Trustees, Earthwatch Europe

Our planet is facing unprecedented challenges. Climate change and loss of biodiversity threaten our very existence and the beauty of the world as we know it. We are responding to a pandemic that has impacted our way of life. We need to take action now to shape the future we want. Science has identified the causes of these challenges, and science is essential if we’re to face and solve them.

Earthwatch Europe is an environmental charity with science at its heart, they are uniquely positioned to help address the urgent challenges our planet faces. From introducing the first tiny forest to the UK in March, to helping people connect with and support nature through their Naturehood programme, to accessing the power of citizen science, their innovative work is more relevant now than ever.

Earthwatch already have a strong Board and want to take this opportunity to enrich it further by recruiting additional Trustees with a rich diversity of background, experience and thought. The world has an opportunity to grow back better and greener after the impact of Covid-19, and the solution needs to be inclusive.

  • Background
    Earthwatch Europe is recruiting for up to five additional trustees to join its Board. Trustees make up the governing body of Earthwatch Europe. The Board of Trustees is responsible for leadership and governance, and for overseeing strategy and direction. Combining diverse backgrounds, they are ambassadors for the organisation, furthering Earthwatch Europe’s mission by setting strategic priorities for work. In the words of one of the current Trustees, “Earthwatch Europe leverages the power of citizen science to address the burning environmental issues of the planet. Being part of the Board is a wonderful opportunity to be at the heart of that response”.
  • Specific Responsibilities

    Trustee role description and person specification 

    Trustees are responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of the Charity, and the appointment of the Chief Executive.

    The role 

    •    To formulate and review Earthwatch Europe’s vision, values and long-term strategy as well as policies for their fulfilment, with the help of the Chief Executive; 
    •    To hold themselves accountable to Earthwatch Europe’s stakeholders for the Board’s decisions, the performance of the Board and the performance of Earthwatch Europe and its subsidiaries;
    •    To attend Board meetings, scrutinise Board papers, challenge management on their content, contribute to the Board discussion and accept collegiate decisions; 
    •    To set and agree targets and evaluate performance against them;
    •    To oversee the management of Earthwatch Europe and its assets in the interest of current, potential and future beneficiaries; 
    •    To ensure that Earthwatch Europe complies with its governing document (ie its articles of association), charity law, company law, the Earthwatch licence and other relevant legislation or regulations;
    •    To exercise financial controls in order to ensure the financial stability of Earthwatch Europe; 
    •    To understand and accept the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship, to be familiar with relevant guidance including directors’ responsibilities as outlined in the Companies Act 2006, and the Essential Trustee from the Charity Commission; 
    •    To act as an ambassador for Earthwatch Europe, safeguard the organisation’s good name/reputation and assets and ensure the proper investment of the organisation’s funds; 
    •    To use trustee networks for the benefit of Earthwatch Europe; 
    •    To contribute to partnership development and income generation; 
    •    To be a member of special purpose working groups or committees as required and fits skills and experience 
    •    To mentor senior members of staff as required; 
    •    To be a company director of Earthwatch Europe. This involves ensuring that Earthwatch Europe complies with company law. 

    Trustees as directors have specific duties under the Act which include: 

    •    To act within powers; 
    •    To promote the success of the company;
    •    To exercise independent judgement; 
    •    To exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence; 
    •    To avoid conflicts of interest; 
    •    To not accept benefits from third parties; 
    •    To declare interest in proposed transactions or arrangements.

