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Head of Policy (full-time)

Location: Belgium based, hybrid between home and our Brussels office

Duration: 12-month contract, with option to extend, depending on funding

Start date: as soon as possible

About us

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 33 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 (going forward) 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 achieve 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.

About you

You are impact and values driven, able to see the big picture whilst taking care of the details. You have long experience in EU policy-making processes and are a good networker. You are a team player who can also play solo and have experience in coordinating and motivating teams. You thrive when 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

Due to the continuous growth of ZWE and the diversification of our policy portfolio, a new Head of Policy position has been created to bring our policy efforts together. 

You will be responsible for coordinating the policy team of ZWE and representing the organisation in policy discussions. You will be accountable for ensuring strategic coherence and vision for the EU policy work of the organisation and support a team of 5+ people working on topics ranging from product design to waste disposal. You will look beyond European policies, liaising with the GAIA Global Team and engaging in processes such as the Global Plastic Treaty negotiations. 

The core responsibilities of the Head of Policy will be to:

  • Coordinate the work of the ZWE Policy Team, ensuring impactful delivery of our plans and smooth collaboration between the Policy Team and other teams.
  • Represent – when relevant and in collaboration with the Management Team and the Policy Team – the organisation as a spokesperson at public events, in key EU policy negotiations, and to the media.
  • Line management duties.
  • Contribute to, and evaluate progress towards, ZWE strategic policy outcomes and develop activities in response to the external environment and in partnership with the team and members.
  • Provide the Policy Team with strategic advice and lead on advocacy strategies, including by coordinating, designing, and executing policy strategies and work plans in line with ZWE Strategic Framework.
  • Oversee the production of all policy documents, such as briefings, position papers, and letters.
  • Develop and strengthen relationships with civil society partners, EU institutions, government and institutional officials, academics, and industry representatives working on related issues.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with ZWE members on relevant legislative processes in the EU, including supervising working groups, developing policy positions, and developing campaign messages.
  • Coordinate ZWE’s contribution to the Global Plastic Treaty negotiations.
  • Help with fundraising activities and reporting efforts.

Required skills and competencies

  • 5+ years of experience in EU policy-making.
  • Demonstrated and successful experience of management.
  • Experience in leading advocacy efforts and creating networks of influence.
  • Experienced in interacting with high-level EU and national policymakers and industry professionals,
  • Proficiency in English.
  • Excellent communication and writing skills.

Preferred skills and competencies

  • A university degree in social or political science, environmental governance, or advanced technical qualifications relevant to resource management and/or circular economy.
  • Knowledge of environmental issues in the field of resource & waste management, climate, or environmental justice.
  • Other languages, apart from English, are a plus.
  • Solid IT competences with collaborative tools (Google Drive, Slack, Trello).
  • Experience in working in coalition settings.
  • Experience in project management.
  • Experience in working with people from different cultures and nationalities in a way that facilitates conflict prevention and values community wisdom.

Personal qualities

  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal abilities.
  • Initiative, self-motivation, and team player.
  • Problem-solving attitude and results-oriented.
  • Commitment to accuracy, efficiency, and a high standard of work.
  • Ability and willingness to use initiative and take decisions under pressure and uncertainty.
  • A strong commitment to Zero Waste Europe’s ethos and network structures.
  • Willingness to work with a flexible schedule, as required.

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 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. The initial contract will be closed for a 12-month period, with a likelihood to be extended into a long term contract depending on available funding. 

We offer a competitive NGO salary (€3,572.00-4,092.00 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: 12 June 2022, at 23:59 CET.

To apply:

Please send your CV and motivation letter in English with two references (all merged into a single PDF document) 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. 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 an assignment lasting 1-2 hours for selected candidates after round 1. We intend to finalise the entire interview process by mid-July. 

this job offer is not open for applications

The Company

Zero Waste Europe

Non for Profit (NGOs, Political Parties, etc.)


About The Job

Brussels , Belgium
Contract type:
Full Time
5-10 Years
Average 4092 EUR
General management
Start Date:
Starts 01 JUL 2022

this job offer is not open for applications