Director Environment and Social Safeguards | WWF
Director Environment and Social Safeguards

Posted on 30 July 2019

Location: Gland, Switzerland
WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
To further strengthen our deep commitment to working in collaboration with indigenous peoples, local communities and respecting human rights, WWF International, is establishing a new Safeguards Division.
WWF International is currently recruiting for a number of key roles which will be responsible for embedding a robust Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework (ESSF) across our entire global Network of WWF offices.
The ESSF will represent an overarching policy on environmental and social risk management, providing for:  
  • Integrated environmental and social management to identify and manage the environmental and social impacts, risks, and opportunities of projects through the programme and project life cycle  
  • Effective stakeholder engagement through disclosure of project-related information and consultation with local communities on matters that directly affect them.


Gland, Switzerland

Work percentage: 


Contract type: 

Open Ended

Major functions: 

The Director Environment and Social Safeguards is responsible for setting the safeguard standards for the entire WWF Network. The role leads WWF’s development, implementation and update of WWF’s Networkpolicies and practices relevant to mainstreaming the ESSF into all WWF’s global operations. The role shall lead the due diligence work of the WWF Network, related to social safeguards including the development of standards, procedures, guidance, and toolkits. The role shall act as the global technical custodian of these standards for the WWF organisation. The role shall also oversee the support for the implementation of policies related to environmental and social management and contribute to WWF’s efforts on knowledge management and capacity development

Major duties and responsibilities:  

  • Lead the development, implementation, reporting, and updating of the WWF’s ESSF and practices related to environmental and social safeguards; 
  • In collaboration with colleagues (e.g. Operations, legal), lead in the development of operational  procedures, processes, guidance, toolkits, and references for mainstreaming the ESSF within WWF’s operations, policy work, and initiatives to ensure compliance with relevant policies and frameworks; 
  • Manage and oversee the day to day work of three regional safeguards specialists; 
  • Provides overall quality assurance across WWF’s global portfolio of projects where safeguards are triggered e.g. by developing the strategy for the ESSF, overseeing approvals for projects that are developed, and commissioning random audits on an annual basis; 
  • As overall lead technical specialist, advising project teams and WWF staff on strategy and a range of interventions and provide support for on-going and future work in the areas of among others, indigenous rights, community empowerment, stakeholder engagement, gender-based violence, labour and community health and safety. 
  • Responsible for overall risk mitigation and ensuring sustainability in WWF projects by managing the team of experts that help develop operational designs and mechanisms to assess environment and social impacts, constraints and risks related to WWF operations 
  • Develop and deliver annual training program for WWF staff members globally in order to create an accreditation program for staff;
  • Working with colleagues, undertake due diligence, monitoring and reporting on WWF programs, projects, and activities focusing on the compliance to ESS safeguards standards; 
  • Develop and implement monitoring, evaluation and reporting mechanisms on WWF’s overall efforts to incorporate the ESSF including review of progress made in implementing relevant policies;
  • Identify, collate, generate, and disseminate current knowledge, lessons, trends and development pertaining to ESSF into the conservation and development agenda at the regional and global levels;  
  • Lead the overall policy dialogue globally on the development of environmental and social safeguards and oversee regional and country policy dialogue on these issues by the regional social safeguard specialists. 
  • Working with regional safeguard specialists liaise with Landscape Leads and Country Directors in WWF during the development and implementation of projects 
  • Advising WWF’s Senior management and staff on responses to safeguards related complaints; 


Required qualifications
  • Master’s degree in social sciences and management, law, environmental management, economics and  policies, social development, sociology, social development, anthropology, indigenous people’s studies,  or other relevant fields;
  • Minimum of 10 years of relevant international experience in environmental safeguard systems.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in the areas of indigenous people’s policy  development and implementation; social safeguards; development of guidance, references and tools related to indigenous peoples and social safeguards; design and monitoring of climate change and development programs, projects and activities; and advocacy and capacity development;  
Required skills and competencies   
  • Experience of working in multi-laterals or other bilateral development agencies that have similar systems
  • Proven staff management experience
  • Compelling leadership, inspiring others to drive results
  • High degree of cultural sensitivity and ability to navigate complexity.
  • Clear understanding of risk based approaches to managing projects and programmes
  • Strong organizational skills, results-driven;
  • Creativity, dynamism and diplomacy;
  • Sound judgement and decision-making skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and language skills, English essential and other languages desirable;
  • Works to the highest level of integrity and confidentiality
  • Clearly demonstrates behaviours aligned to the culture of WWF: Strive for Impact, Listen Deeply, Collaborate Openly and Innovate Fearlessly.
  • Adheres to WWF’s values, which are: Knowledgeable, Optimistic, Determined and Engaging.

Working Relationships:

Internal – Interacts regularly with members of the Senior Management Team, Ombudsman, Head of Compliance, NET members and CEOs of WWF Offices
External – External partners and other international NGOs, civil society organisations
This job description covers the main tasks and conveys the spirit of the tasks that are
anticipated. Other tasks may be assigned as necessary according to organizational needs. 

How to apply?

Please send your application in English with cover letter to 
Applications without a CV and Covering Letter will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: by 02 September 2019

Early application is encouraged as we will review applications throughout the advertising period and reserve the right to close the advert early.

Work permit restrictions may apply. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

WWF is an equal opportunity employer and committed to having a diverse workforce.