Director, Sustainable Development Programs

Program Team · Washington, District of Columbia
Department Program Team
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Manager/Supervisor
Compensation $97,000 - $111,000

Job Title: Director, Sustainable Development Programs

Location: Flexible: Washington, DC or remote (working with significant overlap with US business hours)

Start Date: Immediately

Reports to: Chief Program Officer

Verra is a global leader helping to tackle the world’s most intractable environmental and social challenges. As a mission-driven non-profit organization, Verra is committed to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods and protect natural resources across the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards, tools and programs that credibly, transparently and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits. We work in any arena where we see a need for clear standards, a role for market-based mechanisms, and an opportunity to generate significant environmental and social value.

Verra manages a portfolio of standards, including the:

Verra is looking for a Director, Sustainable Development Programs to oversee the strategy, direction and evolution of Verra’s sustainable development (SD) programs, which currently include the Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta), and the Plastic Waste Reduction Standard.

A day with Verra’s Program Team might include...

  • Devising solutions to ensure Verra’s standards continue to play a role in helping to solve critical environmental and social problems by thinking through strategic opportunities including but not limited to (1) the implications of international policy, including developments under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (and the Sustainable Development Goals it sets out), (2) global sustainable development policies and programs, and (3) the increasing focus on SDGs as a critical component of carbon markets.
  • Collaborating with key external stakeholders (e.g., international NGOs, project proponents, VVBs, other market participants) and internal staff to track evolving policy and market opportunities and challenges, gather feedback on Verra standards, and develop ways to streamline and/or strengthen SD program requirements and procedures.
  • Supporting developers of SD impact methodologies through the methodology approval process, and assessing the need and potential for specific methodologies, overseeing development of (including overseeing consultants to develop) methodologies for those sectors with the most strategic potential.
  • Developing (and overseeing development of) new Verra products and services in the sustainable development arena.
  • Identifying and implementing ways to ensure continuous improvement in assessor (validation and verification body, independent expert evaluator or other) oversight and performance on social and non-GHG environmental auditing, and enrollment of new assessors with those areas of expertise. 
  • Mentoring and managing Verra SD program staff.

Specific functions you will be responsible for leading... 

  • Leading the ongoing management and development of Verra’s existing SD-focused programs to ensure they evolve in a manner that guarantees the integrity and quality of all projects, claims and assets and ensures they are strategically positioned to continue to play a leading role in driving sustainable development.
  • Collaborating with other Verra departments, especially with the Innovation Team, to ensure synchronization on key opportunities and challenges (e.g., engaging in cross-organizational discussions on communications, innovations and organizational strategy).
  • Engaging with outside stakeholders, including other beneficiaries of Verra program services,  corporates, NGOs and governments to build and maintain essential relationships, and inform program development and organizational strategy.
  • Supervising senior program staff.
  • Ensuring the seamless transition of new Verra programs from Innovation into the day-to-day operations of the program management team (e.g., SD VISta, Plastic Program).
  • Overseeing the advisory groups that Verra convenes to gather feedback to improve Verra’s SD-focused programs.
  • Representing Verra at external meetings and events.

You bring with you...

  • 10+ years of relevant professional experience with significant experience in sustainable development, and with a detailed knowledge of policy frameworks, implementation and monitoring and evaluation and/or impact reporting from such programs and projects. Experience in plastic waste reduction and recovery, landscape sustainability, and/or market-based mechanisms such as carbon markets would be an advantage.
  • Experience developing, managing or utilizing standards and reporting frameworks (e.g., ESG reporting, IFC Performance Standards, CDP, Science-Based Targets).
  • Demonstrated experience formulating and executing strategy. An ability to think creatively and in a solution-oriented manner is essential. 
  • An existing network of key organizations and individuals working on sustainable development action.
  • At least five years of work experience overseeing technical teams and demonstrated success in leading collaborative teams to produce significant outcomes.
  • Good interpersonal skills; capable of maintaining a professional approach and demeanor in high-pressure situations, and able to provide support and levity for team members.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Fluency in English is essential. Fluency in other languages would be an advantage.

In this role, you will grow and expand your expertise by... 

  • Working at the cutting edge of programs designed to drive finance towards high-impact activities that tackle some of the most pressing environmental issues of our day.
  • Leading, developing and implementing strategy to ensure our active SD-focused standards maintain the highest levels of rigor, respond to market needs, and provide workable solutions that support climate action and sustainable development.
  • Expanding your network of professionals working on climate and sustainable development, including government officials, private sector actors, NGOs, and others.
  • Lead Verra’s SD team, including supporting the development of a team of professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience levels.

You will know you are successful, if...

  • Verra’s SD-focused programs are recognized as providing the highest level of rigor, integrity and workability and have a growing impact on increasing sustainable development.
  • Verra continues to be the leading standard-setting organization in respect of certifying sustainable development impacts from projects and programs.
  • The Verra Program Team remains motivated while continuously improving the usability and rigor of Verra SD-focused programs.
  • Verra stakeholders consistently express positive feedback in respect of Verra’s management of its programs.

You will join a team...

  • From diverse locations and backgrounds, including carbon market experts, project developers, consultants, researchers, auditors, and more.
  • Committed to driving finance at scale to projects and programs that advance climate action and sustainable development through high-quality standards and programs. 
  • That embodies the values Verra has established for itself, and which include Teamwork, Results, Integrity, Balance, and Exploration.

Compensation at Verra

To help us attract and retain top talent, Verra pays employees competitively to the market. In return, we expect each employee to, at a minimum: 

  • Meet expectations in terms of work effort and performance;
  • Take the initiative to build the skills and knowledge needed to do their job effectively; and
  • Embody Verra’s values.

For this position, the salary range is USD $97,000 - $111,000, depending on experience.

We will recognize employees who go beyond expected performance with salary increases and/or promotions, but the bar for earning those rewards is high.

Salary is one component of Verra’s total compensation package which also includes:

  • Health, vision and dental care, and life insurance;
  • Verra contributions to each employee’s retirement plan;
  • Verra contributions as required by national labor laws in countries where staff are located;
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) comprising 22-30 days plus ten floating holidays, sabbatical after five years of service, and other leave allowances; and
  • Funds to support professional development.


How to Apply

To apply, please send us the following:

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

*Please add to your contact list to ensure you receive emails from us*

Verra provides equal opportunity for all job applicants and employees and is committed to providing a work environment free of discrimination. We conduct our recruitment and hiring without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetics, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, and local law.

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  • Location
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Department
    Program Team
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience
  • Compensation
    $97,000 - $111,000