Board Member

Friends of the Earth


Volunteer • Part Time

Reference: SYS-595

Sectors: environmental policy & campaigning

Closing date: Saturday, 30th November 2019  

Volunteer status: No salary, reasonable travel expenses to all meetings are covered
Duration: Initial 3-year term with the expectation of a 2nd 3-year term
Time commitment: Five Board meetings per year including the annual away days
Location of meetings: Flexible – usually 3 meetings are held in London and 2 outside London
Closing date: 30 November 2019
Interview date: W/c 9 December, held in our London office

As we strive to protect the environment and tackle climate change at this critical time, we are seeking to appoint a Board member to join the Friends of the Earth Board.

About Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth stands with anyone who cares about the world we live in and who seeks a just transition to a net zero carbon future. Over the last 48 years, Friends of the Earth has led many powerful campaigns that have resulted in substantive change protecting the environment. In the UK, we’ve been responsible for making recycling not just a household word, but a household habit. We successfully campaigned for the world’s first climate change law, the Climate Change Act 2008, which paved the way for similar legislation around the world. Our combined strength has meant we have been able to push back against drilling for fossil fuels, and most recently we’ve helped ensure legal protection from pesticides for bees.

We currently have four main campaign areas: supporting local communities to cut carbon in collaboration with our Climate Action Groups, doubling tree cover in the UK, preventing fracking and tackling plastic pollution. We design and lead campaigns and support activists as well as providing expertise, information and resources across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We work with local groups, communities, experts, other NGOs, local authorities, business leaders and politicians. As a local to global movement, we also collaborate with Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth International, connecting with more than two million people in 75 countries.

About the role

The Board is responsible for the governance of Friends of the Earth Limited, which has jurisdiction over Friends of the Earth’s campaigning and activism in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Sharing responsibility with other Board members and under the direction of the Chair, this role will contribute to our campaigning and organisational strategy and guide the organisation in making a long-term and sustainable impact.

Main responsibilities

This governance role involves the following key areas:

  • Supporting and guiding the mission and values of Friends of the Earth
  • Providing strategic direction for our campaigns, community activism and the organisation
  • Oversight of our people, fundraising, business planning, budgeting, financial management and compliance
  • Fulfilling legal responsibilities as a director under company law
  • Assessing risks and overseeing mitigating actions
  • Supporting and constructively challenging our Senior Leadership Team

Key skills and attributes

The Board is looking for a candidate with strong governance and/or finance experience to complement existing Board skills. Ideally, therefore, you will have some or all of the following skills and experiences:

  • Strong interest in and commitment to Friends of the Earth’s values and environmental goals
  • Governance/Board experience of medium to large organisations
  • Financial experience, including accountancy or a similar qualification
  • Experience at the senior management level of organisational effectiveness and delivery in a large organisation (whether public, private or third sector)
  • Experience of people management/human resources

Time commitment 

In addition to four quarterly Board meetings per year, there is an additional Board meeting held during the annual away days. Meetings usually take place during the working day on a Friday with at least one quarterly meeting held outside of London. The annual away days are two days over a Friday and Saturday outside London with the Senior Leadership Team and other senior members of staff.

In addition to attending meetings you will need to make time to:

  • read papers prior to each Board meeting and prepare comments and feedback
  • liaise with the Chair, other Board members and staff between meetings
  • lead discussions on particular issues from time to time, including becoming involved in particular projects depending on your specialist skills

In particular, there may be a vacancy on the Finance Committee which will involve an additional 4 meetings a year. These are usually held in London with videoconferencing available for those based outside London.

Board members are encouraged to join or participate in the activities of their Local Group in order to maintain connections with our grassroots movement. Board members are also ambassadors for Friends of the Earth and are invited to our events. Being a member of the Friends of the Earth Board is a highly rewarding experience and you’ll play a vitally important and challenging role across the governance of the organisation.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The principal office of Friends of the Earth is at The Printworks in Stockwell, London, and our other offices are in Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Brighton. We usually have two of the five Board meetings outside London and the South East. This provides an opportunity for Board members to visit local campaigning sites and spend time with locally based staff and community activists.

Diversity and equal opportunities

Friends of the Earth is committed to equal opportunities and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons. We are keen to encourage applications from people currently underrepresented in the environment movement and on our Board, including BAME, disabled people and LGBTQI+ people. As we are engaged in campaigning across Northern Ireland, Wales and England, we also welcome applications from people based outside London and the South East.

How to apply

If you feel you have the skills required to add value to the Board and to help Friends of the Earth achieve its environmental goals, then we would be glad to hear from you. Please send your CV, along with a supporting statement explaining how you meet the key skills and attributes required and what contribution you could make to Friends of the Earth, to by the closing date. If you have any questions you are welcome to contact this email address. If you are invited to interview, we are happy to reimburse your travel expenses.

For more information please visit our website.

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