Program Director

  • Verra
  • Washington, D.C., USA
  • Jul 10, 2020

Job Description

Verra is a global leader helping to tackle the world’s most intractable environmental and social challenges. As a mission-driven non-profit organization, Verra is committed to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods and protect natural resources across the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards, tools and programs that credibly, transparently and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits. We work in any arena where we see a need for clear standards, a role for market-based mechanisms, and an opportunity to generate significant environmental and social value.


Verra is looking for a Program Director to oversee the strategy, direction and evolution of Verra’s programs including the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, the Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ framework (JNR), the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards and the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).


A day with Verra’s collaborative Program Team might include...


  • Thinking through strategic market developments and international policy implications, such as the future of the voluntary carbon markets under the Paris Agreement, and, where appropriate, devising solutions to ensure Verra’s standards continue to play a role in helping to solve critical environmental and social problems.
  • Collaborating with key external stakeholders (e.g., project proponents, VVBs, other market participants) and internal staff (e.g., markets team) to track evolving policy and market dynamics, gather feedback on Verra standards, and develop ways to streamline and/or strengthen program requirements and procedures.
  • Facilitating linkages of the Verra Registry with national and international emission reduction/removal registries and other tracking systems like those in Colombia and South Africa, as well as emerging meta-registries.
  • Developing (and overseeing development of) new Verra products and services.
  • Identifying and implementing ways to ensure continuous improvement in VVB oversight and performance.
  • Mentoring and managing Verra program staff.


Specific functions you will be responsible for leading... 


  • Leading the evolution of Verra programs to ensure they evolve in a manner that guarantees the integrity and quality of all projects and credits and ensures they are strategically positioned to continue to play a leading role in driving climate action and sustainable development.
  • Collaborating with other Verra departments to ensure synchronization on key opportunities and challenges (e.g., engaging in cross-organizational discussions on communications, innovations and organizational strategy). 
  • Engaging with outside stakeholders, including other beneficiaries of Verra program services, corporates, NGOs and governments in order to build and maintain essential relationships, and inform program development and organizational strategy.
  • Supervising senior program staff
  • Ensuring the seamless transition of new Verra programs into the day-to-day operations of the program management team (e.g., SD VISta, Plastics Program).
  • Overseeing the advisory groups that Verra convenes to gather feedback to improve Verra programs.
  • Representing Verra at external meetings and events.


You bring with you...


  • Significant experience in Natural Climate Solutions (e.g., AFOLU, REDD+ or other nature-based solutions), preferably within the context of project development or auditing, carbon markets, or sustainable development, and with a detailed knowledge of GHG quantification methodologies, baselines, additionality, leakage, non-permanence, and monitoring.
  • 10+ years of relevant professional experience, preferably with experience working for a standards organization, carbon project developer and/or validation and verification body.
  • Demonstrated experience formulating and executing strategy. An ability to think creatively and in a solution-oriented manner is essential.
  • A relevant university degree, with a master’s degree preferred.
  • At least five years of work experience overseeing technical teams and demonstrated success in leading collaborative teams to produce significant outcomes.
  • An existing network of key organizations and individuals working on climate change action.
  • Good interpersonal skills; capable of maintaining a professional approach and demeanor in high-pressure situations, and able to provide support and levity for team members.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Fluency in English is essential. Fluency in other languages would be an advantage.


In this role, you will grow and expand your expertise by...


  • Leading the largest team in Verra, including developing and implementing strategy for our active programs
  • Working at the cutting edge of programs designed to drive finance towards high-impact activities that tackle some of the most pressing environmental issues of our day.
  • Leading Verra program strategy to ensure our standards maintain the highest levels of rigor, respond to market needs, and provide workable solutions that drive finance to climate action and sustainable development.
  • Expanding your network of professionals working on climate and sustainable development, including government officials, private sector actors, NGOs, and others.
  • Supporting the development of a team of professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience levels.


You will know you are successful, if...


  • Verra’s programs are recognized as providing the highest level of rigor, integrity and workability and have a growing impact on mitigating climate change and increasing sustainable development
  • Verra continues to be the leading standard-setting organization in respect of certifying climate change and sustainable development impacts from projects and programs.
  • The Verra Program Team remains motivated while continuously improving the usability and rigor of Verra programs.
  • Verra stakeholders consistently express positive feedback in respect of Verra’s management of its programs.


You will join a team...


  • From diverse locations and backgrounds, including carbon market experts, ex-government representatives, auditors, and more.
  • Committed to driving finance to projects and programs that advance climate action and sustainable development through high-quality standards and programs.
  • That embodies the values Verra has established for itself, and which include Teamwork, Results, Integrity, Balance and Exploration.


Compensation at Verra


To help us attract and retain top talent, Verra pays employees competitively to the market. In return, we expect each employee to, at a minimum:

  • Meet expectations in terms of work effort and performance;
  • Take the initiative to build the skills and knowledge needed to do their job effectively; and
  • Embody Verra’s values.


For this position, the salary range is USD $97,000 - $155,000, depending on experience.


We will recognize employees who go beyond expected performance with salary increases and/or promotions, but the bar for earning those rewards is high.

Salary is one component of Verra’s total compensation package which also includes:


  • Health, vision and dental care, and life insurance;
  • Verra contributions to each employee’s retirement plan;
  • Verra contributions as required by national labor laws in countries where staff are located;
  • Paid Time Off (PTO), sabbatical and other leave allowances; and
  • Funds to support professional development.



Verra provides equal opportunity for all job applicants and employees and is committed to providing a work environment free of discrimination. We conduct our recruitment and hiring without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetics, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, and local law.


Organization Type


Organization Size



Funding, Advocacy & Activism