Communications Officer (50% media outreach, 50% hybrid communications) (full-time)
Location: Belgium-based, hybrid between home and our Brussels office
Duration: full-time, open-ended contract
Start date: as soon as possible
Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) is the European network of communities, organisations, local leaders, experts, and change agents working towards the elimination of waste in our society. We advocate for sustainable systems and the redesign of our relationship with resources, to accelerate a just transition towards zero waste for the benefit of people and the planet.
The ZWE network now includes 35 members from 28 European countries and works with topics across the whole chain. From product design to reusability to end-of-pipe waste management solutions, from the phase-out of plastics to municipal zero waste strategies, our scope has significantly expanded but our mission and vision remain the same – a zero waste, fairer, inclusive, circular Europe for all (and planet, too, while we’re at it).
We are a successful and fast-growing independent NGO where personal development, fairness and inclusiveness are high on the agenda. We are the proud founders of the Mission Zero Academy (MiZA), through which we offer Zero Waste certifications to cities, municipalities and small businesses; we are founding member of various movements and coalitions that are hosted under our entity (such as Break Free From Plastic), and are the European chapter of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).
Our ZWE Values
- We are purpose-driven, always putting forward a solution-oriented approach.
- We are game-changing – we challenge the status quo, explore emerging topics and create a safe space to succeed (and to recover from setbacks).
- We are adaptable, constantly striving towards learning and improving; open to change and taking agency.
- We believe that acting with integrity is crucial to achieving impact and change, both inside and outside our network.
- And we care deeply about our communities, the environment, and systemic changes that benefit society as a whole – while also looking after ourselves and our own well-being as a team and as individuals.
- You are impact- and values-driven, and able to see the big picture whilst taking care of the details.
- You have experience in communications (both media outreach/press and general communications profiles) and are a good networker.
- You are adept at coming up with the best communications and media outreach strategy for our materials and activities.
- You are interested in environmental matters, and have a social justice/just transition/global mindset approach to it. You stay up to date with the latest developments in this area and have a proactive approach to media outreach strategies.
- You are a team player who can also play solo and can convince people as to why a story (or a certain angle of it) or material is worth communicating about.
- You have a keen eye for detail; you can zero in on the key messages that need to be communicated to different audiences.
- You are not afraid to edit and improve quotes/statements/texts for the betterment and greater impact of our activities, regardless of the person you’re liaising with.
- You are adept at facing complex situations, you are passionate about the zero waste vision and well aware of the multiple challenges the world is facing today.
About the role
We are looking for a Communications Officer to join the ZWE team.
Due to ZWE’s current needs and opportunities, this position’s workload will be divided into 50% media outreach and 50% hybrid communications.
The Communications Officer will be responsible for leading ZWE’s media outreach efforts - both from a proactive and reactive perspective - while still being able to support the other members of the Communications Team on hybrid communications activities. You will be accountable for ensuring strategic coherence to ZWE’s communication strategy (including its media outreach/press strategy).
The Communications Officer will report to ZWE’s Head of Communications and be placed within the ZWE Communications team (which currently hosts two other Communications Officers).
