We Are Hiring

Plastics Initiative Director


Trash Free Seas Program

Trash in the ocean compromises the health of humans and wildlife and threatens those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy ocean.  Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas (TFS) Program aims to stop the flow of trash at its source.  Efforts under the TFS Program include the International Coastal Cleanup, science and monitoring of the incidence and impacts of marine debris, as well as managing the Trash Free Seas Alliance® –a partnership of industry, science, and conservation leaders to advance solutions to marine debris.

Ocean Conservancy’s Plastics Initiative works to leverage the resources and partnerships of the TFS program and the Alliance to bring industry, government, and civil society partners together to analyze, identify, and launch solutions reduce plastic inputs to the ocean by half by 2025. Over the past five years, Ocean Conservancy has supported scientific and economic analyses of the major ways plastic waste reaches the ocean. These studies have highlighted that the majority of plastic in the ocean comes from countries with rapidly developing economies and without sufficient waste management infrastructure. As a result of this work, in 2017 Ocean Conservancy worked with Closed Loop Partners to launch Closed Loop Ocean, an initiative to raise $150 million from consumer goods companies and plastics makers to invest in collection and recycling projects in Southeast Asia. Additional projects to provide technical assistance, design behavior change campaigns, and catalyze on the ground partnerships are being developed as well.



The Director shapes and leads the Plastics Initiative. This position involves managing a large, complex, and dynamic coalition between NGOs and industry members in an effort to influence corporate and international policy, all rooted in fact-based analytical work to develop solutions to the problem of plastics in the ocean. The Director also leads Ocean Conservancy’s engagement with Closed Loop Ocean, and, as potential solution sets are identified, the Director works 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 Managing Director for International Initiatives and works in close collaboration with the Trash Free Seas Program Director, who oversees the International Coastal Cleanup, a portfolio of science and monitoring efforts, and the overall operation of the Trash Free Seas Alliance. This position is based in Washington, DC, with travel to Asia Pacific to oversee implementation of the Plastics Initiative and foster in-country relationships with key stakeholders and policy makers.



The Plastics Initiative Director will perform the following duties:

  • Formulate and implement high impact strategies for the Initiative to advance international and corporate policy priorities and create new partnership opportunities with industry, government and institutions.
  • Manage and lead a large, dynamic coalition of NGO, industry, multilateral, and governmental players to develop, and build consensus around, economic and policy analysis, and launch new on-the-ground initiatives around waste management and marine debris solutions, including strategic cultivation and leveraging of relationships and partnerships in key Asia Pacific 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 Plastics Initiative budget in coordination with the Managing Director for International Initiatives and the TFS Program Director.
  • 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 TFS Program Director and 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 and manage additional staff to fully operationalize the Plastics Initiative, including budgeting for and attracting resources to support new capacity.



  • The high profile and complex nature of this work requires 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 2+ years of experience leading projects or teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively integrate across disciplines, and work collaboratively with a wide variety of partners, consultants, and stakeholders.
  • Experience working on projects that require coordination with dispersed teams, networks, or across multiple partners 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.


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

Compensation and Location

Ocean Conservancy offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. This position will be located in Washington, D.C.

To Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must submit a resume and cover letter to  Please place the position title and #18-9 in the Subject line.

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.

Ocean Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer.

  • Washington, DC
  • Trash Free Seas
Reports To
  • Managing Director, International Initiatives
  • Full Time

More Open Positions