Project Manager, Sustainable Sourcing Initiative (Wash, DC)

Project Manager, Sustainable Sourcing Initiative, Environmental Defense Fund, DC

With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.

EDF’s Ecosystem Program
When it comes to natural resources in this country, we don’t have a scarcity problem. We have an inefficiency problem. Current policies and market failures encourage waste and fail to reward environmental innovation. The result: scarcity and conflict. EDF is uniquely equipped to help fix this problem by accelerating the development of systems that make conservation and efficient land and water management profitable. We believe that such will be critical to helping the nation meet one of its greatest challenges: how to support a growing population without continuing to overspend our precious natural capital.


The Sustainable Sourcing Initiative Project Manager has expertise in economics, agricultural supply chains, and/or the social sciences for its sustainable sourcing initiative. The Project Manager will play a lead role in the development and execution of EDF’s strategy to eliminate fertilizer as a major source of pollution. This will require expanding farmer adoption of nutrient optimization and soil health measures through data-driven processes and leveraging the agriculture supply chain to drive the transformation of agriculture practices at the scale needed to achieve pressing environmental goals while meeting growing food demands.

The focus of this job will be to:

1) Foster demand for sustainably-produced grain by recruiting and securing sustainability commitments from major corporations in the domestic grain supply chain, then develop, manage, execute, and replicate sustainable sourcing collaborations that optimize nutrient use and soil health in grain supply chains.

2) Build the supply of sustainably produced crops by working with agribusinesses to develop farmer-focused programming for nutrient optimization and soil health measures.

3) Apply expert knowledge to develop and implement methods to quantify and track the environmental and economic benefits of nutrient optimization and soil health measures, and initiate an examination of economic and social science aimed at understanding farmer behavior and integrating findings into strategy and communications.

4) Communicate EDF’s strategy and approach clearly and comprehensively to diverse stakeholder groups in a variety of formats, including public presentations and written and social media.
The goal of the Sustainable Sourcing Initaitive is to achieve EDF’s environmental goals of reducing water quality impacts, creating climate benefits, and generating additional sustainability benefits. The Project Manager will engage key stakeholders at all levels of the agricultural supply chain and foster improved and stronger collaboration with food companies, grain aggregators, fertilizer retailers, service providers, grower groups, and others. The position offers the opportunity to build the scope and effectiveness of a multidisciplinary team working to accelerate EDF’s strategic vision for improving environmental resilience and agricultural sustainability.


The Project Manager will work closely with the Senior Director of Agricultural Sustainability and the sustainable sourcing initiative team to develop and implement strategic collaborations with key actors in the agriculture sector, contribute to sustainable sourcing initiative strategy development, and manage the generation of new knowledge to support and strengthen the sustainable sourcing initiative.

More specifically, the Project Manager will:
Pursue and develop collaborative relationships with key partners and corporations in the domestic grain supply chain, with a focus on agricultural retailers.
Manage the implementation of sustainable sourcing partnerships and projects, foster connections between projects and other major players in the agriculture supply chain, and continually drive collaborating companies towards ambitious environmental goals.
Collaborate with SSI team members, economic advisors, and academic experts to identify, develop, and assist in the implementation of methods to build stronger business cases for action and quantify the environmental and economic benefits of EDF’s agriculture sustainability initiatives.
Oversee budgets for project work, develop work plans, negotiate project agreements and scopes of work, identify and procure necessary resources, and manage project work and deliverables.
Build relationships internal and external to EDF that establish the Project Manageras an expert and leader on the sustainable sourcing initiative, with the purpose of multiplying the impact of our outreach and establishing EDF as the go-to organization for sustainable sourcing solutions for grain agriculture.
Maintain expert knowledge of the scope and breadth of the program’s activities to participate effectively in science team, policy team, and communications team discussions.
Contribute to the development of fundraising strategies.
In addition to these responsibilities, the incumbent will play an integral role in other activities including fundraising, evaluating and recommending new project ideas; disseminating and communicating project results; and being a team player in the development of a vibrant and entrepreneurial program.

Contacts and Communication:

 Internal contact and communications with dynamic Sustainable Sourcing and Ag Sustainability teams, Development staff, and Ecosystems/CPP leadership.
External contact and communications to communicate EDF approach and goals, develop trust and collaborations, and manage projects with agricultural and supply chain partners, including sustainability staff from food companies and agribusinesses and program staff from collaborating NGOs and agricultural associations. Communications with members of the media also anticipated.
Regular oral and written communications with the above-identified internal and external stakeholders: regular conference calls and meetings with partners and stakeholders, weekly team meetings, occasional updates or meetings with EDF program leadership, and occasional presentations at conferences or large meetings.
Contact and communications to influence others to advance EDF Sustainable Sourcing and Ag Sustainability goals on a regular basis.

Responsibility and Accountability:
Level of Independence and Decision-making: Accountable for project results under broad, results-based direction from supervisor. Independently recommends approach to completing projects and managing processes. Requires independent judgment to search out appropriate course of action within the context of policies and standards. Makes decisions on routine activities. Decisions in less routine areas of responsibility are generally expected to be correct (but are reviewed by supervisor). Relied upon to make recommendations to supervisor/team members in areas of responsibility, again with expectation that they are generally thoughtful and well-founded. Decision-making requires organizing and analyzing information and identifying and evaluating solutions from a range of alternatives.

Analysis and problem-solving: The Project Manager will need strong analytical skills and experience in performing rigorous analysis in support of highly visible work. The Manager will investigate and analyze current activities and information using his/her professional knowledge from education and experience and readily available data. The Manager will apply knowledge to help solve moderately complicated problems requiring independent thinking. Expected to solve routine problems and relied upon for initial conclusions and recommendations on more difficult issues. Will need excellent attention to detail and ability to recognize inconsistencies in data and results.
Management and Leadership: The Project Manager works often in teams and will lead team or act as the “number two” in a larger team with some frequency. The Project Manager will be responsible for coordination of work streams and collaborations with corporate entities.
Impact: The Project Manager will be a significant contributor to team or unit in which he or she is involved. Expected to regularly recommend approaches, methods to be followed. Relied upon to be generally correct in findings, conclusions, recommended approaches.
Budget and staff: The Project Manager will be responsible for his or her own budget and assist in coordinating budgets for the larger team. The Project Manager will not be responsible for any junior staff with the exception of interns.


The Project Manager has direct experience in successful project management and working with companies with a relevant graduate-level education and/or experience. Understanding of agricultural and environmental sectors will be critical. In addition, the general qualifications for this position are:
Master’s degree or higher in environmental management, business, economics, or equivalent work experience;
At least three years of experience in project management, exceptional personal organization and attention to detail;
Experience working on agricultural conservation issues, in particular experience working with farmers and members of the agricultural community and an understanding of the US commodity agricultural supply chain, including key actors and incentives;
A working knowledge of the current theory and practice of corporate sustainability, and the role business can play in solving environmental problems;
Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to work with colleagues and partners of varied backgrounds and experience;
Strong analytical skills and experience in performing rigorous analysis in support of highly visible work;
Sense of humor and strong interpersonal skills;
Ability to adapt quickly to new situations and changing demands;
An ability to work both independently and as a member of small teams in a fast-paced, dynamic and creative environment.

Note: Regular travel between project locations required.
Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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