The Rainforest Alliance is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities. To achieve our mission, we partner with diverse allies around the world to drive positive change across global supply chains and in many of our most critically important natural landscapes.


Our alliance spans 70 countries and includes farmers and forest communities, companies, governments, civil society, and millions of individuals. Together we work to protect forests  and biodiversity, take action on climate, and promote the rights and improve the livelihoods of rural people.


As an international nonprofit organization with more than 30 years of experience in sustainability transformation, we understand that the social and economic well-being of rural communities is tightly connected to ecosystem health. This knowledge has shaped our rigorous programs to advance sustainable land-use and commodity production.


At the Rainforest Alliance we combat climate change, protect forests and biodiversity, promote human rights, and improve livelihoods. The enormity of the social and environmental challenges we are facing requires working together in a broad alliance. This is why we bring farmers, forest communities, companies, and consumers together to change the way the world produces, sources, and consumes.


To protect nature and improve lives it’s becoming increasingly urgent that we approach the way we use our land and produce food and other products in more sustainable ways. For this to succeed we need to fundamentally change the way that businesses operate and source, and the choices we all make as consumers.



Our growing global alliance aims to transform our relationship with our natural resources and each other, to create a better future for people and nature together.


The Rainforest Alliance encourages diversity and inclusion across the global organization. With this commitment to diversity, we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ages, disability and any other protected group.

Position summary:


The Director of Advocacy and Themes will lead the department of approximately 40 staff members to drive organizational advocacy efforts, oversee Rainforest Alliance’s engagement in key global coalition-based initiatives and lead the team of global thematic experts. The Director will position the department, internally and externally, as a hub of thought leadership on themes of critical importance for sustainability. The Director will support all RA work on advocacy, including providing leadership to the organization on advocacy positions and policy topics, and will lead the embedding of technical expertise through the global themes leads in the Rainforest Alliance’s priority interventions.


In addition, the role plays a key part in the organizational management providing leadership to colleagues, helping support the strategy development process and advising and contributing to organizational risk management and due diligence.


This is a role that requires working closely with many departments across the organization: Markets Transformation, Marketing & Communications, Regions, Standards & Assurance, Institutional Relations and the Leadership Team (LT).


The role has people management responsibilities.



  • The Rainforest Alliance’s Core Values are Impact, Change, Collaboration, Openness and Trust and as such they form the basis of the behaviors we demonstrate;
  • Lead the development and implementation of a clear and focused advocacy agenda to ensure an enabling environment for our other strategic interventions and for sustainability improvements and commitments;
  • Ensure a clear set of priorities and structure for the global themes components of the portfolio to ensure the team is focused, delivering excellence in areas of priority, and embedding thought leadership on priority themes across the organization;
  • Engage in key policy arenas to advance our organization’s mission and impacts;
  • In coordination with the Institutional Relations and Regions departments, secure funding for work in line with advocacy and themes priorities;
  • Represent the department in Department Head meetings and with the Leadership Team and when appropriate the Board;
  • Oversee key relationship management (and documentation and coordination thereof) for RA stakeholders and partners in government, civil society, and multi-stakeholder initiatives;
  • Represent Rainforest Alliance at relevant events, external forums and conferences and in various consultation structures;
  • Mentor and manage the team leads and ensure the department has clear and stable leadership;
  • Effectively coordinate within a matrixed organization structure; establishing core functional frameworks on both Advocacy and Themes whilst supporting local implementation, and adaptation, as required;
  • Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include hiring; mentoring and evaluating; guiding professional development opportunities; and addressing employee relations issues;
  • With the Chief Engagement Officer, identify, cultivate and recruit new colleagues embedding Diversity Equity and Inclusion throughout the recruitment experience to improve inclusion, growth and trust; ;
  • Build a cohesive team and ensure smooth and clear operations of department; and
  • Other duties as required.



  • Degree in the field of Public Affairs, Public Policy, Natural Resource Management, international development or related or equivalent experience;
  • Minimum 10 years’ experience in advocacy, public policy, external relations and/or stakeholder engagement; and at least 5 years of experience leading a global team and driving systems change;
  • Has the ability to bring individuals together to work collaboratively in a multicultural and dispersed setting;
  • Outstanding communications, alliance-building and strategic thinking skills;
  • Impressive track record of impact through advocacy, policy-building or shaping of policy to enable sustainability impacts;
  • Experience working in a policy setting, shaping policy, driving policy improvements and/or translating standards into policy frameworks;
  • Strong knowledge base in sustainable agriculture, forestry, supply chains and our core thematic focus areas: environment, climate, rural livelihoods and human rights;
  • Strong existing network of professional relationships with key stakeholders in the international agriculture, forestry, and sustainability spaces;
  • Experience engaging a team and an organization to enthusiastically align behind an advocacy agenda and core technical thematic priorities;
  • Experience in setting and managing significant budgets over $1 million; and
  • Experience engaging diverse stakeholders in contentious and sensitive issues.



  • Demonstrated record of successful advocacy efforts and initiatives;
  • Ability to work efficiently in a cross-functional setting to align priorities, inspire others and drive excellence and impact; and
  • Ability to prioritize and focus amidst numerous competing interests and priorities.



  • Demonstrates transformational leadership qualities with focus on the organization. Builds commitment towards organizational objectives and embeds culture change to drive overall impact; actively engages colleagues and partners in decision making and looks for interdependencies and ways to partner with other functions and departments; approaches challenge and differences with an open mindset;
  • Continuously embraces innovation and continuous learning: determines how and where the department can add unique value; encourages team to explore, adapt and take risks to turn problems into opportunities and challenge assumptions;
  • Drives a high-performance culture through communication: encourages discussions about our work and impact, shares decisions and provides big picture to enable employees to make informed and wise decisions and feel connected and engaged in the organizations mission through own work; provides ongoing, timely and focused expectations and feedback to demonstrate appreciation and generates integrated forward action;
  • Leads with respect and empathy: enhances employee engagement by building trusted and open relationships through listening and learning, discouraging bias or judgement, acknowledges differences between global and local, cultures and perspectives; and, actively promotes opportunities and learning experiences to stretch and develop team members;
  • Leads global, sometimes matrixed, teams with authority, confidence and passion; and
  • Demonstrates excellence in compliance and efficiency when working with budgets, employee relations, talent management, organizational policies and procedures.



Commensurate with experience.


Deadline: October 31, 2021



Only candidates authorized to work in the countries in which we are registered will be considered.


The Rainforest Alliance encourages diversity and inclusion across the global organization. With this commitment to diversity, we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate based on gender, race, colour, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ages, disability and any other protected group.



If you have any questions about the job vacancy, please contact the HR department:


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