforts to reduce the current and future threats to biodiversity and habitat integrity in our land and seascapes driven by the unsustainable production of commodities, primarily agricultural. The post holder will position WCS as a global thought leader on these issues, and will support regional and country programs to conduct analysis, create projects and build strategic partnerships that have a measurable impact on addressing these threats.

Major Responsibilities:

Act as a thought leader to expand WCS engagement in the commodities space, develop innovative initiatives and new partnerships, seek integration across programs and units

  • Support regional and country programs to analyse the current and future threats posed to key landscapes by commodity drivers.
  • Building on these analyses, support regions and country programs in the development of landscape level strategies that address current and future food system / commodity threats to priority areas.
  • Identify, fundraise for, and initiate the development of 2-3 world class innovative projects that demonstrate WCS capacity to address impacts from commodity threats in WCS country programs.
  • Develop a coherent and compelling global commodities strategy for WCS, building on available science and demonstration projects in country programs, that clearly communicates the WCS ‘value add’ in this field.
  • Explore and maximize the connections between existing WCS thematic priorities (e.g. intact forests, conservation finance, restoration) and commodities/drivers portfolio to create new internal and external partnerships and funding opportunities.
  • Develop a science based rationale for WCS positions and strategies on food systems/threats/commodities that are defensible and globally relevant.
  • Actively seek collaborative opportunities with other environmental non-profit organizations.

Build WCS’s global presence and build regional / local capacity

  • Aligned with the development of new projects, build national technical capacity, supported by a small high-performance team of TAs in priority countries / regions to support project implementation, e.g. Drivers program in Mekong Region.
  • Support country / regional programs to identify and cultivate private sector partnerships that generate new and additional finance for the protection of biodiversity and critically important ‘scapes.
  • Create strong working relationships at the global/HQ level with leading consumer goods companies seeking to address their impacts, and global initiatives, working groups, forums, roundtables and industry associations.
  • Represent WCS at major national and international fora, industry association, and roundtable meetings, or other relevant events.
  • Create strong working partnerships and donor relationships with major donors seeking to engage on these issues, including major foundations, Governments, private philanthropists and impact investors. 
  • Support the development of WCS’s global thematic strategies and provide technical support to WCS senior management and board.
  • Work closely and foster collaboration with counterparts in major donor countries (US, EU, Norway etc.) to cultivate funding relationships, manage the administration of existing projects. Clearly communicate strategies goals and objectives with these teams.
  • Keep abreast with international best practices, current science, and regional activities to ensure that the solutions that WCS offers are always relevant with the global and local context. 

Lead the development, implementation and regular review of impactful projects and initiatives.

  • Provide sound technical advice on projects/initiatives, managed or participated in by WCS related to commodities, deforestation and habitat degradation, supply chains, and corporate sustainability commitments.
  • Draft project documents, technical reports and support the development of scientific papers to implement WCS mission and strategy in the related fields and strengthen WCS regionally, locally and globally.
  • Ensure effective leadership in delivering WCS outcomes by providing strategic direction and technical advice in the relevant fields.
  • Identify innovative opportunities for strategic partnerships in WCS landscapes and beyond, to ensure long term buy-in of governmental institutions and wider private sector engagement on related key conservation outputs.
  • Ensure adherence to all organizational processes, such as drafting annual workplans and budgeting, support fundraising opportunities and ensure funds allocated for relevant actions are appropriately and efficiently utilized.  
  • Work closely with Regional Directors and Country Directors to contribute to shaping fundraising plans for relevant topics to enhance conservation impact.
  • Work with the Trillion Trees partners to leverage the ‘Produce’ work to support implementation at the policy and WCS field implementation level.

Minimum Requirements:


  • Minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience in the environment / conservation / climate change field.
  • Strong experience in environmental policy development and project development, with a track record in working with the corporate sector.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and creatively, generating innovative ways to drive performance and impact.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing, implementing and evaluating projects in the related fields.


  • Higher degree in natural and/or environmental sciences or related fields.

 Required Skills

  • Excellent organizational and time management skills and ability to perform under pressure.
  • Excellent proven stakeholder management and relationship-building skills.
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and exceptional teamwork abilities.
  • Demonstrable ability to work effectively in multi-disciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Self-starter and able to prioritize activities accordingly.
  • Set challenging but realistic goals and solve problems effectively.
  • Produce high quality products/services with attention to detail.
  • Supportive, constructive, and open to influence in dealing with others.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English – other languages desirable.
  • Diplomatic and solution-oriented.
  • A passion for conservation and experience in a not-for-profit.

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