Senior Manager: Food Systems

(Based in Cape Town or Johannesburg)

WWF is the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisation, with over 6 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. WWF South Africa is a national office that is part of the WWF network. We are a local NGO that has worked for 50 years with the aim of inspiring all South Africans to live in harmony with nature, for the benefit of our country and the wellbeing of all our people. WWFs work is for nature, for you. Our work is challenging and exciting and we love what we do. To join our team, you need to be brilliant at what you do, passionate, results-orientated and have a positive attitude. Background: WWF is looking for a dynamic leader to drive engagement in the food and sustainable agriculture sector to deliver WWF's intended conservation impact. The Food Systems team will be responsible for designing, leading and or forming part of teams who work in pursuit of WWF South Africa's environmental outcomes. The Food Systems team is composed of highly competent and dynamic individuals working across multiple themes, value chain building, Producer support, certification standards & stepwise improvement mechanisms, sustainable market access, nutrition, climate & water smart practices, producer incentives, urban & informal markets, food waste, Agroecology & farming with biodiversity. The successful candidate needs to be able to build productive and lasting partnerships, lead a diverse and dispersed team and co-develop innovative approaches at the interface of food, agriculture, and small holder farmers. The Senior Manager Food Systems will function within the organization's broader Environmental Programme and will report to the Programme Impact Lead and Programme Delivery Lead. The position will predominantly be based either at the WWF South Africa office in Newlands Cape Town or Braamfontein Johannesburg.


  • Provide thematic leadership to WWF South Africa's work on Food Systems, which includes the areas of sustainable agriculture and small-holder farmer support initiatives.
  • In addition to understanding contemporary global developments and impact of Food and Agricultural production on natural systems, provide expertise on regenerative production and consumption practices related to food systems, including emphasis on smallholder farming practices.
  • Work with multidisciplinary teams and provide strategic and technical content for policies work related to related thematic portfolios including freshwater, wildlife, climate & energy, biodiversity stewardship & land, and urban systems.
  • Work with the Strategic Communications team to develop internal and external communication material regarding relevant support for the Food Systems work in order to meet project goals, broaden and engage constituencies.
  • Participate in WWF Corporate partnership, Business Network and other corporate relations management processes that are linked to the thematic portfolio.
  • Work with partners to build regenerative value chains including a developmental approach to market access while observing both Environmental and Social safeguards according to set guidelines.
  • Build sustainable funding streams to support implementation of the plan of work on Food Systems.
  • Assist with relevant and appropriate staff recruitment, development, and mentorship of associated staff and, where relevant, partners linked to the Food Systems theme.
  • Oversee an effective project cycle management process and manage reporting and alignment processes for related projects
  • Ensure alignment with the WWF 2025 Strategy
  • Implement Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning approaches to support and enhance WWF-SA strategic impact
  • Serve as WWF-SA's spokesperson in engagement with media on matters of Food, Agriculture and Smallholder farmers.
  • Perform further duties as necessary to achieve key outcomes of WWF Strategy for Food, Agriculture and Smallholder support projects.


  • At least a master's level qualification in Food and/or Agriculture related discipline
  • At least 10 years' experience in the area of environmental issues associated with the Food and Agricultural sectors
  • A practical appreciation for South Africa's Food &Agricultural context and the spectrum of nature positive, regenerative practices (standards and their derivatives) in production and consumption.
  • A demonstrated ability to network and build strong partnerships.
  • In addition to a balanced understanding of land tenure in South Africa's context, an experience of building sustainable value chains in fishing and/or farming.
  • Ability to positively engage stakeholders (in government, business and society) to act on the challenges that we face together in the Food, Agriculture (including water) sector.
  • An integrated understanding of Food and Agriculture policy landscape, with high level strategic relationships in government.
  • A highly versatile and adaptable food and agricultural sector professional who can grasp and communicate concepts quickly and well.
  • A clear understanding of the contemporary political economic imperatives to South Africa's environmental challenges.
  • Exceptional leadership skills, including the ability to contribute to teams lead by others and a willingness to innovate and drive interdisciplinary approaches.
  • A good understanding of the broad range of projects undertaken by WWF and knowledge of the relevant institutional landscape in South Africa.
  • Experience with budget planning, project monitoring and evaluation, and reporting to donors.
  • Experience with development of funding proposals.
  • Demonstrated writing, media communication and presentation skills.
  • An ability to convey complex environmental issues in a powerful way to diverse audiences.
  • A strong command of English as a working language is essential and ability to speak another of South Africa's official languages, particularly relating to small producers will be an advantage.

Further information:

To apply please click here fill out the application form, and provide a detailed CV and cover letter (attach under "Documents") fully motivating the relevant skills, experience and creativity that you can bring, together with the names, current e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of three relevant references.

Furthermore, your cover letter should highlight the following:

  • Your proven strategic abilities as it relates to the food sector, and beyond.
  • Your experience and partnerships developed across multiple sectors - business, finance
  • and government at a senior level.
  • Your leadership of people at a senior level across multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams.

Applications sent via email will not guarantee consideration.

WWF seeks to promote diversity among its staff. Candidates who have not received a response within three weeks of the closing date are kindly requested to assume that their application has not been successful in this instance. WWF-SA reserves the right not to fill this position.

posted: 16 May 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.