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Senior Director, Communications

at World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Published 21 December 2021
Location Geneva, Switzerland
Category Permanent  
Job Type Director  


Application Deadline: 13 January 2022

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is the premier global, CEO-led community of over 200 of the world’s leading sustainable businesses working collectively to accelerate the system transformations needed for a net zero, nature positive, and more equitable future.

We do this by engaging executives and sustainability leaders from business and elsewhere to share practical insights on the obstacles and opportunities we currently face in tackling the integrated climate, nature and inequality sustainability challenge; by co-developing “how-to” CEO-guides from these insights; by providing science-based target guidance including standards and protocols; and by developing tools and platforms to help leading businesses in sustainability drive integrated actions to tackle climate, nature and inequality challenges across sectors and geographical regions.

Our member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies, representing a combined revenue of more than USD $8.5 trillion and 19 million employees. Our global network of almost 70 national business councils gives our members unparalleled reach across the globe. Since 1995, WBCSD has been uniquely positioned to work with member companies along and across value chains to deliver impactful business solutions to the most challenging sustainability issues.

Together, we are the leading voice of business for sustainability, united by our vision of creating a world in which 9+ billion people are living well, within planetary boundaries, by mid-century.

Background information

WBCSD is a unique business organization, working with more than 200 companies to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world and making more sustainable companies more successful.

Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world by making more sustainable businesses more successful. Our vision is to create a world where more than 9 billion people are all living well and within planetary boundaries, by 2050.

The world faces three critical challenges: the climate emergency, nature loss and mounting inequality. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that these challenges are interconnected, and that our systems are ill-prepared for shocks. As global risks continue to build, business leaders are rallying behind a bold and urgent transformation agenda developed by WBCSDVision 2050: Time to Transform sets a shared vision of a world in which more than 9 billion people are able to live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050. To achieve this vision, we need transformation at scale, and business needs to focus its actions on the areas through which it can best lead the systems transformations and drive transformative change in its sustainability planning and business strategies.

Our new strategy for 2022-27 will set the course for the organization as it steps up the course for systemic business transformation. The new strategy also came with a renewed focus of work and a new leadership.

Operating in a demanding and fast-paced environment across a breadth of subjects related to sustainability, the central communication function is led by the Director, Communications who oversees the team and sets the communication strategy, together with the Senior Management Team.

The Senior Director, Communications is responsible for:

  • Setting the course of communications for the organization
  • Media relations
  • Crisis management and communications
  • Web & data management
  • Design coherence
  • Promotion & support
  • Social media/newsletters
  • Ensuring quality and consistency across all channels and works
  • Team management
  • Training and development

In the last few years, WBCSD has grown exponentially and so has the focus on communications, the team has expanded and is supporting the new impetus and ambition of the organization. As the communications team, our clients are both internal and external. We operate in a very busy landscape, and content is never an issue.

This role works closely with our senior leadership (further referred to as SMT or Senior Management Team) but also with our internal experts and members. It reports to the Chief Members and Marketing Officer. The Senior Director, Communications is expected to create compelling stories that demonstrate the organization’s leading position in the field of sustainability and business. The role also shapes WBCSD’s brand positioning in the crowded sustainability field.

The Senior Director, Communications is also responsible for helping protect our reputation through crisis management and leading communications around our crisis management protocols.

Responsibilities & duties 

Strategic communications

  • Develop a member-centric, high impact communication approach for the organization
  • Work with the senior management in the development of an overall communication strategy resulting in targeted communications strategies or plans with supporting tactics to elevate our content – simple, compelling and in line with the organization’s value proposition to member companies and differentiated in the external space.
  • Working with the team and with SMT, the Senior Director, Communications identifies, prepares and executes strategies for high-impact communication across events & other platforms (articles, video, social media, etc.) – occupying well-established spaces as well as positioning WBCSD leadership in new spaces.
  • Provide strategic guidance, helping to translate complex, technical information into business-relevant, accessible and engaging content.
  • Challenge the status quo for more impactful communications and with KPIs to report on success

