Skip to the content

11 June 2021

We’re hiring! Industry Sustainability Director

We’re hiring! Industry Sustainability Director
The Scotch Whisky Association is recruiting for a new Industry Sustainability Director to join the team.

Position: Industry Sustainability Director

Team:  Industry Sustainability, reporting to the Chief Executive

Location: The SWA is moving towards hybrid flexible working, and the successful candidate will need to be able to work at either the SWA’s Edinburgh headquarters or our London office, depending on where they wish to base themselves. The ability to travel regularly to Edinburgh or London, and occasionally overseas, will be required.

If you think you are right for the role described below, please contact Chloe Downes at Birchwood Knight on cdownes@birchwoodknight.com to register your interest.

The opportunity

Scotch Whisky is a much-loved and prestigious spirit drink with a global reputation.  The industry plays a significant role in the Scottish and British economies, and it is an important employer across Scotland and, through the supply chain, across the whole of the UK.  It combines the traditional and modern, the international and local.

The SWA is the trade association that supports the Scotch Whisky industry.  The industry’s vision, as set out in the SWA's 2018-2023 Strategy, is to be a dynamic industry in sustainable global growth and for Scotch to retain its place as the world’s leading high-quality spirit drink.  The SWA’s mission is to drive the best possible global business environment for Scotch.  

As a member of the SWA’s leadership team, the Industry Sustainability Director will lead the SWA’s work, on behalf of the Scotch Whisky industry, to advance the global sustainability of Scotch Whisky, including through the implementation of the SWA's environmental Sustainability Strategy, which has set a goal of achieving net-zero by 2040; by co-ordinating industry-wide efforts to support a strong and skilled workforce, including  building greater diversity in the industry; by working to promote a proactive health and safety culture; by working with the industry’s supply chain, for example, to develop new and more sustainable cereal varieties and an efficient supply of casks; by working with members, government and government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance, including on tax/customs issues; by developing new technologies and approaches improve competitiveness, preserve the environment and protect future production; and by helping to create the conditions for a rapid recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.

The successful candidate will be adept at providing strategic advice and delivering tactically. They will need to build key relationships within the SWA’s member companies, as well as with the UK and Scottish governments, regulators, allied trade bodies and other organisations, in order to effectively represent members' views and drive the SWA's agenda. There will also be some need to engage, particularly on environmental issues, at an EU level. This role requires someone to develop a thorough understanding of policy issues within the sector and the ability to effectively communicate to a broad range of stakeholders in order to achieve positive outcomes for the industry.

The Industry Sustainability Director will manage four industry experts to develop and implement the team’s priorities, while also playing a broader role across the organisation as part of the SWA’s leadership team.

The applicant

The ideal candidate must be able to demonstrate:

  • A strategic mindset, with experience of influencing at a government and senior political level, including ministers
  • Direct professional experience in government, international institutions or the private sector, in relation to strategy, communications and government relations. Experience of environmental sustainability/issues, taxation, and/or working with regulators would be an advantage
  • A high degree of professional credibility and ability to influence and communicate a point of view to senior external stakeholders up to Ministerial level, in Westminster and Holyrood
  • Demonstrable expertise in strategic analysis and interpretation of industry and members’ needs. Ability to work with a wide range of stakeholders and bring them to agreed positions. Ability to deal diplomatically with differences in view and work both at strategic and detailed levels
  • Insight and expertise on handling business critical relationships, including with government, the media and other interest groups
  • Proven experience of operating successfully at executive senior level with clear evidence of people management and team development

Equal Opportunities and Applications

The SWA is an equal opportunity employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy.