NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is one of the most effective and influential environmental organizations in the United States and around the world.
It is guided by the understanding that protecting the planet is about protecting people – our health, our communities, and our access to prosperity. At the core of its mission is a simple idea: A healthy environment should be a basic right for all of us – regardless of where we live, what we look like, or how we vote. And NRDC is relentless in its commitment to defending that right.
Today, the organization is working to achieve a vision of a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous world – one in which we are standing up for climate, nature, health and equity.
To meet our most pressing environmental challenges, it is building and scaling solutions to fight climate change; protect endangered species and the wilderness; eliminate toxic chemicals in the air, food, and water; advance more sustainable cities; and engage millions of people in the movement for a healthier world.
NRDC’s unique approach combines the power of law, science, policy, and public engagement to create solutions for lasting change. On any given day, it takes polluters to court. It publishes ground-breaking scientific research. It advocates in city halls, statehouses, and government chambers. NRDC works alongside communities to make them healthier and more resilient. It activates public pressure to make government officials and corporations do the right thing. NRDC works across the globe, with a particular focus on the United States, China, and India. Today, this mix of strategies is more critical than ever before.
There is unprecedented urgency to act on climate change, as people across the world are increasingly suffering from its consequences – from record heat, drought, and wildfires to hurricanes and flooding. Recent scientific reports from the world’s leading experts tell us that we are in a “code red” for climate change, with a narrowing window to act before its worst impacts are unavoidable. We are also in the midst of a biodiversity crisis from which we risk losing one million species to extinction if drastic efforts are not taken to address the destruction of our natural world. We further face a global human health crisis in which nine million people die prematurely each year from pollution, with those deaths and other health harms falling unjustly and inequitably along lines of race and class. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment to tackle the climate, biodiversity, and human health crises, and to address the inequity that flows through all of them.
The challenges ahead are significant – but they are exactly the types of challenges NRDC was born to face. NRDC has played a key role in nearly every major environmental victory in the United States over the past 53 years. For more than five decades, it has stood up to polluters and held our leaders accountable for what they do, or fail to do, to protect the environment and people’s health.
More recently, it was at the forefront of the green resistance to former President Trump – filing 136 lawsuits against his administration with an astonishing success rate of more than 90 percent. Just this past year, NRDC played a key role in helping to pass the Inflation Reduction Act—the strongest climate action in U.S. history – and is now working to implement the law in order to advance the shift to a clean energy economy at speed and scale. It is working to safeguard large areas of wildlife habitat, on land and in the oceans, to fight the biodiversity crisis. It is tacking the sources of the human health crisis, such as by working to remove lead contamination from drinking water. And through it all, it is growing and strengthening the environmental movement, enlisting a new generation of younger and more diverse activists, and strengthening partnerships with communities on the frontline of environmental hazard and harm.
NRDC is an environmental powerhouse, and the past decade has marked enormous growth for NRDC, in its size, influence, and impact. In 2022 it had revenues of $213 million, net assets of $398 million, and the support of more than three million members and online activists joining in its fight to protect the planet. The organization now operates from the following hubs: Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; Los Angeles; New York City; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Beijing; and New Delhi. And it has a staff of more than 700 people, all of whom share the values that drive NRDC’s work: A high standard of excellence; a tenacious spirit; the unwavering pursuit of justice; a desire to learn, adapt, and innovate.; and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
With a talented staff and a remarkable reach, NRDC is poised to lead the environmental movement for decades to come. It is charting the course for the transformational change we need to build a clean, healthy, just, and prosperous world for all people.
The institution’s continued success will require visionary and action-oriented senior leadership that harnesses the limitless talents of the organization and drives a global movement toward the progress we must achieve.
For more information on NRDC, please visit: https://www.nrdc.org/.
Climate & Energy Program Overview
NRDC’s “North Star” climate goal is to protect vulnerable communities, human health and nature by limiting global warming to 1.5C in an equitable manner. In the US, we strive to cut U.S. greenhouse emissions by 50-52% percent by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. To work toward these goals, the Climate & Energy Program focuses on rapid scale up of key clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, and the control of highly potent global warming pollutants with policies that emphasize affordability, accessibility, and equity. Most of the program’s resources are focused on accelerating the impact of our work in four major sectors: Transportation, Power, Industrial and Buildings, with major considerations for the adoption of clean energy drivers such as renewables, energy efficiency, electrification. Additionally, and importantly, a growing part of our work focuses on innovation and new technologies in the decarbonization of the industrial sector and the use of hydrogen derived from renewable electricity in hard-to-decarbonize sectors with appropriate safeguards.
In FY23 the Climate & Energy Program has a total budget of $29.4M with a staff of 90 passionate advocates.
