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  • Role Specification

    Chief Conservation Officer, Australia

    World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Australia)


    Ashley Stephenson

    [email protected]

    t. +61 2 9240 4522

    Sharne Bryan

    [email protected]

    t. +61 3 9678 9603

  • Role Specification & Description Chief Conservation Officer WWF-Australia

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    Background on the Global and Australian Organisation

    Founded in 1961, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is the world’s largest non-

    governmental conservation organization. It operates as a global network with 6,500 staff

    operating in more than 100 countries with the support of six million members, and 22

    million Facebook and 14 million Twitter followers worldwide.

    WWFs efforts are grounded in its work with communities and governments to conserve

    and restore species and ecoregions in priority places around the world. The organisation

    also works extensively with major private and public institutions to reduce the impacts of

    climate change, infrastructure projects, unsustainable food production, and general human


    In 2016, WWF launched a new global strategy to help the nations, states, and cities of the

    world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement, and the

    Convention of Biological Diversity. WWF works through strong country programs, linked

    through global practice areas (including Forests, Oceans, Freshwater, Climate, Food,

    Wildlife, Markets, Finance, and Governance), to drive local innovation and large-scale

    solutions and partnerships to reverse the loss of nature by 2030. Specific overarching goals


    1. Protect & restore at least 30% of the land and sea to build resilient communities

    2. End illegal wildlife trade and overexploitation of the most high-profile species

    3. Halt deforestation and degradation at key fronts

    4. Keep the world’s most important rivers clean and flowing

    5. Double the world’s sustainably managed fisheries

    6. Halve the damaging impacts of human food systems

    7. Halve global greenhouse gas emissions.


    WWF-Australia operates under an independent board and is the 7th largest member of the

    WWF Global Network. It works with governments, businesses and communities on

    environmental issues with a single mission: to build a world where people live and prosper

    in harmony with nature. WWF-Australia is governed by a Board of Directors and has a

    membership of up to 100 Governors. The Executive Team and close to 100 staff

    throughout the country manage conservation programs, field work, fundraising, marketing

    and administration.

    WWF-Australia has its foundation in science and works towards a sustainable planet,

    striving to conserve biodiversity in Australia and throughout the Oceania region. Behind

    the scenes of their on-ground conservation projects are teams of scientists, policy and

    communications experts, lawyers and other specialists, all supported by regional and

    national staff members. WWF-Australia does not engage in activities that support political

    parties, seek to persuade members of the public to vote for or against particular candidates

    or parties in an election, participate in party political demonstrations, or distribute material

    designed to underpin a party political campaign.

    Over the past few decades, WWF-Australia has delivered transformational conservation

    results, including: a marine park covering 33% of the Great Barrier Reef; a ban on industrial

    dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area; a pest-free Macquarie Island for

    wildlife; the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment (Earth Hour); the

    world’s largest Marine Protected Area network around Australia; and ensuring that more

  • Role Specification & Description Chief Conservation Officer WWF-Australia

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    than 100 million cans of tuna sold in Australia each year are now Marine Stewardship

    Council (MSC) certified. However, past success is no guarantee of future results, and the

    organisation is committed to raising its game in order to stay ahead of the challenges we

    face and to deliver the impact at the scale needed.

    Driving Change

    WWF-Australia works across multiple fronts, principally because the challenges we face

    today are complex and deep-rooted. There is no ‘silver bullet’ to achieve the organisation’s

    far reaching goals nor any quick fixes. Conservation and sustainable development require

    coordinated action by many people involving a range of strategies and tactics.

    WWF-Australia relies on three powerful integrated theories of change to deliver results.

    First, it works in-the-field to test, validate and deliver practical sustainable development

    solutions that are good for species, for the environment and for people. Secondly, it engages

    with business, consumers and other economic stakeholders to transform the way that

    markets operate. Third, it advocates innovative policy reforms that can be popular,

    affordable, feasible and effective - through policy engagement and campaigns.

    Some of the greatest, and most enduring successes have been when the organisation’s ways

    of working complement and reinforce each other. This is the case on the Great Barrier Reef,

    where the organisation’s water quality monitoring on the ground helps to build a

    compelling link between agricultural runoff and species loss, driving a shift towards

    precision farming practices and market based certification, and generates over one

    hundred million dollars in new government funding and regulation towards limiting

    nitrogen pollution.

    The power of WWF-Australia is that it is able to tackle extremely complex problems in an

    integrated way:

     Delivering field-based solutions - This includes project work to measure

    environmental and socio-economic impacts, research and protect species, pilot

    innovative production practices, monitor protected areas and develop sustainable

    livelihood options. The field work is invariably carried out in collaboration with local

    partners, which include research institutions, community groups, traditional owners

    and primary producers.

     Transforming markets and business - This includes: one-to-one corporate

    engagement on sustainable production and procurement; multi-stakeholder

    initiatives, such as voluntary standards and certification; responsible lending,

    investment and insurance; consumer awareness on sustainable consumption; research

    and development, such as analysis of global trade flows and associated risks or impacts.

     Influencing policy - This includes advocacy seeking political commitments to laws

    and regulations that are important to deliver conservation outcomes, or to public

    funding for conservation-related initiatives or programs. This can be linked to state or

    federal elections, and involves mobilising WWF-Australia’s supporter base to

    demonstrate popular support for the organisation’s position. In carrying out any

    advocacy work, WWF-Australia is guided by its policy on ‘Advocacy with Excellence’,

    which includes a commitment to non-partisanship, to scientific accuracy and to


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    A Strategy for Changing Times

    As a global organisation, WWF knows that environmental solutions will not have a lasting

    impact unless they also support social equity and economic development, and the landmark

    United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in late 2015, provides a global

    roadmap and common currency for bringing all three together. Recently the WWF Network

    has undergone a major shift to ensure it is fit for purpose in this new world. This global

    shift has resulted in an unprecedented level of focus, with the WWF Network marshalled

    around six Global Goals (Climate/Energy, Food, Forests, Oceans, Water, Wildlife) and

    three global drivers (Markets, Finance, Governance) which are aimed at decoupling human

    development from environmental degradation. WWF-Australia’s 2017-2021 strategy

    reflects this global shift. The specifics are summarized below:

  • Role Specification & Description Chief Conservation Officer WWF-Australia

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    Values and Culture

    WWF is a dynamic and mission driven organisation. Its work is founded in science and is

    focused on innovative, practical and scalable approaches to increasing conservation impact

    and building a sustainable planet. The organisation’s work traverses policy, advocacy,

    programs and partnerships to deliver with impact. There are a clear set of values and

    behaviours which underpin this work and its culture. These values are:

     Acts with Integrity.

     Knowledgeable.

     Optimistic.

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