Senior Vice President for Climate & Clean Energy

about 1 year ago
Full time role
Hybrid · Remote · United States... more
Hybrid · Remote · United States... more

Job Description




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 economy. 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 at risk of losing one million species to extinction if drastic efforts are not taken to address the destruction of our natural world. Finally, this is all taking place at a time when inequality between and within countries remains dire as COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives and further entrench disparities. It is an all-hands-on-deck moment to tackle the climate, biodiversity, and inequality crises.


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 52 years. For more 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 through a robust city, state, and regional structure it is advancing climate solutions outside of Washington, helping to pass strong climate legislation even in Republican-led states like North Carolina. NRDC is targeting the primary source of climate pollution – the fossil fuel industry. It is expanding opportunities for nature-based climate solutions through improved agricultural practices and forest conservation. And it is growing and strengthening the 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 2020, 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 750 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.


As has always been the case, NRDC’s success is built in large part on its ability to adapt to changing circumstances and maximize opportunities for progress. Even in an unprecedented few year of the pandemic that challenged staff in unimaginable ways, both personally and professionally, the organization shifted to remote working without missing a beat – advancing its advocacy goals while meeting, and often surpassing, its fundraising targets.


As NRDC embarks on its next 50 years, it is poised to lead the 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. In Manish Bapna, NRDC’s president and CEO, the organization benefits from leadership that is laser-focused on building partnerships and platforms for transformational change and delivering impact at scale. His proven track record in developing policies and programs to address the twin challenges of climate change and inequity helps NRDC achieve ambitious climate action.


For more information on NRDC, please visit:


Climate & Clean 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 & Clean 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 adoption of three key clean energy drivers (renewables, energy efficiency, electrification) in three key sectors (power, buildings, transportation). Additionally, and importantly, a growing part of our work focuses on innovation and new technologies is 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 & Clean Energy Program has a total budget of $29.4M with a staff of 90 passionate advocates.


Senior Vice President for Climate & Clean Energy Role Description


The Senior Vice President will be the chief visionary and strategist for the Climate & Clean Energy (CCE) program; charged with leading, scaling, and operationalizing the people, structures, partnerships, and programs needed to execute the program’s strategy 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 and the Climate & Clean Energy program at various 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 for NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy program in partnership with Development. The Senior Vice President will be expected and will be supported to build this program even further to help meet the urgency of the moment. 


This is an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic, expert, and inspirational leader. The CCE team are highly capable, and the next 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 is 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.


Strategy, Institutional Leadership, Partnerships and External Relations (60%):

  • Serves as chief strategist and advocate with NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy program and accountable for delivering major outcomes in pursuit of our North Star climate goal 
  • Serves as an external expert and spokesperson for NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy program.  
  • Cultivates and manages strategic relationships and partnerships with businesses, NGOs, labor, government, local government, and community groups to maximize impact and achieve major climate outcomes.  
  • Serves as a strategic advisor to Chief Program Officer and a member of the Program 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, etc. 
  • Works with the Communications department to develop effective external communication strategies and formulate opportunities to increase NRDC’s visibility and name recognition as a leader in climate science.  
  • Embeds equity and justice in NRDC’s climate and energy work; champions community advocacy and helps build expertise and capacity among underserved communities. 


Program Management (40%):

  • Leads the Climate and Clean Energy department, 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. 
  • Collaborate internally with leadership across Programs and other functions to ensure that department initiatives are integrated, and staff are in alignment. 


  • Minimum 15 years’ directly related experience in the climate and clean 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.  
  • 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. 


To apply, visit and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs.


If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422. 


For more about NRDC, visit 

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