Program Officer, Standards Development (Plastic)

A global leader in helping to tackle the world’s most intractable environmental challenges, Verra seeks a Program Officer to join its standards development team to support the development and implementation of the new Plastic Crediting Mechanism (PCM). The ideal candidate will possess a strong technical knowledge of, and experience working with, circular economy and corporate sustainability issues, environmental standards and/or social standards. The Program Officer will be focused, organized and analytical, have strong written and verbal communication skills, and possess good attention to detail and an ability to work in a fastpaced, results-based environment.

About Verra

With the signing of the Paris Agreement and increased focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, Verra has seen increasing demand for its standards that allow governments, the private sector, civil society and investors to track progress and drive funding towards achieving ambitious sustainable development, climate and environmental goals. In response to that demand, we are expanding our work into new arenas and growing our team to serve new and existing stakeholders.

Verra currently manages a number of global standards frameworks designed to channel finance towards high-impact activities that mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development.

About the Plastic Crediting Mechanism

Today, cities around the world generate about 300 million tons of plastic waste per year. While most of this waste can be collected and kept out of the environment, the actual rates of recovery, recycling and landfill disposal are very low, especially in developing countries. This is in large part because of the limited incentives to drive the collection of waste materials and insufficient resources to develop the necessary recycling and waste management infrastructure.

The low value of most plastic waste is a major factor in how little of this material is collected and reenters the circular economy. Only 14% of global plastic packaging is currently recycled and 32% of all plastic packaging leaks into ecosystems. Without new incentives, it will be challenging to significantly scale up waste collection and recycling in key areas to the levels needed to keep most plastic from entering the environment. The PCM will increase the value of waste plastic and bring attention and resources to new and scaled-up plastic collection and recycling activities by crediting projects that measurably increase the recovery and/or recycling of waste plastic above baseline rates. The PCM will provide confidence that investments have been deployed in a manner which verifiably reduced plastic in the environment.

Job Responsibilities

The Program Officer will play a key role in the development of the PCM, working with a small team to elaborate the plastic removal and recycling standard, methodologies, verification system, credit registry and transaction platform. In particular, the Program Officer will:

  • Serve as an expert resource within the standards development team on technical matters related to waste management, recycling, plastic packaging, sourcing and circularity.
  • Research issues related to the PCM, including data and metrics related to waste collection, recycling and plastic packaging.
  • Support pilot projects around the world in successfully using the PCM, including potentially engaging with waste picker associations, material recovery facility developers, local NGOs, corporate partners and other project stakeholders.
  • Manage stakeholder consultation processes, including summarizing inputs and making recommendations for revisions to the draft standard.
  • Manage sub-grant and contract agreements with partners.
  • Support additional PCM-related activities and assist with other Verra-related work, as needed.

Required Qualifications

We are seeking candidates who have strong writing skills, expertise in plastic packaging or recycling and circularity, are collaborative team players, and who have a passion for addressing sustainable development and environmental challenges from a market-based perspective. Candidates for the Program Officer position will possess the following qualifications:

  • At least 2 years of professional experience in any of the following:
    • Waste management and recycling, supply chain management, consumer goods product packaging and/or corporate responsibility.
    • Environmental and/or social standards setting or certification organizations and/or programs.
  • A relevant university degree.
  • Working knowledge (from work experience or academic study) of the waste management or packaging sectors, including recycling processes, plastic materials/packaging and supply chains.
  • Experience in supply chain monitoring, footprinting and reporting (in any sector).
  • Understanding of circularity concepts, Sustainable Development Goals, supply chain sustainability initiatives and/or climate/development finance.
  • Understanding of sustainability issues, standards and certification programs (e.g., GRI, AA1000, CDP, Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade), including the role of auditors.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Fluency in English is essential.
  • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to prioritize and work efficiently and effectively under deadlines.
  • Good interpersonal skills; capable of maintaining professional approach and demeanor in high-pressure situations.
  • Culturally aware with ability to work well with stakeholders and partners from different countries and cultures.
  • Self-starter with an ability to excel in a professional environment with limited supervision.
  • Candidates based in the US must be eligible to work in the United States (i.e., US citizen or holding current work authorization).

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Graduate degree in environmental studies/sciences, sustainable development, engineering, business or a related field.
  • Experience editing and drafting technical documents.
  • Study or work experience in developing countries, ideally working with disadvantaged or marginalized communities.
  • Fluency in a second language, especially Spanish, Portuguese or French.

How to Apply

Compensation depends on experience and is highly competitive. Verra offers a very attractive benefits package, including 22-30 days of paid time off plus holidays, retirement contributions, access to flexible savings accounts, and a choice of top-tier health plans. To apply, please send us the following:

  • Cover letter (not to exceed one page)
  • Resume/CV (not to exceed two pages)

All applications should be submitted to Rachel Wallach at employment@verra.org and will be considered on a rolling basis.