Department: Standards and Science

Responsible to: Head of Standards Team

Salary and benefits: Commensurate with experience

Contract: Full time – ASC supports flexible working arrangements (terms to be agreed)

Location: Preferably Netherlands, but flexible and open to applications from other (Western) European locations

About ASC

ASC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established in 2010 to set and operate global standards for responsible aquaculture. Certified farmed products are promoted to consumers through the use of its logo.

The aquaculture industry is growing strongly and is already supplying more than half of all seafood consumed worldwide, but this growing demand increases the environmental and social footprint associated with this expansion. The ASC certification and labelling programme incentivises improved farming practices by promoting the benefits of responsibly farmed seafood and encourages an industry towards achieving environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

We work with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public globally to promote the best environmental and social choice in farmed seafood. For more information go to www.asc-aqua.org.

The ASC is a growing organisation. We have around 90 people working from various countries and timezones, including the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil and the US. There are five functional Departments covering: Standards and Science, Programme Assurance, Market development, Marketing and Communication, Administration/Governance. We operate an office in Utrecht (NL) and in London (UK) for staff based in these countries.

The Standards and Science (SaS) Department is made up of three Teams: 1) Standards Team, 2) Research Team and 3) Impacts Team. Collectively, these teams cover work streams that deal with standard development and implementation, conducting research and assimilating data to serve multiple purposes both within and external to the organisation. The Department currently (February, 2022) consists of 16 staff, each responsible for a number of specific projects as well as operational workflows.

 Job summary

The Standards Team develops and maintains standards that describe responsible practices for the aquaculture industry, both for farms and feed mills. Its work includes activities that relate to the management of content via multi-stakeholder mechanisms (as outlined in the ASC Standard Setting Protocol) and providing operational services to partners who are implementing standards (e.g. processing incoming questions and variance requests and contributing to auditor training development).

Currenltly, ASC has operational 11 species-specific farm standards, covering a wide range of species groups. Although these standards are comparible in terms of higher-level issues that are addressed (legal, environmental and social), actual requirements for the farm, differ to an extent . This not only poses a reputational and operational concern, but it also hinders the inclusion of new species into the programme as there is insufficient consistency amongst current standards dealing with similar production system – especially on environmental related topics.

It is for these reasons that ASC is aligning its current 11 species-specific farm standards into a single ASC Farm Standard, which addresses three overarching Principles:

  1. Legal compliance (Principle 1)
  2. Environmental responsibility (Principle 2)
  3. Social Responsibility (Principle 3)

It is intended that the aligned ASC Farm Standard has generalised requirements where possible for all situations, yet applying specificity where needed for certain culture-systems, or cultured species.

The alignment project is already operational, with a major public consultation taking place betweenMarch 1 – April 30 2022. It is expected that the final ASC Farm Standard will be signed off by the Board in September 2023, prior to which an additional round of consultation and (global) piloting is needed.

Once completed, the ASC Farm Standard will supercede the current species-specific standards, which will gradually phase-out.

ASC is therefore recruiting a dedicated Senior Project Manager to coordinate the various workstreams of this alignment project.

Role and responsibilities

Emphasis is put on the coordination element – as both the development phase and the implementation phase rely heavily on cross-organisational coordination and inputs. Ability to garner support and involvement from colleagues is important for achieving success, as is the need to coordinate and collaboarate with external experts (e.g. consultants).

The position is expected to have clear oversight of the development process and needed technical and operational inputs from SaS-colleagues, ASC Departments (e.g. Programme Assurance, Marketing and Communications, Market Development) and ASC Governance bodies (e.g. TAG). Proactive and effective communication is crucial for this.

Although the ASC Standard Setting Protocol will provide a general overview of the standard setting process, given the complexities related to this specific project, considerable additional process mapping has been done. A project management team has been developed which contains various project oversight/coordination subgroups. The position plays a central role administering  this all.

Once the ASC Farm Standard is signed off by the Board of ASC, the implementation process starts. During this process, various activities need to be coordinated, e.g.: planning and coordinating the release of documents, guidance documents development, transition planning of existing farms, etc. The position is expected to play a similar role for these activities as well (process mapping, coordinating role) – again acting within the (internal) project team and with input from other teams and Departments.

It is expected that the position will bring a collaborative and positive working attitude and will be pro-active in engaging internal and external stakeholders, partners and collaborators. It is expected that the role will undertake the work in a systematic, and robust, manner.

Main tasks include

  • Overall project coordination of 1) the development, and 2) the implementation, of the aligned ASC Farm Standard, including but not limited to:
    • Leading an internal project team;
    • Mapping and coordinating the process-steps and activities needed for the various milestones (draft document development, consultation rounds, pilots, etc);
    • Coordination of the needed inputs from the various ASC Departments for the various process-steps and activities;
    • Liaison with other ASC Departments on internal communication on status, updates and input-needs.
  • Act as central point for stakeholder inquiries on the project & progress throughout the duration of the project.

Education, skills and experience

  • Experienced project manager – preferably of multi-disciplinary projects;
  • A personality that operates with diplomacy and the ability to garner support and cooperation amongst colleagues and involved project consultants;
  • Proactive approach to work, with the ability to handle a diverse workload, prioritise and meet targets;
  • Ability to think and work independently, systematically and to be pragmatic;
  • MSc in a relevant environmental subject or equivalent knowledge gained by experience;
  • Experience within the domain of aquaculture;
  • Experience of working in collaboration with multiple stakeholders and their interests;
  • Understanding of issues in seafood sustainability and the role of farm certification in it;
  • Comprehensive understanding of certification schemes and/or standard-setting;
  • Confident and willing to drive for work purposes.
  • A personality that strives to be pro-active and result-oriented;
  • Fluent in spoken and written English;
  • Excellent presentation, communication and reporting skills;
  • And not unimportant …. be an enthusiastic and fun colleague to work with!

Application and selection process 

Please e-mail your cover letter and CV (in English) via: recruitment@asc-aqua.org  

Your CV and cover letter will be reviewed and a short list of candidates will be invited to take part in initial interviews. Successful candidates might be asked to prepare additional written materials and / or a presentation.  

ASC take data protection very seriously. We will only use any personal information you may choose to give us in connection with your application for this position. In the event that your application is unsuccessful we will keep your personal information for 6 months, in case any other vacancies arise for which we think you may be suitable. For more information please read our privacy policy, which can be found here; https://www.asc-aqua.org/privacy/ 

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