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Sustainable Agriculture Network Director

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Hydrology, Hydrogeology, Water Resources
Location Costa Rica - America South
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Board & Executives
Deadline 31/01/2010
Company Name Rainforest Alliance
Contact Name Human Resources
Telephone 212-677-1900
Fax 212-677-2187
Email personnel@ra.org
Website Further Details / Applications
Rainforest Alliance logo
Directory Entry : The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.
Also Listing:

Title:                           Director, Sustainable Agriculture Network

Reports to:                 President, Rainforest Alliance / Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, Red de Agricultura Sostenible, A.C.

Location:                     San Jose, Costa Rica (preferred) or London, UK



The Sustainable Agriculture Division of the Rainforest Alliance, based in San José, Costa Rica, is the international secretariat of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), a coalition of independent conservation and rural development groups that promote responsible farming practices. By integrating all three pillars of sustainability – Environment, Ethics and Economy – the Rainforest Alliance and SAN help farmers improve their livelihoods, conserve natural resources and protect the environment.  The program addresses the major commodity crops (e.g. bananas, coffee, cocoa, tea, citrus, flowers) that profoundly affect the economies, environments, cultures and politics of tropical countries. Rainforest Alliance and SAN  guide, motivate and verify social and environmental improvements on farms, awarding a seal of approval (Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM) to farms that meet comprehensive standards. The program began in Latin America in 1992.  Now, more than 25,000 farms in 18 countries are certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified products are widely available in mainstream markets.

The Rainforest Alliance (RA) is an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Based in New York City, with offices throughout the United States and worldwide, the Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers.


Position Summary:

The Director will guide the SAN in its role as the leading global voice for Sustainable Agriculture.  The SAN is about to embark on an exciting global expansion plan, which will be led by the Director.  As the head of the international secretariat of the SAN, s/he will ensure that the Sustainable Agriculture Standard represents the leading edge of thinking on sustainable agriculture, expand and strengthen stakeholder involvement in the standards setting process, and guide standards and certification systems development to ensure the highest level of credibility.  S/he will work in close collaboration with the SAN members to strengthen the SAN. The Director will supervise a team of four.



Strategic leadership

  • Maintain the SAN’s role as leader in sustainable agriculture; create and implement long term strategies and plans to ensure that the SAN and its standard continues to represent cutting edge thinking;
  • Create strategies, lead and expand global stakeholder engagement in the SAN and Sustainable Agriculture Standard;
  • Ensure credibility of the SAN standards setting and certification system; lead implementation of new structures or systems to ensure program continues to meet the highest level of evolving credibility standards; ensure compliance with ISEAL credibility criteria;
  • Lead SAN fundraising efforts in collaboration with the SAN development committee; create a fundraising plan, identify and cultivate potential donors, conceptualize and develop proposals;
  • Oversee the development of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard and related policies; ensure representation from all key stakeholder groups and guide international efforts to ensure local involvement in standards development;
  • Lead the transition of the certification system from a single certifier model primarily focused on Latin America to an open accreditation system model working globally; lead the development of SAN policies, procedures and systems needed to guide the certification system as it opens and expands;
  • Guide the development of external communications tools for the SAN;
  • Provide oversight and guidance to the SAN revenue generation model;
  • Develop and implement annual plan and budget;
  • Provide legal oversight of the Red de Agricultura Sostenible, A.C. Consolidate the SAN governance and operational structure to enable global growth, supervise all matters related to formal records, legal and financial affairs;


  • Expand the SAN to include at least one representative in each country where Rainforest Alliance Certified products are produced and sold;
  • Manage preparations for meetings of the SAN membership including agenda, scheduling, preparation and forwarding of documents, management of organizational arrangements of the meeting itself, preparation of minutes of the meetings, and follow up on meetings;
  • Provide briefing of the SAN Board of Directors on status and resolution of ongoing matters related to the SAN membership;

SAN Board of Directors

  • Manage elections to the SAN Board of Directors;
  • Manage meetings of the SAN Board of Directors including information, scheduling, preparation and forwarding of documents, management of organizational arrangements of the meeting itself, preparation of minutes, follow up on meetings;
  • Manage SAN board and membership committees, including executive committee and others as needed; 
  • Provide periodic briefing to the executive committee on status and resolution of ongoing matters;
  • Maintain close working relationship with the members and executive committee; and


  • Other duties as assigned.



·         MBA and/or M.S. in conservation biology, agronomy, rural development, resource management, resource economics or related field;

·         Minimum 10-12 years field experience in international conservation and project management in tropical countries; 

·         Demonstrated experience in standards development and certification systems;

·         Minimum 5-7 years experience leading global action networks;

·         Proven ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations and with a wide range of people with diverse economic, political and professional backgrounds;

·         Knowledge of the socio-environmental impacts of agriculture on tropical communities, ecosystems and local economies;

·         Excellent written and verbal communications skills in English and Spanish; French a plus;

·         Strong computer skills (MS Office and Internet); and

·         Ability to travel internationally at least 25% of the time.



Commensurate with experience.


To apply:

Send resume, cover letter and salary history to Human Resources, Rainforest Alliance, P.O. Box 11029-1000, San Jose, Costa Rica; fax: (506) 234-8916; email: crpersonnel@ra.org.


The Rainforest Alliance is an equal opportunity employer.

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