Global Director for the Food, Land & Water Program

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

The Hague, Netherlands 🇳🇱

London, UK 🇬🇧

This position can be based out of WRI US, WRI Europe or WRI London and will be a hybrid model of remote and required in-office work. Existing work authorization is required at the time of application submission. WRI is unable to sponsor visa work authorization for this position.  

About the Program:

WRI’s Food, Land & Water Program seeks a just transition in the world’s food, land and water systems to resiliently meet the needs of all people, halt natural ecosystem and biodiversity loss by 2030, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this lofty global goal, the program focuses on four interlocking approaches:

  • Produce more food and fiber (building food security and climate resilience) on existing working lands, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and water use. We will work with communities to identify and prioritize agricultural areas experiencing yield gaps and water stress, provide policy and technical advice on how to advance low-carbon and water-efficient agriculture, and accelerate private investment in low-carbon agriculture solutions.
  • Protect remaining natural ecosystems from conversion and degradation. We will monitor the world’s forests and other ecosystems to inform policies and ensure accountability; empower Indigenous peoples to secure their ancestral territories; get ecosystem conversion out of agricultural commodity supply chains; increase financing for nature-based solutions; and tackle environmental crime, which disproportionately affects marginalized communities.
  • Reduce humanity’s footprint by shifting consumption patterns and lowering food loss and waste. We will convene public and private sector leaders to advance a “Target-Measure-Act” approach to reducing food loss and waste, leverage behavioral science to nudge consumers in wealthy countries to shift to lower-carbon diets, engage policymakers to reduce bioenergy demand for land needed for food production and carbon sequestration, and reduce watershed stress levels.
  • Restore degraded areas back into healthy ecosystems and/or increased productivity. We will convert national restoration commitments into action by helping identify restoration opportunities; facilitating access to restoration technical assistance; lining up restoration finance, including for nature-based solutions; building much-needed project pipelines; and monitoring restoration progress.

Current initiatives anchored in the program include Global Forest WatchLand & Carbon LabAFR100Initiative 20×20Food & Land Use CoalitionChampions 12.3Cool FoodAqueductWater Peace & Security, Co-Secretariat for the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People, and more.

Job Highlight:

Reporting to the WRI Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Programs, you will oversee and manage WRI’s Food, Land & Water Program. The Director is responsible for leading WRI’s implementation of its new Food, Land & Water systems transition strategy, its goals, and its impact targets. This involves providing senior oversight of strategy, management, thought leadership, and fundraising. This includes not only managing the Program but also leveraging WRI’s global network of offices and centers to achieve results. You will lead a globally distributed team and will be a member of WRI’s Management Team.

What will you do:

Strategy and Impact (35%):

  • Continuously evolve WRI’s Food, Land & Water system transition strategy in light of on-the-ground experience, results, research findings, political realities, emerging opportunities, and/or observed challenges
  • Ensure the strategy’s “theories of change” are (and remain) robust, evidence-based, fit for purpose, and (where relevant) bring in the best contributions across WRI (not just from the program)
  • Ensure the strategy and theories of change are underpinned by a robust research agenda and grow WRI’s reputation as a leading source of analysis and data
  • Ensure the program’s landmark initiatives, collaborations, and leadership platforms are designed to advance progress on the Food, Land, & Water strategy and impact targets
  • Work with the program team to establish WRI as the “go to” non-governmental organization on the food, land & water systems transition for the decade
  • Help the program leverage strategic communications to create the political narrative and set the agenda when it comes to the food, land & water system transition

Management and Leadership (35%):

  • Lead a global team of professionals to implement WRI’s new Food, Land & Water system transition strategy
  • Support teams in identifying opportunities, problem solve challenges, and deliver top-notch results
  • Ensure the program works effectively across silos (both within the program and across WRI) to bring a “whole of WRI approach” to executing our strategy and achieving our aspired impact targets
  • Identify and motivate a solid suite of direct reports capable of driving effective implementation of the strategy and achievement of the impact targets
  • Recruit, train, and retain world class-caliber staff
  • Oversee the program’s budget and financial performance

Fundraising and Funder Stewardship (30%):

  • Working with WRI Development and with project teams, expand the program’s base of philanthropies, governments, high-net-worth individuals, and other funding sources
  • Coordinate with WRI Development to ensure disciplined entrepreneurship (e.g., alignment with strategy) in fundraising proposals
  • Conceive, write, and/or help colleagues prepare impactful 7-8 figure project funding proposals
  • Cultivate new and help manage existing high-profile donor relationships
  • Increase the public profile of WRI’s work on the food, land, and water systems transition, thereby helping make WRI more attractive to donors

What will you need:

  • Education:
    • Master’s degree in the natural sciences, agriculture sciences, economics, anthropology, or other discipline relevant for the Food, Land & Water systems transition
  • Experience:
    • Minimum of 15 years of professional experience in relevant fields, including at least 5 years in a management position.
    • Track record of visionary and strategic thinking. Entrepreneurial spirit and wide-ranging intellectual curiosity
    • World-class presentation skills (ability to communicate clearly and compellingly)
    • History of effectively motivating and connecting people to fulfill their potential and achieve results
    • Experience with “cross-sectoral” issues (e.g., food & forests, water & food, land & energy)
    • Demonstrated fundraising track record, including securing multi-year seven-figure funding
    • Strong network of relationships.
    • Ability to travel, especially internationally, about 20% of time.
  • Languages:
    • Fluent in English, with additional languages a plus.

Potential Salary: 

The salary range for this position is 192,000 USD – 256,000 USD if filled by a candidate located and legally able to work in the US. Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors. 

How to Apply:  

Please submit a resume and a cover letter by 27 February, 2023.  You must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.  

What we offer:  

  • A competitive salary  
  • Access to the WRI global network with the opportunity to exchange with and learn from passionate colleagues working at the cutting edge of their fields across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US.  
  • The chance to have an impact and to develop your career within a mission driven organization with access to varied learning and training opportunities.  
  • A workplace that strives to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our work.  
  • The opportunity to join and get involved in different working groups and affinity groups to shape the future of WRI.  
  • Long-term commitment to hybrid working model with flexible working hours. 
  • Generous leave days that increase with tenure.   

About Us:

Founded in 1982, World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. WRI has a global staff of over 1,800 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.    

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.  

Our mission and values:  

WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.  

Our values are shared ideals that bind us together: Integrity, Innovation, Urgency, Independence, Respect.   

Our culture:

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. We are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment, we embrace all diversity and encourage women, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, Afro-descendants, and Indigenous people to apply. Recognizing our strong commitment to gender equality, WRI has also been awarded EDGE certification.  

Our Human Resources team carefully reviews all applications.   





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