Work with us
Work with us

Current Vacancies - Chair and Treasurer

Are you passionate about taking action on climate change, biodiversity loss and social equity? 

Do you believe that it's possible to meet today's environmental, social and economic needs without compromising those of future generations

If you do, we would like to hear from you. We are seeking a new Chair for our board of Trustees with leadership and governance experience to lead our organisation in the next exciting phase of our development. We are also seeking a new Treasurer. 

Who we are

We’re a small, highly regarded UK think-tank and charity that promotes practical, sustainable solutions to improve environmental, economic and social wellbeing, primarily in the energy and water sectors

What we do

Sustainability First ( works towards real environmental and social change.


• undertake research

• initiate policy discussions

• make complex issues accessible to the public

• promote under-represented voices

• develop solutions to influence organisations in the sectors we operate in

The Chair opportunity

You will be joining Sustainability First at a critical time, when we are stepping up our ambition to drive change in the energy and water sectors. This opportunity comes at a time when we need to urgently transition to a more sustainable future. You will work collaboratively with our Executive Director in meeting our ambitions to scale up our work, drive change, and embed democratic participation and engagement into decision-making.

This role will include six primary responsibilities:

1 Ensure that Sustainability First has a clear strategic direction aimed at fulfilling its charity objectives and that the strategy is regularly reviewed.

2 Oversee the governance of the charity with:

a. An effective, diverse and relevant Board of Trustees.

b. Appropriate policies, processes and financial management so the Charity can operate within the law and by demonstrating good practice.

c. Regular and effective liaison, reporting and oversight of the Executive Director, Company Secretary and, as necessary, staff and panel of experts. This process should ensure effective and proportionate planning, use of resources, monitoring and reporting by the Board of Trustees.

3 Set the agenda for and chair board meetings to ensure engagement of, and discussion amongst Trustees based on the best possible information, input from the Executive Director and team, leading to clear and accountable decision-making.

4 Support and manage the Executive Director on behalf of the Board.

5 Ensure that the charity has an income generation plan, which is monitored and actively supported by Trustees and Chair, to achieve the Board’s stated objective to build resilience and capacity for Sustainability First and fulfil its charitable objects.

6 Represent the charity externally as required.

After many years of service to our charity, our current Chair is retiring. At a time of opportunity and challenge for our organisation, we’re looking for someone with a proven track record of leadership at board level, ideally in the UK charity sector. Your experience of running and growing a small but impactful organisation in a professional or voluntary capacity will be crucial to our work.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, you will draw on your experience of collegiate collaboration, positive decision-making and effective problem-solving to help ensure funding, organisational excellence, and ultimately environmental and social change.

Person specification for Chair:

The ideal candidate will have proven knowledge/ skills/ experience in the following areas:

  1. Governance and board experience (essential) in a chairing or leadership role (desirable)
  2. *Demonstrable leadership skills consistent with Sustainability First’s values and charitable purpose" (essential)
  3. *Ability to both manage and support the Board and Executive Director to help achieve the best outcomes" (essential)
  4. Support the vision and mission of the charity (essential) with experience, networks and profile in one or more of our areas of operation (desirable)
  5. *Sufficient time and energy to fulfil the role (essential)
  6.  A growth mindset* (essential) and income generation experience (desirable)
  7. *Experience of small organisations and their particular challenges in a professional or voluntary capacity (essential)
  8. Experience of working within the UK charity sector (desirable)

In addition to preparing for and chairing the Board, the Chair will be an ex officio member of all Board panels, will line manage the Executive Director and will represent the charity externally as requested.

The commitment is likely to average around two days per month. The appointment is for an initial three-year term with the option to renew.

In addition to the Chair, we have a vacancy for our Treasurer role

The Treasurer opportunity

After four years of service, our Treasurer has stepped down. We are seeking someone with experience in financial management, ideally in the UK charity sector. Your track record of working in or running a small organisation in a professional or voluntary capacity and your ability to analyse and summarise financial information to support board level decision-making, will be crucial as we look to develop our organisation and deliver our best work.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, you will also draw on your experience of collegiate collaboration, positive decision-making and effective problem solving to help us maintain a sustainable financial model. In addition to working with the Board, you will have the support of our Executive Director and Company Secretary, with whom you will work closely to monitor our financial performance.

On appointment, the Treasurer will become a Trustee and company member of Sustainability First.

As Treasurer, you would take the lead at board level on:

  1. Making sure Sustainability First keeps proper accounts.
  2. Reviewing Sustainability First’s financial performance.
  3. Reviewing policies for finance and investment.
  4. Ensuring that Sustainability First has robust and effective financial controls in place.
  5. Liaising with the Company Secretary and bookkeeper and with the charity’s independent examiner/auditor.

Specific tasks as Treasurer are likely to include:

  1. Liaise with the Company Secretary and bookkeeper to ensure the financial viability of the organisation.
  2. Make fellow Trustees aware of their financial obligations and take a lead in interpreting financial data to them.
  3. Regularly report the financial position at Trustee meetings.
  4. Oversee the production of an annual budget and propose its adoption at the last meeting of the previous financial year.
  5. Ensure proper records are kept and that effective financial procedures and controls are in place.
  6. Lead on appointing and liaising with auditors/the independent examiner.
  7. Chair the Finance Panel, and participate in ad-hoc board committees such as the Remuneration Panel as required.

Person Specification for Treasurer:

The ideal candidate will have proven knowledge/ skills/ experience in the following areas:

  1. Working knowledge of strategic and operational financial planning and management and reporting (essential)
  2. Knowledge of financial controls and reporting in UK (essential) and for charities (desirable)
  3. Experience of income generation (desirable)
  4. Governance and board experience (desirable)
  5. Sufficient time and energy to fulfil the role (essential)
  6. Experience of working in the UK Charity sector (desirable)
  7. Experience of working in, running or volunteering with a small organisation (essential)

The time commitment for this role is likely to average around one day a month.

The appointment is for an initial three-year term with the option to renew.

How to apply:

For more information and to apply for either the Chair or the Treasurer role, you can read our recruitment pack in full here.

Please send a cover letter explaining your reasons for applying, the skills and experience you would bring to this role, a copy of your CV plus a completed EDI Monitoring Form to our Company Secretary and Head of Finance, Claire Williams via

If you would like an informal conversation about either role, please contact our Executive Director, David Murray to arrange a time for a call (

Closing date: Sunday 13th May.

Interviews: May/June

Due to expected high levels of applications we will not be able to reply to all candidates. If you have not heard from us by 1st June please assume that you have not been shortlisted for interview.

We value and promote the importance of greater equity, diversity and inclusion in society. We believe that everyone has the right to live without fear or prejudice regardless of race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, social class, religion and belief. And we strive to see this diversity reflected in our staff, trustees, partners, and funders. We are proactively seeking talent from as broad and diverse networks as possible - please help us to share this opportunity amongst your own networks to support us.

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