Standards and Assurance Officer

Better Cotton Initiative

London (or Geneva)
£25,000 - £30,000 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: sustainability

Closing date: Sunday, 4th August 2019  

Starting Date: As soon as possible and no later than 28 October 2019

Contract Type: Fixed term ten-month maternity cover contract

Salary: £25,000 - £30,000 (with living cost adjustment available for Geneva) commensurate with skills and experience

Location: London, UK or Geneva, CH.

Application Deadline: 4 August 2019 (midnight GMT)

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) — the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world — aims to reach 5 million farmers worldwide with more sustainable agricultural practices, and account for 30% of global cotton production by 2020. In less than 10 years, the Better Cotton Initiative and its Partners have supported over 1.6 million farmers in 23 countries in adopting more sustainable agricultural practices. Thanks to these efforts, Better Cotton accounts for around 15% of global cotton production. We are truly a joint effort, encompassing stakeholders all the way from farms to fashion brands and civil society organisations, driving the cotton sector toward sustainability. BCI aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

BCI is seeking a highly motivated and qualified professional for a fixed-term, ten-month maternity cover position. This role offers you the opportunity to join an enthusiastic and dynamic team that are making significant global changes.

The BCI Assurance Programme is a field-level system for the regular assessment of farmers around the world participating in the Better Cotton Standard System. Oversight of farmer performance is conducted through various mechanisms, including self-assessment, second party checks, and 3rd party verification visits.

As a Standards & Assurance Officer you will support the execution of the BCI Assurance Programme in your assigned countries. Under guidance from your line manager, you will help coordinate seasonal Better Cotton Assurance Programme activities, and contribute to maintaining, enhancing and reviewing the Programme to ensure its coherence, credibility, and continual improvement. You will update and improve assurance procedures, conduct internal monitoring of assurance implementation, and facilitate external oversight activities. You will contribute to capacity building with the development and delivery of training activities.

You will report to the Assurance Manager, work closely with the other members of the Standards & Assurance team, and liaise with members of the Global Implementation Programme Team across 4 continents.


Assurance Programme delivery for assigned countries, improvements and innovation

  1. Maintain an overview of required improvements to the Better Cotton Assurance Programme based on internal learning, System Reviews, the ISEAL membership process, and/or the BCI Standard Review process
  2. Build and maintain expertise on BCI’s innovative and sophisticated Assurance model and support Programme officers and coordinators in the Country Teams.
  3. Help coordinate seasonal Assurance Programme activities within assigned countries
  4. Update and enhance the existing tools, templates, and policies supporting and governing the Assurance Programme, and develop new components as required

Assurance Programme Internal / External Oversight

  1. Monitor adherence to internal assurance protocols for assigned countries.
  2. Support with monitoring the maintenance of assurance data in the Better Cotton Platform (online database) for assigned countries.

Capacity Building

  1. Support the development and delivery of internal staff training on Assurance
  2. Support the development and delivery of training for 3rd party verifiers for assigned countries

Beyond these specific responsibilities, the Standards and Assurance Officer is expected to collaborate on activities, including ad-hoc administrative support to Standards and Assurance team as agreed with the Director of Standards and Assurance.


To be successful, candidates for the Standards and Assurance Officer role will have the following attributes:

Skills & knowledge


  • University degree, or equivalent higher education qualification, in a relevant field
  • Demonstrated interest in sustainability and international development
  • Proven ability to collaborate effectively across different teams and cultures, strong relationship building skills and service-oriented attitude
  • Aptitude to appraise arguments critically and logically, organise ideas in a clear and concise manner, and draw conclusions and formulate arguments in way that is effective, concise, precise and specific.
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive approach to finding and proposing solutions to challenges within clearly defined boundaries
  • Fluent in English– ability to communicate clearly and concisely
  • Excellent organisation and capacity to handle a set of different priorities several projects running in parallel
  • Willingness to carry out administrative tasks
  • Good communication skills with the ability to communicate clearly and concisely, as well as the ability to assimilate and process information for wide-ranging audiences.
  • Excellent IT skills, including: Word; PowerPoint; Excel;


  • Academic background in rural/agricultural development and sustainability
  • Knowledge of ISEAL and its codes, or ISO Standards as they apply to standard systems and certification bodies
  • Advanced numerical skills and experience in analysing large data sets
  • Good understanding of knowledge management, learning and innovation
  • Understanding of the training-of-trainers process, monitoring & evaluation or standards systems
  • Competency in languages most relevant to BCI countries, such as Hindi, Urdu, Mandarin, French, Portuguese and Turkish



  • At least 3 years’ working experience with at least 1 years in a relevant field
  • Experience of project coordination (preferably in an international context)
  • Experience working as part of a multi-cultural team


  • Experience in a multi-stakeholder initiative or supporting multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultation
  • Experience in a not-for profit organisation
  • Experience with standards systems and assurance, auditing or certification
  • Experience working in the agricultural commodity sectors
  • Experience collaborating on strategic IT projects

Working arrangements

The position is full time (40 hours a week) and based in our offices in London or Geneva. The Standard & Assurance Officer will receive a fixed-term contract with an initial 1 months trial period. BCI offers flexible working, with core hours being 10am – 4pm and the possibility of working from home.


Interested applicants with the required attributes are asked to send, in English, a detailed CV (2 pages maximum) and a cover letter (2 pages maximum), by email to with subject: “Application Standard and Assurance Officer” by 4 August at the latest.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

BCI is currently unable to provide sponsorship for work permits, and candidates need to have a pre-existing right to work in the location where they will be based.

BCI is an equal opportunities employer, and is committed to good practice and transparency in the management of natural, human and financial resources.

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