Overview of the role
We’re looking for an ambitious Sustainability Communications Director who is able to leverage their expertise to develop our sustainability communications business and grow new revenues in the area from blue chip clients. This is a rare opportunity to play a leading part in extending our stakeholder communications proposition and helping fulfil our purpose, ensuring companies are more trusted and valued in the eyes of their Stakeholders.
Reporting into the Chief Insight and Engagement Officer and Board Member, the role will entail you collaborating closely with the Sustainability Communications Director and the rest of Insight and Knowledge & Innovation Teams to enhance our reputation for sustainability thought leadership within the Industry; lead the development and oversee the delivery of high quality sustainability communications solutions through our Stakeholder Communications teams; leverage your knowledge and expertise to provide strategic advice to clients about how to solve their sustainability communications challenges, build a network of strategic and tactical partners who may be required support us in the delivery of our sustainability solutions; share best practice knowledge with colleagues and clients and where necessary support business development and marketing activities through speaking at Black Sun events, providing thought leadership pieces and engaging in new business pitches.
The role will require you to have an excellent understanding of the latest Sustainability and ESG issues and opportunities that companies face today. You will also possess a strong level of knowledge around the main disclosure frameworks to report on sustainability performance. You will hold experience in leading the development of large sustainability communications or reporting programmes for blue–chip organisations, including materiality assessments.
The measures of success will include the successful development and support of our sustainability communications offer to both existing and prospective clients, the enhancement of our reputation as leaders in the field and new revenue growth from sustainability communications.
The role is well suited to a passionate, motivated and experienced senior communications professional with a strong intellectual aptitude and strategic capabilities. An excellent level of writing is required with a strong vocabulary and impeccable grammar. Ideally, you will have previous experience in delivering sustainability communications campaigns on client or agency side. You will have excellent interpersonal and presentational skills, be able to inspire people to deliver great work and have a collaborative approach to working with both clients and internal teams. High quality standards and a strong commercial acumen is a must, as well as the desire to want to make a material contribution to successfully growing our business.
Developing our offer
- Leveraging your knowledge and expertise
- Develop an industry leading sustainability communications proposition and identifying the solutions and services that we can take to market
- You will need to be well-versed in all aspects of our broader proposition and provide advice on how the sustainable agenda is shaping, and how companies engage and communicate with their stakeholders
- You’ll need to continually remain up to date with any new regulations or codes as well as latest best practice trends in sustainability reporting and communications and when appropriate evolve our offer as well as share your knowledge internally and with our clients
- Drawing on your market knowledge and experience, you will identify and forge close relationships with potential complimentary partners, who, if required, we can collaborate with to deliver sustainability communications solutions
Building our reputation and taking our offer to market
- You will work closely with our Sustainability Communications Director and rest of the Insight team to develop a plan to build sustainability communications revenues from clients and reinforce our offer to market
- Where appropriate, you will lead the development of high-quality proposals and pitches, working with consultants, client managers, creatives and digital colleagues to win new business and grow existing accounts.
- You’ll consult with clients at Director level and through the client team, providing insight and solutions, understanding their issues and challenges, expanding their thoughts, and sharing knowledge of best practice/legal requirements
- You will help build Black Sun’s reputation through speaking at industry events, writing blogs on thought leadership pieces and engaging in other relevant internal or external marketing activities
Ensuring the successful delivery of great work
- You’ll lead the strategic development of all our sustainability communications work, which could include any or all of these elements:
- Leading the briefing process with key stakeholders, you will understand their needs and define our strategic response, setting goals, deadlines and agreeing on the desired outcomes
- You’ll interpret the thinking on sustainability strategy work from start to finish, providing insights and recommendations and be able to help clients in developing their own sustainability strategy
- You’ll oversee the materiality approach if required, including materiality assessments and stakeholder engagement.
