Environmental Sustainability Senior Advisor - Technical Support Unit

Programs Anywhere, United States


This position is open to applicants in any Mercy Corps location, with a preference for the United States, Europe, or Kenya.

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program / Department / Team 

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department that supports field-led work to deliver measurable impact.  It houses subject matter experts whose mission is to help our global teams apply the most effective solutions to the world’s toughest challenges, while building our global reputation and resources to do so.  The TSU helps set agency-wide strategy and develops strategic approach documents and other technical briefs for their practice area to inform the entire organization’s work. In addition, it offers technical expertise to offices worldwide - supporting country strategy development and assessments, and engaging throughout the program life cycle from project design and proposal development to quality implementation and evaluations.  Well versed in global practices and abreast of sector specific trends, they represent Mercy Corps with donors and other strategic partners, and inform and influence both internal approaches and global understanding on how to bring a transformative approach to some of the most intractable humanitarian and development challenges of our time.

The Position 

The Environmental Sustainability and Safeguarding Senior Advisor is a new role within Mercy Corps global support services tasked with supporting (in equal measure) two key and related initiatives: Initiative 1: Driving organizational-wide efforts at improving the environmental sustainability of our operations; and, Initiative 2: Improving our  environmental safeguarding performance within our programming. They will work with senior HQ, regional and in-country  leaders to hone strategies, implement plans and develop tools for related initiatives.

Initiative 1. Operational Environmental Sustainability

They will be responsible for inclusively designing a change management uptake process and related key performance indicators (KPIs) with HQ, regional and in-country teams, the goal of which will be ensuring long-term success of carbon footprint reduction initiatives within our operations and programs.  In collaboration with Operations, Finance and Program departments across the agency, the Environmental Sustainability and Safeguarding Manager will consolidate progress to date on tracking and reporting our global carbon footprint, develop and work with global and country teams to implement strategies for reducing this footprint over time, and develop a more comprehensive vision for environmental sustainability.   

Initiative 2. Programmatic Environmental and Social Safeguarding

This role will also take ownership of a multi-year strategic initiative and work plan to improve our environmental and social safeguarding mechanisms and performance at the country and program level, and work with global teams to develop appropriate policies, standards, procedures, technical guidance and accountability measures. 

Essential Responsibilities 


  • Scope and gather current best practices already existing around sustainability, safeguarding and change management processes to smooth the uptaking among Mercy Corps colleagues in different departments 
  • Work with the senior leadership across global support teams to further develop strategies and work plans related to both sustainability and safeguarding goals
  • Engage in-country leaders for input into strategies and build support for executing key components of the work plans
  • Manage and administer regional core budgets in coordination with regional and global leadership
  • Develop measurement frameworks and key performance indicators for both initiatives, and produce regular reports on progress. 


  • Provide direct advice and guidance to country and business development teams during project design or implementation on best practices and minimum standards for environmental safeguarding, in line with donors and national regulations 
  • Develop user-friendly guidance using a variety of channels and tools for program teams, including guidance on how to budget for environmental safeguarding and risk management, donor specific compliance, and assessment methodologies.


  • Nurture, track and support ‘Green Teams’ across the globe seeking to reduce the environmental footprint of our offices
  • Build connections across office teams to share lessons and build a community of practice focused on our sustainability and safeguarding efforts
  • Develop or identify training products or processes to help build skills across the Mercy Corps global teams 
  • Help onboard operations managers across the globe to the carbon accounting processes


  • Support and strengthen the regular carbon accounting, data quality assurance, and reporting processes and protocols 
  • Work with communications teams for external communication plans as needed 

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: David Nicholson, Acting VP Technical Support Unit (TSU)

Works Directly With: Global TSU, Finance, Travel, Compliance and Program Quality Teams, plus full network of country teams.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills 

  • Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in a field related to environmental science, climate change, environmental engineering, sustainability or similar
  • Minimum 7 years’ experience working on corporate sustainability, environmental safeguarding, climate  risk management, or similar issues - of which at least 3 years on change management in multicultural contexts and across departments 
  • Experience in project or program management and demonstrated ability to oversee multi-stakeholder engagement processes
  • Experience working in international organizations is preferred
  • Fluency in English essential, other language skills preferred especially French or Arabic. 

Success Factors 

Flexibility, creativity, and well-honed team building and communication skills are all essential in this role.  The successful candidate will be able to take ownership of these work streams, develop a clear plan of action for the short and medium term, and then build collaborative relationships with key partners and stakeholders in order to advance these actions.  S/he will be a change manager at heart, able to identify opportunities to move quickly where they exist while working on more gradual progress in other areas. Most of all, S/he will be able to build momentum and harness the excitement that exists across the organization to improve Mercy Corps’ environmental performance and to represent our progress externally to help push the sector as a whole. 

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in any of  Mercy Corps offices and it requires up to 30% travel to support country programs, which may include travel to insecure locations where freedom of movement is limited and areas where amenities are limited.   When travelling, Mercy Corps will provide support as per agency’s policies. 

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives. 

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact. 

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.