Board Member Chair
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning network that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and force the solutions essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace’s goal is to ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity.
Therefore, Greenpeace seeks to: protect biodiversity in all its forms, prevent pollution and abuse of the Earth’s ocean, land, air, and freshwater, end all nuclear threats, and promote peace, global disarmament, and non-violence globally.
Seeking a green and peaceful world, Greenpeace offers people worldwide a clear and positive vision of the future of our planet while implementing people-centred and innovative campaigns across all regions. Greenpeace sets goals for the environmental boundaries that need to be respected based on the best science available. It cannot be crossed while tackling the mindsets and power dynamics currently contributing to the global climate crisis.
About Greenpeace International
Greenpeace International (GPI) provides coordination and support within the Greenpeace network. Greenpeace International is legally based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and about 50% of its staff is dispersed – i.e., employed through the national/regional Greenpeace organisations worldwide.
About the Role
The Chair of the GPI Board is responsible for the effective leadership of the Board of Directors in its supervisory role. This position provides oversight to Greenpeace International and supervises the International Executive Director(s) on behalf of the Board. It takes the leadership in inputting and deciding on high-level strategy and policy and ensuring that the Council and Board decisions are carried out.
Term of Office
Greenpeace governance rules establish that the Board Chair is an elected member of the GPI Board, chosen by their peers. The Council of Trustees must first select candidates identified as potential chairs through a contested election. Their term is for three years. Once elected, the Board may proceed to confirm them for the position of Board Chair.
The Chair position will become vacant on or before March 2023, when the second term of the incumbent expires. A mentoring period is intended, as soon as possible, between the candidate’s selection and the position’s assumption if the candidate is selected as the Board Chair.
The Board Chair is expected to be able to spend roughly 50 working days (of 8 hours) per year on GPI business. Timing varies considerably throughout the year. There is room in this role for a fixed compensation per day, for a maximum of 104 days annually. The workload is heaviest in the weeks leading up to Board meetings, the International Executive Director (IED) Evaluation, and Council of Trustees of Greenpeace International meetings, especially the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Time requirements could also vary based on internal developments and processes and the geographical location of the Chair, affecting travel time. Particular circumstances, such as an unforeseen internal crisis, can add considerably to the time required for the job. On rare occasions, the Chair may also find it necessary to visit the offices of the independent National and Regional Greenpeace organisations and thus allocate additional time to travel.
A regular Board member is expected to be able to spend roughly 40 working days per year on GPI business.
Under GPI’s governance rules, Board members and the Chair can request a maximum amount of compensation for time spent fulfilling their responsibilities (such as their fiduciary, strategic, and policy-setting activities and supervisory duties). The level of compensation is in line with the guidelines provided by the Dutch tax authorities.
The Governance Coordinator, based in Amsterdam, prepares Board papers, drafts minutes, and keeps track of Board and AGM decisions. No dedicated office is provided to the Chair, and considerable self-sufficiency is required to keep abreast of emails and other documents, finalise agendas and minutes, monitor the governance budget, and provide regular written reports to the Board and the organisation.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Provide leadership for the Board’s work, ensuring its effective functioning and full participation of its members;
- Set the agenda for the meetings based upon the advice of the International Executive Director(s) (IED) and the Board;
- Ensure key strategic issues are discussed and decided by the Board. Preside at all Board meetings;
- Set the agenda for and organise Council meetings based upon the advice of the Trustees, IED(s), and the Board. Ensure effective facilitation of the Council meetings;
- Supervise and monitor the work of the IED(s) on behalf of the Board, providing support and advice as required. Be the contact between the Board and IED(s), providing reports to the Board between meetings on the work of the IED(s);
- Ensure that Board decisions and decisions of the Council are executed by the IED(s);
- Lead the hiring and evaluation process of the IED(s) and employment terms and conditions negotiation;
- Act as a spokesperson for the organisation at the request of the IED(s);
- Work closely with the Board Search Committee of the Council to define the needs of the Board and help identify future Board members;
- Fulfil the Chair’s role, including executing legal documents as required under Dutch law.
Skills and Experience
- Positive and strong governance experience in a complex multi-cultural global network of organisations; positive and strong executive leadership in a complex multi-cultural setting;
- Excellent communication, listening, problem-solving, conflict mediation, and negotiations skills;
- The ability to ask critical questions and constructively offer guidance about appropriate processes that lead to timely decision-making;
- Commitment to environmental and social action;
- Principles and integrity in alignment with Greenpeace’s values;
- A commitment to the organisation and the Board;
- A team player (able to work in a consensus decision-making environment);
- Fluency in written and spoken English;
- Basic computer skills; and access to internet connectivity.
Candidates must be:
- Highly ethical, leading in a manner that engenders respect and collegiality;
- Naturally innovative with knowledge of global political, economic, environmental, and social trends and the willingness to listen to new ideas and approaches;
- An engaged, compassionate leader with an approachable style that connects with board members, staff, strategic partners, and other stakeholders;
- People-oriented approach, comfortable with visibility in large public settings and projecting a positive, welcoming demeanour.