- You’ll advise clients on the most appropriate reporting standards, frameworks and guidelines to ensure alignment throughout the process
- Working closely with the teams to develop the sustainability communications proposals, including themes, creative direction and “selling in” of the final proposal to the client
- Defining the content strategy across multiple reporting communication platforms in line with audience requirements
- Overseeing the successful gathering of content, facilitating interviews, engaging with copywriters and critically reviewing and developing content where required
- Quality assuring all key outputs, assessing them against the original brief and client needs. Coaching the teams and directly taking measures to ensure we deliver a great quality service and provide value to clients
Building our knowledge base and shaping our sustainability performance
- Learning and development is a core part of Black Sun’s EVP. Therefore, an important part of your role will be to support the learning and development team and Black Sun’s “Full Circle” training activities, by sharing your knowledge of best practice in sustainability communications
- Work with the Group CEO and leadership team to develop our own sustainability policy and proactively help embed it into our daily lives across the business
- You’re an entrepreneurial senior sustainability communications professional with demonstrable experience in corporate sustainability issues
- You’ve worked with blue chip clients across multiple sectors and geographies, at various stages of their sustainability journey and have built a reputation with reputable contacts and connections
- You’re passionate about campaigning multi-channel communications strategy, and have experience in advising and developing clients’ sustainability strategies and broader communications
- You’ll bring a perfect blend of experience with stakeholder engagement, technical expertise and communications flair, allowing you to understand and translate complex information and data into compelling communications
- You understand the relevant sustainability and reporting standards and frameworks, including GRI, IIRC <IR> Framework, TCFD, the SDGs and UNGC. You’re also familiar with broader initiatives, including CDP, DJSI and UNGP
- An expert facilitator, you’re comfortable running workshops, interviews and brainstorms with senior clients as well as with internal teams
- You’ve experience in assessing, analysing sustainability strategies and communications to provide insight as well as materiality assessments and the identification of key issues.
- Commercially astute, you’re adept at identifying and implementing commercial actions that aid the maintenance and growth of Black Sun. You remain on top of forecasts and you’re easily able to identify and implement what’s required to meet targets
- An inspiring leader and effortless team player, you motivate colleagues and foster an engaged culture. As a result, people feel valued and that their careers are progressing in the right direction
Your personal qualities:
- Strong interpersonal and communications skills are necessary to build trust and respect both externally and internally;
- High-quality service ethic and committed to customer service excellence;
- Ambition to self-improve;
- Ability to manage many urgent and often conflicting priorities;
- Strong ‘can do’ attitude with an innate ability to take initiative and work by yourself as well as in a team;
- Flexibility and team focused, non-hierarchical approach with a ‘roll up your sleeves’ attitude to getting the job done;
- A great sense of humour and fun!
In addition to a competitive salary based on skills and experience, as an employee at Black Sun, you will have access to a range of great benefits and perks, including:
Upon joining, you’ll be eligible for 25 days’ holiday per year (pro-rated if you join mid-year). Two additional discretionary ‘bonus’ days are awarded for long service at Black Sun, up to a maximum of 27 days’ holiday.
We are thrilled to be able to offer our employees the option to work in a hybrid way. After a period of onboarding, employees have the ability to work from home, office and where applicable on site with clients. The amount of days are dependant on teams, role, time of year and deliverables.
We operate an annual bonus scheme for all our employees to enable everyone to share in our success when the company achieves its financial targets.
Personal Development Plans
We believe that the more successful we are in developing our people, the more rewarding and successful our business will become. As an employee at Black Sun, you’ll have access to an extensive suite of training through our ‘Full Circle Talent Development Programme’ to help you develop the skills to progress your career and be successful in your role.
Group Life Assurance
On joining Black Sun you will be insured under our Group Life Assurance Scheme.
Group Personal Pension Plan
After three months’ at Black Sun, you will be enrolled on the Company’s group personal pension scheme. The Company will contribute 3% of salary to the pension scheme and you will need to contribute a minimum of 5%.
Employee Assistance Programme
You and your family will have access to a confidential 24/7 helpline, providing you with a range of services including bereavement counselling, financial/debt management, family and childcare advice.
Black Sun operates a Payroll Giving scheme which enables you to donate through your payroll to any charity or voluntary organisation within the UK. The donation is made from your gross pay, enabling the charity to benefit from Gift Aid.
And whilst we love our jobs, we also like to have some fun along the way. We have a continuous social programme throughout the year, either virtually or in person! But don’t take our word for it, come and see for yourself!