The core responsibilities of the Press Officer will be to:
- Being the point of contact for all press and media enquiries directed at Zero Waste Europe
- Managing and implementing media outreach designed to inform policymakers and other influential stakeholders
- Building strong working relationships with a comprehensive list of journalists, editors, producers, and digital media in Brussels and in EU countries/cities
- Being responsible for both reactive and proactive media activity, managing press office enquiries, and developing media campaigns
- Supporting spokespeople across the organisation with briefings, messaging, and talking points for media interviews
- Being responsible for keeping abreast of news agendas and EU institutions issues, proactively identifying media opportunities (interviews, op-eds, …)
- Working with the Communications team to deal with crisis and issues, and collaborating with other team members (Policy Team and Management)
- Liaising with the press during times of crisis management or unexpected negative Public Relations incidents
- Creating and maintaining media lists and press materials, with full tracking and reporting
- Proofreading, and where necessary rewriting, statements from team members
- Being responsible for drafting and sending press releases in collaboration with the Comms Team and the Policy Team, and following up with media contacts for collateral materials
- Maintaining and updating monthly media monitoring reports
- Ensuring the integration of digital and social media alongside any press and media campaigns by working closely with the rest of the Comms Team
- Responding to media inquiries and being available for interview support outside of working hours, on a reasonable basis
- 3- 5 years of experience required in media relations and campaign communications, preferably with non-profit advocacy organisations and with a solid network of media contacts in the Brussels/European bubble
- A university degree relevant to the position
- Experience in securing earned media in Europe
- Understanding of traditional media and integration of social media into media campaigns
- Fluency in English (speaking and writing)
- Strong writing skills as they will be writing press releases, articles, reports, and content ensuring they reflect the organisations’ style and messaging
- Ability to synthesise and summarise large amounts of information and identify, understand, and address different policy perspectives and tell complicated policy and research stories
- Good project management skills and attention to detail
- Ability to set short- and long-term planning goals in line with agreed strategy
- Demonstrated ability to meet tight deadlines and work under pressure
- Sound judgment, ability to make decisions, and be responsive, clear, and sensitive with colleagues and partners
- Ability to work autonomously and to take leadership on projects
- Ability to work productively with a wide array of different and culturally diverse people
- Working knowledge of G Suite, Mailchimp and Microsoft Office
- An understanding of EU institutions and how they interact
- Experience working on topics related to EU policy
- Experience in creating and maintaining media lists from different countries and different languages
- Passionate about environmental issues
- Experience with Wordpress
- Proficiency in French
- Solid IT competences with collaborative tools (Slack, Trello)
The core responsibilities of the Communications Officer will be to:
- Lead the development and implementation of ZWE’s media outreach efforts designed to inform media outlets, policymakers, and other influential stakeholders.
- Be the point of contact for all press and media enquiries directed at Zero Waste Europe.
- Build strong working relationships with a comprehensive list of journalists, editors, producers, and digital media in Brussels and EU countries/cities - including hosting and leading 1:1 meetings between key journalist contacts and members of the ZWE team.
- Be responsible for both reactive and proactive media activity, managing press enquiries, and developing media campaigns.
- Support spokespeople across the organisation with briefings, messaging, and talking points for media interviews.
- Keep abreast of news agendas and EU institutions issues, proactively identifying media opportunities (interviews, op-eds, …).
- Work with the Communications team to deal with crises and issues, and collaborate with other team members (Enabling Conditions, Implementation, and Management).
- Liaise with the press during times of crisis management or unexpected negative public relations incidents.
- Maintain and update media lists and press materials, with full tracking and reporting (including monthly and annual media monitoring reports).
- Proofread, and where necessary rewrite, statements from team members.
- Draft and send press releases in collaboration with the Communications Team and the wider Zero Waste Europe Team, and follow up with media contacts for collateral materials.
- Ensuring the integration of digital and social media alongside any press and media campaigns by working closely with the rest of the Communications Team.
- Support the ZWE Communications Team on media outreach matters within Europe when requested by organisations in our wider movement - namely GAIA, the Rethink Plastic alliance and the Break Free From Plastic movement.
- Support Zero Waste Europe’s spin-off, Mission Zero Academy, with the drafting and sending of press releases regarding the Zero Waste Cities Certification and the Zero Waste Business Certification.
- Responding to media inquiries and being available for interview support outside of working hours, on a reasonable basis.
- Build overall communications strategies: help set up structures and proactively contribute to effective communication and outreach. This work will consist of:
- Lead the implementation of communication campaigns and undertake actions to develop relationships with target audiences, including:
- Support the Zero Waste Live! webinars series by implementing communications and promotion activities.
Required skills and competencies
- A minimum of 3-4 years experience in a Comms role (particularly in a Public Relations/Media Outreach-related role) is desired.
- Proficient in the English language.
- Excellent communication and writing skills (editing and copywriting included).
