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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Vacancies

Legal & Financial Researcher: Corporate Accountability & Transparency Programme

Reference No: 2/2022

Applications close: 15 May 2022

The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) is looking for a legal and financial researcher to join our Corporate Accountability and Transparency team.  Based in Johannesburg or Cape Town, the successful candidate will join a team of lawyers who are challenging corporations and financial institutions, including development finance institutions, to improve transparency and implement policies and decisions to advance environmental and climate justice.

The ideal candidate can produce legal and financial research to support and advance to hold corporates accountable for their environmental, social, and climate impacts. The ideal candidate understands the need to produce quality research, sometimes under time pressure, that is useful to civil society and community-based organisations.

The ideal candidate is also able to contribute to innovative strategies to increase and amplify support for and pressure on corporations and financial institutions to reform their climate targets and ambition, ensure adherence to environmental, social and governance standards and meet local and international standards of best practice.

This position is for a researcher with two to four years of experience in legal and financial research. The researcher also has a passion for environmental justice, and the ability to use law, financial policy analysis, and research to challenge the financing and support of fossil fuel projects. Examples of research include the Financing Fairly reports produced by CER, utilising the Fair Finance Methodology. An important requirement of this position is the ability to build and nurture relationships with communities impacted by polluting companies and proposed fossil fuel projects, as well as with organisations and individuals that have the relevant scientific and economic expertise to inform our work.

CER is committed to diversity, inclusion and transformation and strives to reflect South Africa’s racial, cultural, sex, and gender diversity within its staff complement. Candidates from historically disadvantaged or marginalised groups are strongly encouraged to apply for this post, and will be preferred.

Location

Johannesburg or Cape Town

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • An LLB or equivalent law degree. An LLM or other postgraduate qualification in business and human rights, environmental and climate law and/or company law would be an advantage.
  • At least two-four years’ relevant work experience in a corporate, banking, or finance environment.
  • Knowledge and understanding of environmental laws and the legal requirements for corporate governance, disclosure, and reporting; sustainable and responsible investment initiatives and associated environmental, social, and governance factors.
  • Excellent legal and other research and writing skills, with a perfectionist eye for detail.
  • Good public speaking skills (note that CER supports staff development through specialised public speaking training).
  • A sensitivity to social issues and the needs of communities impacted by environmental degradation and injustice.
  • Excellent networking skills, and strong capabilities in building support amongst a wide range of stakeholders, in particular within communities and with community organisations.
  • A commitment to high-quality client service.
  • A passion for social, environmental, and climate justice.
  • A commitment to training and development of junior staff members.
  • A commitment to diversity, inclusion, and transformation.

Key responsibilities

While we require flexibility from all our staff as our strategic imperatives change and develop over time, key responsibilities of this position currently include the following:

  • Programme implementation: Supporting the objectives of the Programme in ensuring delivery against the CER’s strategic objectives; reporting, recording, and sharing learning for systemic change; and supporting strategic and inclusive leadership to the programme team;
  • Legal and financial research and advocacy: Providing research and input into the programme’s litigation, advocacy, and engagement with regulators, corporates, and other stakeholders that impact corporate accountability, in order to achieve strategic change and improved practice; researching and drafting evidence-based reports in support of the programme’s strategic objectives; providing input into draft environmental, social, and governance policies and legislation;
  • Strategic communications: Conducting research for the development of communications plans for the programme, bearing in mind the objectives of the programme;
  • Networking and empowerment: Conducting in-depth stakeholder mapping and research and building and supporting networks of partners and clients, including affected communities and community organisations, and supporting and participating in the training of activists.
  • Human resources and talent management: Supporting the work of attorneys, candidate attorneys, and any other staff in the programme team; and working to strengthen and celebrate diversity and inclusion in the programme team;
  • Diversity, inclusion, and transformation: CER aims to build a diverse, inclusive, and transformative culture, and we, therefore, expect all staff to participate in and work towards this goal; and
  • General: Generally contributing to the reputation, institutional strength and resilience, strategic development, and wellbeing of the organisation.

Salary

The salary range for the position is between R494 971 to R629 079 (total cost to company). The salary offered will be dependent on factors that include the qualifications, level of expertise, and experience of the successful candidate. All new staff joins our medical aid group scheme with Discovery Health, and the salary package includes a medical aid subsidy.

Working for the CER

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation and law clinic of activist lawyers who work with communities and civil society organisations in South Africa to realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice. We seek a just, equitable, compassionate society which is resilient, celebrates diversity, and respects the inter-dependence between people and the environment.

As South Africa’s largest public interest environmental law organisation, we use our expertise and commitment to fight for environmental justice and advance the right to a healthy environment for all. We take on the big environmental battles: cases in which we can empower local communities, have an enduring impact, set powerful precedents for other cases, and help improve policy and practice across the country.

Winning the legal case is only part of the battle. CER’s litigation work is strengthened by local training and empowerment, dedicated policy and advocacy work, and strategic communications. In all of our work, we work closely with partners in affected communities, with other civil society organisations in the environmental and social justice sector, and with other public interest law organisations.

We work across the following core themes: Mining, Water, Pollution and Climate Change, Corporate Accountability & Transparency, and Activist Support & Training. We have our main office in Observatory, Cape Town, with a smaller office in Johannesburg.

At CER, we value our staff and regard their wellbeing as a priority. We are committed to a work environment that is inclusive and empathetic, and in which diversity is celebrated and supported

How to apply

Please send the following documents to: [email protected] with the email subject line: “CER Legal Researcher, Ref no. 2/2022”:

  • A cover letter setting out your skills and relevant experience, and motivating why you want to work at the CER;
  • Your CV; and
  • Two recent written references not less than 6 months old.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. The CER reserves the right not to appoint should there be no suitable candidate.