Senior Vice President for Climate & Energy Role Description
The Senior Vice President will be the chief visionary and strategist for NRDC’s advocacy to fight climate change and advance clean energy, charged with leading, scaling, and operationalizing the people, structures, partnerships, and programs needed to execute strategy in this area for maximum impact. Reporting directly to the Chief Program Officer (CPO) and serving on the Advocacy Leadership Team, the Senior Vice President will be externally and internally focused, representing NRDC at external events as well as internal forums, acting as a spokesperson for our strategic vision and helping elevate the reputation and profile of the organization. The Senior Vice President will seek out and build strategic partnerships and develop and support fundraising efforts in partnership with Development. The Senior Vice President will be expected and will be supported to build even further NRDC’s advocacy against climate change and in favor of clean energy to meet the urgency of the moment.
This is an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic, expert, and inspirational leader. To design a strategy and lead work in four key sectors: Transportation, Power, Industrial and Buildings. All with a focus on equity and community. NRDC’s staff is highly capable, and the Senior Vice President will be an empowering and collaborative individual who furthers high performance and innovation and can champion equity, diversity, and inclusion. The successful candidate will be flexible, thrive in collaborative environments, embrace solving complex and nuanced problems, and be recognized within the climate movement as a strategic leader with excellent communication skills and the ability to tell compelling stories to diverse audiences. Most importantly, you will demonstrate a genuine alignment with the values of NRDC and seek to apply your passion and skills to work to tackle the most important challenges humanity has ever faced.
- Serves as chief strategist and advocate for NRDC’s goal to fight climate change and advance clean energy with people and equity at the center of the chosen path forward.
- Serves as a high-visibility expert and spokesperson for NRDC’s advocacy on climate and energy matters.
- Cultivates and manages strategic relationships and partnerships with businesses, NGOs, environmental justice leaders, labor, government, local government, and community groups to maximize impact and achieve major climate outcomes.
- Serves as a strategic advisor and thought partner to the Chief Program Officer and a member of the Advocacy Leadership Team.
- Works with the Development department to develop and implement a vision and strategy to maximize funding opportunities; helps develop foundation proposals, meets with donors, and cultivates philanthropic relationships.
- Works with the Communications and Campaigns departments to develop effective external mobilization opportunities and communication strategies that increase NRDC’s visibility and name recognition as a leader in climate and energy matters.
- Embeds equity and justice in NRDC’s climate and energy work; champions community advocacy and helps build expertise and capacity among underserved communities.
- Leads the Climate and Energy program, including strategic planning, people management and administration.
- Sets program’s strategic goals in alignment with organizational priorities, develops key performance indicators and robust work plans to achieve outcomes, and sets high performance expectations.
- Oversees and has ultimate responsibility for the financial management of the program’s budget, aiming to make the most strategic and effective use of program funds by rigorously prioritizing and allocating resources to maximize opportunities and outcomes.
- Collaborates internally with leadership across Programs and other functions to ensure that department initiatives are integrated, and that staff are in alignment.
- Minimum 15 years’ directly related experience in the climate and energy field, including at least 5 years successfully managing large teams toward a common vision and purpose.
- Demonstrable alignment and deep commitment to NRDC’s mission and purpose with an ability to communicate this passion to others with a positive and high-energy attitude, integrity, and a commitment to working collaboratively with peers and colleagues.
- Visionary, forward-looking, and strategic thinker with a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving.
- Substantial experience in leading development and execution of strategic goals.
- Proven ability to manage large teams of people, large-scale projects, and relationships in a complex and matrixed organizational structure.
- Seasoned advocate with knowledge building and driving forward alliances.
- Experience working in partnership across stakeholder groups on intersectional problems, such as environmental injustice, to co-create solutions.
- Deep experience and commitment of incorporating and growing the use of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in our work and in team culture and operations.
- Experience with public speaking on technical and non-technical topics, with an ability to communicate successfully with a wide variety of audiences.
- Experience successfully managing large budgets, including prioritizing and reallocating funds to make the best use of limited resources for strategic purposes.
- Excellent interpersonal and active listening skills, with a collaborative working style.
- Can effectively engage a variety of constituencies, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and thrive in a complex environment with multiple priorities.
- Experience and demonstrated success in fundraising, including foundation grants and major donor engagement.
- Has a good sense of humor, listens to others, and accepts different opinions; is cooperative and able to build bridges.
NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming a diversity of voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.
We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with skills and experience. For this position, the salary is $275,000 to $325,000. Internal equity considerations and the average salary of the peer range will be reviewed before making a final offer.
Our offices are open and we are operating in a hybrid model. We offer NRDCers flexibility, we ask them to come into the office and spend meaningful time there in collaboration with their colleagues. We call this purposeful presence.
As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.