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2022-065 International Plastics Director 58 views


Ocean Conservancy envisions a healthier ocean protected by a more just world. We work to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.


The trash in the ocean is at crisis levels and compromises the health of humans and wildlife, and threatens those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy ocean. Ocean Conservancy, a long-time leader in this field, has a portfolio of initiatives to stabilize ocean health against the threat of plastic pollution while benefiting marginalized communities and not increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Our work advances three objectives: to reduce plastic waste being created in the first place; to better manage the waste that is created and clean up the plastic pollution that makes it into the environment and the ocean. Current projects of the international plastics portfolio include Urban Ocean, Advancing Solutions to Plastics Pollution through Inclusive Recycling (ASPIRRe), supporting the Vietnam National Action Plan, and advocating for an international instrument on plastics.


The Director shapes and leads the International Plastics work for Ocean Conservancy by working to leverage resources and to bring industry, government, and civil society partners together to analyze, identify, and launch solutions to reduce plastic inputs that enter the ocean from priority geographies. This position involves managing a complex and dynamic set of projects, all rooted in fact-based analytical work to develop solutions to the problem of plastics in the ocean. The Director will work with the Vice President of Conservation for Ocean Plastics to develop and implement a cohesive and strategic approach to international work. The Director will provide leadership to existing projects to align with that strategic approach and will work with partners to catalyze and launch additional projects and initiatives on the ground. Given the public profile of this issue the Director works collaboratively with Communications staff to deploy sophisticated communications efforts.

The Director plays a significant role in overseeing the project budget, attracting resources, and supporting ongoing relationships with funders. The Director reports to the Vice President of Conservation for Ocean Plastics and works closely with the other programs within the Trash Free Seas portfolio, which include the International Coastal Cleanup, U.S. domestic plastics, and a portfolio of science and monitoring efforts. Extensive international travel will be required to build and foster relationships with key stakeholders and policymakers, oversee the implementation of on-the-ground projects, and represent Ocean Conservancy in international fora.


The International Ocean Plastics Director will perform the following duties:

  • Work with the VP of Plastics to develop a cohesive and strategic approach to Ocean Conservancy’s international body of work to address plastic pollution to maximize our potential for impact.
  • Formulate and implement high-impact efforts to advance international policy priorities and create new partnership opportunities with the private sector, government, NGOs, and institutions.
  • Launch new on-the-ground initiatives around waste management and marine debris solutions, including strategic cultivation and leveraging of relationships and partnerships in key geographies.
  • Coordinate and guide consultants and expert project teams, ensuring internal and external alignment. Oversee all stages of consultants’ work, from contract development and management to review and assessment of work products.
  • Manage the complex International Ocean Plastics budget in coordination with the Vice President of Conservation for Ocean Plastics.
  • Work as a collaborative member of the TFS team to leverage partnerships, science research, and other TFS projects to advance TFS program priorities.
  • Work closely with Ocean Conservancy Resource Development staff to cultivate and foster funding partnerships, and create fundraising materials to support program growth.
  • Work closely with the Communications Department to align external messaging with organizational and programmatic objectives.
  • Represent Ocean Conservancy in external meetings/events with integrity and excellence; build and maintain relationships with public agencies, funders, researchers, academics, NGOs, industry representatives, public officials, and other partners.
  • Hire, manage and develop staff to advance the International Plastics portfolio, including budgeting for and attracting resources to support new capacity.


  • The high profile and complex nature of this work require someone with both leadership and management skills, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to use sound judgement in a fast-paced environment.
  • 7+ years of experience with collective efforts on international policy, and/or corporate sustainability initiatives required (e.g. sustainable sourcing of timber/fish palm oil, REDD issues, energy, climate, etc.).
  • Proven experience developing and leading a complex program/policy initiative; minimum of 3+ years of experience leading projects or teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively integrate across disciplines, and work collaboratively with a wide variety of colleagues, partners, consultants, and stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated cultural competency in working with partners and communities in countries outside of the United States.
  • Experience working on projects that require coordination with dispersed teams, networks, or across multiple partners is strongly preferred.
  • A high-level performer who thinks strategically and sees the big picture but remains attentive to details, deadlines, and deliverables.
  • An insightful, curious, pragmatic, and strategic mind.
  • Ability to be flexible and work under pressure.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with past success in leveraging collaborative efforts to effect change and create enthusiasm.
  • Ability to travel overseas up to 50% of your time.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field (i.e., economics, finance, policy).
  • Master’s degree preferred.


Ocean Conservancy is committed to equity in its pay practices and posts the minimum and midpoint of the range for each of its open positions. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with the skills, years of experience and unique background of the candidate. Salary minimum is $112,200; salary midpoint is $140,300. Salary may be higher as appropriate for the selected candidate, with internal equity being considered.


If you think you have what it takes to join Ocean Conservancy’s team, please apply here.


You will be required to provide proof of full vaccination status or submit to regular masking and testing, as a condition of employment at Ocean Conservancy’s meetings, gatherings, and offices. You may request accommodation for medical or religious reasons.


Ocean Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Ocean Conservancy is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.


We encourage applicants to apply who have a diverse level and range of relevant skills and experiences. A 100% match is not required. We want to support employees’ career growth and in return, our employees help Ocean Conservancy grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization.

Ocean Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Ocean Conservancy is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.


  • Washington, DC or Remote in AK, CA, FL, GA, MD, ME, MT, NC, OH, OR, TX, VA, WA, WV AND proximate to a major airport.
  • Conservation/Trash Free Seas
  • Vice President of Conservation, Ocean Plastics
  • Full Time

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  • Company Address 1300 19th St NW 8th floor, Washington, DC 20036
  • City Washington
  • Location District of Columbia
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