Location London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Job-type Permanent
Salary £Competitive
Reference BBBH13701_1623757226

Acre is delighted to be partnering with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to appoint the organisation's Head of Sustainability. This is a high profile opportunity to work with the biggest UK retailers and drive the industry's CSR agenda. As well as delivering the BRC's ground-breaking climate action roadmap and progressive ethical labour agenda, the Head of Sustainability will drive the move towards a circular economy to make a real difference in global supply chains.

About the BRC

The BRC is the leading trade association for the retail sector in the UK, representing over 80% of sales on the high street and online. The BRC is the authoritative voice of retail, recognised for its powerful campaigning and influence within Government and as a provider of valuable retail information. The BRC works on behalf of its members to demonstrate the progressive role it plays delivering for consumers, contributing to the UK economy, and taking leadership in global supply chains to improve the conditions of workers and protect the environment.

The BRC's mission is to make a positive difference by advancing vibrant and consumer focused retail and to enhance global supply chain safety. The organisation aims to achieve this by standing for what is important to the industry and working in partnerships to shape debates and influence outcomes. Key to delivering this is our Climate Action Roadmap for which the Head of Sustainability will take full responsibility.


To demonstrate the positive role that BRC members play in sourcing responsibly, contributing to improvements in the environment and the conditions of workers in global supply chains. Key to this will be the effective delivery of the BRC's Climate Action Roadmap, the retail industry's commitment to reach net zero by 2040. The Head of Sustainability will, where appropriate, build common positions on responsible sourcing and promote the positive role that members are playing with stakeholders and Government. This will include representing member views with the media and wider stakeholder base.


Reporting to the Director of Food and Sustainability Policy, key duties and responsibilities include:

Campaigns and Policy

  • Manage and deliver the Climate Action Roadmap,

  • Manage the retail CSR Community, which brings together all members to identify current issues in sustainability and ethical policy and shape appropriate outcomes

  • Help deliver a truly circular economy in the UK, including working with Governments in the UK to deliver effective waste and resources strategies

  • Develop and deliver forward-looking strategies and campaigns, working closely with members, to demonstrate UK retailers' commitment to and represent their interests on issues relating to:

    • Responsible sourcing of materials including palm oil, soy, timber, fish, wool, and cotton

    • Communication with consumers on sustainable and ethical claims

    • Ethical labour both in the UK and in overseas supply chains

  • Liaise across the Food & Sustainability Policy team and with senior colleagues to ensure that these policies are co-ordinated with all aspects of the BRC's policy and political work on business environment, driving down business costs and delivering corporate responsibility.


  • Ensure effective and relevant communications with the CSR Community

  • Make presentations to industry and stakeholder conferences and meetings, and to the media to advance the BRC's policy objectives.

  • Represent the BRC in the media as required to promote members' positions.

  • Prepare responses, alongside members, to UK Government consultations

Stakeholder relations

  • Manage existing and develop new effective working relations with key stakeholders within central government so that the BRC is seen as a trusted partner

  • Identify key influencers in other business bodies and non-governmental organisations to build alliances designed to deliver pragmatic and evidence-based measures to support our key lobbying positions


  • An enthusiastic, self-starter with the initiative to get to grips with BRC members' businesses and operations, and relate this to the development of appropriate opportunities for raising both the retail industry and the BRC's profile in pursuit of its goals

  • Management skills, to lead the Sustainability Policy Adviser

  • Excellent project management skills to deliver our complex change programme, the Climate Action Roadmap

  • Demonstrable knowledge of current supply chain controls, including standards for sourcing and ethical labour auditing

  • Credibility to work alongside senior management and to build strong relationships with the BRC's external stakeholders, including government officials, business organisations and NGOs

  • A trusted and pro-active team player, supporting team colleagues in driving a culture of continuous improvement


The BRC has chosen to partner with Acre, who will be managing this search. If you are interested in applying for the role, or would like to know more, please contact Tom Townsend on tom.townsend@acre.com.

Diversity drives innovation and accelerates businesses and enterprises towards their missions. As such, both the BRC and Acre are wholly committed to fostering a more inclusive, sustainable future for generations to come. It is important to us that we offer equal opportunities in the recruitment processes that we run. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, age, marital status or whether or not they have a disability. If you require additional equipment, resources or support in order to participate in the job application or interview process, please let us know by contacting the named consultant managing this search and we will work with you to ensure that your accessibility needs are met.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Wednesday 30th June 2021 - We will be progressing with interviews with suitable candidates ahead of this closing date.


The organisation's values represent the spirit and ethos of the business. They drive actions and behaviours and encompass how the organisation goes about engagement with each other:

WELCOMING - We are open, approachable, respectful and responsive.

COLLABORATIVE - We communicate openly and work together effectively with members and colleagues.

PASSIONATE - We are proud to represent the retail industry and consistently strive to improve.

VISIONARY - We look forward, adapt, and continually seek new opportunities and ideas.

TRUSTED - We constantly deliver value to our industry and make things happen in the right way.