- Comfortable with democratising technical topics (i.e. making materials/messages understandable to different audiences).
- Familiar with communications plans and strategies.
- Comfortable with communications execution activities.
- Good to solid media outreach skills (press, public relations, etc), including:
- Experience in building and implementing media outreach strategies;
- 1:1 contact and relationship-building with journalists;
- Experience in writing media materials (press releases and statements, op-ed editing, liaising for quotes, construction of media messages, etc.).
- Basic Communications-related IT skills (Slack, Trello/Zoho/CRM databases, Google Suite, Canva, WordPress website back office, Meltwater, …).
- Familiarity with social media management and community-building (ZWE’s preferred social media channels: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram).
- Attention to detail and an inquisitive/curiosity-centric approach to work.
- Outstanding communication and interpersonal abilities.
- Commitment to accuracy, efficiency and a high standard of work.
- Adaptability to multicultural environments.
- Initiative and self-motivation. You are a team player, proactive, and comfortable with having/creating agency to lead their own projects/activities.
- Problem-solving attitude and results/impact-oriented.
- A strategic and impactful approach to communications:
- Capacity to evaluate what’s impactful (and what’s not) to achieve ZWE’s goals.
- Purpose-driven approach with a focus on solution-oriented messages and approach.
- A strong commitment to Zero Waste Europe’s ethos, core values,and network structures:
Preferred skills and competencies
- A university degree in a relevant field (including - but not exclusive to - communications, journalism, marketing, environmental studies, sociology, European studies, international relations, …).
- Knowledge of, or interest in, environmental issues (in the field of resource & waste management, climate or environmental justice)
- Previous experience in member-centric or client-facing workplaces.
- Other languages, apart from English, are a plus.
- Some degree of previous experience with policy communications at the EU level or national level.
- (Audio)visual skills (video and/or audio editing, comfortable with leading on the development of audiovisual materials and liaison with necessary suppliers, etc.).
Equal Employment opportunity
We are committed to the principle of Equal Employment Opportunity for all employees, regardless of sex, marital status, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation and any other characteristics unrelated to the performance of the job.
We also realise that not all individuals have the same opportunities to engage in paid work or studies and are open to receiving applications from those who may not fulfil all the required skills but have the interest, passion, (cap)abilities and drive to fulfil the role. In this respect, we encourage people from a diverse intersection of backgrounds to apply.
Location, Compensation and Work Environment
This is a full-time position with an open-ended contract based out of our Brussels office, under a hybrid working setup with a split 50/50 working from home vs from the office. A valid working permit for Belgium is required.
We offer a competitive NGO salary (€3041-3792 gross)plus benefits, including lunch vouchers (8€/day); 13th month (year-end bonus); double holiday pay (Belgian standard); 20 vacation days plus 6 extra-legal holidays + 4 days between Christmas and New Year; Hospitalisation; Ambulatory and Dental Insurance (DKV); Travel insurance; home working and other allowances (€150.00-220.00 net/month); full coverage of public transport costs for commuting (minimum €49.00 net/month); and flexible working hours/times.
We take pride in our ability to support one another's work in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, and look forward to introducing the successful candidate to our welcoming and highly motivated team and network members.
Deadline to apply: 6 April 2023, at 23:59 CET.
Please send (all merged into a single PDF document):
- Your cover letter (maximum 1 page) telling us what you can bring to ZWE and your motivation for applying;
- Your CV in English with two references.
Your application must be sent through the appropriate form on the ZWE website (“Work With Us” page). Only the applications sent via this form will be taken into account. We can only guarantee that short-listed candidates will be contacted.
The position remains open until filled. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. We encourage potential candidates to submit their applications when ready, and not to wait until the final deadline. Our 2-round interview process will include:
- A first round of online screening interviews taking place before 14 April 2023.
- A 1-2 hr assignment for selected candidates after round 1, taking place during a selected time by the candidate before the second and final round of interviews.
A second and final interview round will take place on 10-12 May 2023 in the morning (either online or in-person for candidates already in Belgium).
this job offer is not open for applications