Content development & editorial oversight

  • Advise the teams on content development against a corporate editorial calendar, based on priorities and impact.
  • Develop and manage comprehensive communications campaigns and activities to build brand, enhance reputation and achieve business objectives.
  • Write content for WBCSD including material for op-eds, thought leadership pieces, news articles, interviews, newsletters, blog pieces, member communications and social media.
  • Provide editorial leadership for publications and ensure all content adheres to WBCSD’s visual identity and tone of voice, working with the central communications team and external agencies as necessary.
  • Lead the community management for our social media channels, and work on subsequent social media strategies to elevate the positioning of the organization.

Positioning & media relations

  • Develop a media strategy to back the organizational ambitions, beyond the usual mainstream targets and beyond the English-speaking media.
  • Manage media enquiries and prepare WBCSD spokespeople for interviews
  • Manage the process for the organization’s media relations and train the team in all aspects related to it from writing/editing media releases and managing media campaigns.
  • Crisis communications management in close relation with management

Analysis, quality control and traffic management

  • Track & analyze positioning of sustainability themes & trends in competitors as well as international media in view of continuously (re)shaping WBCSD’s value proposition and communications strategy.
  • Quality control across processes on product development in writing, video, social media, presentations, etc.
  • Traffic management skills within the department. 

Relationship & team building

  • Manage expectations of demanding stakeholders in a fast-paced environment.
  • Build strong relationships with key stakeholders internally and externally
  • Leads a high performing team of communications managers

Education and experience 

  • Master’s degree in a communications or related degree with a minimum of 15 years of relevant business work experience.
  • Experience in brand management or in an agency required.
  • Proven expertise in driving the design and web functions to match the organization’s ambitions.
  • Knowledge and expertise:
    • Good knowledge and hands-on experience of developing and implementing communication strategies, planning, editing and execution
    • Social media savviness and web experience
    • Extremely strong written and verbal communications skills.
    • Data analysis experience
  • Show diplomacy and sensitivity to different opinions and approaches, managing a range of views and interests with first class negotiating and facilitation skills. Seasoned judgment, able to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive, clear and firm with colleagues and partners. Strong interpersonal and collaborative skills and well-established networks among public sector and private sector in particular; ability to develop an open and inclusive space to collaborate and manage productive relationships with partners, consultants, and others who contribute to the success of the program.
  • Formulating Strategies and concepts: Works strategically to realize organizational goals. Sets and develops strategies. Identifies and develops positive and compelling visions of the organization’s future potential. Takes accounts of a wide range of issues across, and related to, the organization. Provides others with a clear direction.
  • Leading and supervising: Sets appropriates standards of behavior. Delegates work appropriately and fairly. Motivates and empowers others. Provides staff with development opportunities and coaching. Recruits staff of a high caliber.
  • Relating and networking: Adapts to the team and build team spirit. Listens, consults others and communicates proactively. Develops and openly communication self-insight such as an awareness of own strengths and weaknesses. Relates well to people at all levels.
  • Facilitation and stakeholder engagement: Evidence of successfully aligning different stakeholders and the ability to create effective relationships with new partners or stakeholders. Capacity to be assertive and take initiative when appropriate
  • Project management: Evidence of successful project management and effective facilitation of different perspectives towards a common objective.
  • Language skills: Fluency in English (written and spoken) is essential, other languages an asset.

 WBCSD work environment

WBCSD is a purpose driven, forward-thinking and action-oriented organization, characterized by diversity of gender, nationalities, and work experiences

WBCSD offers a competitive, modern, and flexible working arrangement:

  • Geneva-based organization with offices in London, New Delhi, New York City and Singapore
  • State-of-the-art facilities and ICT-enabled working tools
  • Hybrid work environment
  • Dynamic working atmosphere
  • Open culture encouraging interaction and sharing of ideas and opinions

The position is full-time and based in Amsterdam, Geneva or London, but will also require international travel with flexibility.

Please note that WBCSD will only respond to candidates selected for the interview process.