Apply for role of Board member at Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth is looking to appoint 2 new Board members with a focus on governance expertise and representation from Wales. Read about the role and apply now.
  Published:  10 Nov 2023    |      5 minute read

Job details

Volunteer status: no salary, reasonable travel and childcare expenses for all meetings are covered

Duration: initial 3-year term with the expectation of a second 3-year term

Time commitment: approximately 1.5 days per month

Location of meetings: flexible – usually 3 meetings are held in London and 2 outside London, with the option to join remotely

Closing date: 7 December 2023

Interview date: 14 and 15 December 2023 (TBC)

As we strive to tackle the ecological and climate emergency and further environmental justice, we're seeking to appoint 2 Board members to join the Friends of the Earth Board.

About Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth stands with anyone who cares about the world we live in and who seeks a just transformation to a net zero carbon future. Over the past 52 years, Friends of the Earth has led many powerful campaigns that have resulted in substantive change protecting the environment. In the UK, we successfully campaigned for the world’s first climate change law, the Climate Change Act 2008, which paved the way for similar legislation around the world. Our combined strength has meant we've been able to push back against drilling for fossil fuels, and most recently we’ve successfully taken the government to court over its Net Zero Strategy.

We're at an exciting new time for Friends of the Earth. Our strategy puts justice at the centre. It recognises that there's only one path ahead and that's a transformation of our society and regeneration of our natural environment. This must be done with those who are most at risk – either from current and future impacts of climate change or from not being able to participate in and benefit from the transformation – at the heart of what we do.

In the last few years, we've seen a growing demand for action on the climate and ecological crisis and we now work in partnership with over 200 local action groups around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As part of an international federation of grassroots environmental groups, we can join a global perspective with campaigning, planning and legal expertise to leverage change from local to national to global. We know this is how meaningful change happens.

About the role

Joining the Friends of the Earth Board is a great opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to action on the climate and ecological crisis.

The Board is responsible for the governance of Friends of the Earth Limited, which has jurisdiction over Friends of the Earth’s campaigning and activism in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Sharing responsibility with other Board members and under the direction of the Chair, this role will contribute to our campaigning and organisational strategy and guide the organisation in making a long-term impact.

We pride ourselves on a positive, collegiate working culture and on constructively providing support and challenge to our Senior Leadership Team.

In 2023 we were awarded Conservation and Environment Board of the Year at the Board Awards for our impact on diversity and inclusion within environmental conservation. We aim to build on this achievement, including through this current recruitment.

Find more information about current Board members.

Main responsibilities

This governance role involves the following key areas:

  • Supporting and guiding the mission and values of Friends of the Earth.
  • Providing strategic direction for our campaigns, community activism and the organisation.
  • Oversight of: our people and safeguarding; fundraising; business planning, budgeting and financial management, and compliance.
  • Fulfilling legal responsibilities as a director under company law.
  • Assessing risks and overseeing mitigating actions.
  • Supporting and constructively challenging our Senior Leadership Team.

Key skills and attributes required

All candidates should demonstrate a commitment to the mission and values of Friends of the Earth and their ability to fulfil the responsibilities outlined above.

Owing to the recent departure of 2 Board members who reached their term limits, we're specifically looking for candidates matching the following criteria:

  • Significant governance experience in a non-executive role (with legal background a bonus).
  • Candidates from Wales, or with a strong knowledge and understanding of climate and environmental issues in Wales, to ensure representation on our Board of all our constituent nations.

Additional desirable experience includes some or all of the following:

  • Financial experience, in particular oversight/management and risk.
  • Experience of fundraising or income generation.
  • Campaigning and activism experience.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the climate and ecological emergency and environmental justice.
  • Community/ network organising experience and/ or membership of a Friends of the Earth local action group.
  • Communications experience, including media, social media and marketing.
  • Lived experience of the impacts of the climate and ecological crisis.

Please note we'll also be running recruitment for a youth member to join our Board in the coming months. Details of this will be available on our website.

Time commitment

In addition to 4 quarterly Board meetings per year, there's an additional Board meeting held during the annual away days. Meetings usually take place during the working day on a Thursday, with at least one held outside of London and the option to join remotely (where required). The annual away days are usually 2 days outside London, together with the Senior Leadership Team and other senior members of staff.

In addition to attending meetings, you'll need to make time to:

  • Read papers prior to each Board meeting and prepare comments and feedback.
  • Liaise with the Chair, other Board members and staff between meetings.
  • Lead discussions on particular issues from time to time, including becoming involved in particular projects depending on your specialist skills.
  • Attend Fiends of the Earth supporter events and support fundraising initiatives as relevant.

We estimate that the total time commitment is approximately 1.5 days per month, although this isn't evenly distributed across the year and will be greater for Board members taking on an officer role (eg Vice Chair or Chair of Finance Committee). We acknowledge this is a significant time commitment and are committed to providing flexibility and support to candidates who require this to meet the demands of the role.

Board members are encouraged to join or participate in the activities of their local action group in order to maintain connections with our grassroots movement. Board members are also ambassadors for Friends of the Earth and are invited to our events. Being a member of the Friends of the Earth Board is a highly rewarding experience and you'll play a vitally important and challenging role across the governance of the organisation.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The principal office of Friends of the Earth is at The Printworks in Stockwell, London, and our other offices are in Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Brighton.

Our structure

Friends of the Earth comprises 2 separate legal entities operating under a regulated dual structure arrangement. Friends of the Earth Limited (FOEL), a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, undertakes all campaigning and activism and is responsible for people, finance and operations. Friends of the Earth Charitable Trust (FOECT), a registered charity, raises charitable funds and provides grants to organisations for charitable activities that further its objectives, including Friends of the Earth Limited. FOEL is governed by a Board and FOECT is governed by independent Trustees with the Co-Executive Directors reporting to both.

The advertised role is for Board members of Friends of the Earth Limited.

Diversity and equal opportunities

Friends of the Earth is committed to equal opportunities, and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons. We're keen to encourage applications from people currently underrepresented in the environment movement and on our Board, including people of colour, disabled people, young people and LGBTQIA+ people. We're committed to the Disability Confident standard and will guarantee an interview to any candidates who declare a disability and who meet the essential criteria for the role.

How to apply

To apply for the role of Board member of Friends of the Earth Limited, please email your CV (maximum 2 pages of A4) together with a supporting statement (maximum 1 page of A4) to: [email protected]

Please ensure that you've included mobile, work and home telephone numbers, as well as any dates when you won't be available or might have difficulty with the recruitment timetable.

We believe passionately that a truly inclusive workplace leads to increased social impact. To understand how we're performing, we ask that you kindly complete a brief equal opportunities questionnaire. This'll be emailed to you on receipt of your application.

Please be assured that your responses are kept confidential, separate from your candidate record, aren't part of any application you make, and that the panel never sees individual responses to the questionnaire.

Please also include any reasonable adjustments that you may require to participate in the interview process.

Recruitment timetable

Deadline for applications: 7 December 2023

Interviews: 14 and 15 December 2023 (TBC)

Appointment: before end of 2023