  • Person Specification

    All trustees need to have integrity and commitment. In addition, Earthwatch Europe will look for the following qualities, skills and experience: 


    •    Passion for the environment and environmental science, connecting people with the natural world, monitoring the health of natural resources and informing the actions that will have the greatest positive impact;
    •    Board skills: ability to think strategically; scrutinise board papers; challenge management; contribute to discussions; focus on key issues; accept collegiate decisions; be a good team member; 
    •    Understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship; 
    •    Good judgement; ability to make collegiate decisions; 
    •    Demonstrable selflessness; integrity; objectivity; 
    •    Great networks and a willingness to use them on behalf of Earthwatch Europe; 
    •    Ability to contribute incisive challenge and comment, and willingness to step up to share specific skill sets as and when required, including participation in and leading committees and working groups; 
    •    Willingness to give time outside board meetings; 
    •    Willingness to actively support income generation; 
    •    Willingness to act as an ambassador for Earthwatch Europe, including representing the organisation externally at meetings/events; 
    •    Commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

    Highly desirable (Earthwatch need these within the Board but not all Trustees are required to have them): 

    •    Wide experience of organisations and what makes them work successfully; 
    •    Experience at Board level; 
    •    Experience as a non-executive director or trustee; 
    •    Ability to understand financial information; 
    •    Ambitious on behalf of Earthwatch Europe; able to drive organisational growth; 
    •    Sufficient experience to hold management to account in (any/some of) the areas of finance; science; marketing; communications; conservation; legal; investment; information management; fundraising; safety; human resources; 
    •    Ability to use creativity and innovation to further Board level and Executive Team discussions. 

    Specific areas of skills and expertise: in order to complement and enhance the current Board, Earthwatch are seeking new Trustees who can bring expertise and connections in one or more of the following areas:

    •    Diversity of thought and experience; 
    •    Youth/connectivity to and understanding of reaching youthful audiences; 
    •    Technological innovation; 
    •    Horizon scanning and the ability to identify emerging trends; 
    •    Climate and environmental policy; 
    •    Geographic diversity, with specific reference to Africa, Europe (and EU policy), including access to and understanding of international opportunities outside of the UK, for example UN, UNESCO; 
    •    Science based expertise; 
    •    Financial expertise for the Finance Committee. 

  • Terms of Office, Time Commitment, Remuneration, Diversity & Inclusion, GDPR and Application Process

    Terms of Office

    The term of appointment is for three years with the possibility of renewal for further periods of three years up to a maximum of nine years. 

    Time Commitment

    Trustees are asked to give around 6-12 days per year to Earthwatch Europe. They have four Board Meetings per year usually held in Oxford or London (adapted to be held virtually during lockdown), and request that all of the Trustees commit to preparing for and attending Board meetings and additionally supporting and working with the organisation where their skills and expertise can best be utilised. Earthwatch recognise that Trustees will have to balance their commitment to the organisation with their personal and work commitments and believe that flexibility of interaction is key. 


    The position of Trustee is unpaid. However, all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred on charity business will be reimbursed in line with the Expenses Policy.

    Diversity & Inclusion and GDPR

    Earthwatch Europe is committed to open and inclusive recruitment for the Trustee vacancies. In line with the requirement for inclusive solutions, we recognise the need for a diverse and inclusive Board. As such, individuals from traditionally under-represented groups are actively encouraged to apply. 

    To help us to make the right decision on who will best complement the skills and experience of the current Trustees we are asking candidates to provide a one page proposal outlining what you would contribute to the Board and how you would help to further the mission of the organisation.

    The Talent team at The Whitehall & Industry Group will share your details with the interview panel at Earthwatch Europe. If you would like your details removed from our database following your application, please inform Paige Torrance, Talent Manager via [email protected].

    Application Process

    •    Please submit: your CV (2-3 pages maximum) and the names, positions, organisations and contact telephone numbers of two referees, one of whom should be your current employer, the Equalities Monitoring Form (downloadable below) and your one page proposal. References will only be taken once your express permission has been granted  Equalities Monitoring Form (downloadable via the WIG website);
    •    Documentation can either be submitted via the WIG website using the 'Apply Now' button above or by email to Paige Torrance, Talent Manager via [email protected]
    •    If you have any questions about this opportunity, or would value a confidential discussion, please contact Paige Torrance, Talent Manager via [email protected] or on 0207 222 1166;
    •    The deadline for applications is Midnight, Sunday 4 October 2020
    •    Shortlisted applicants will be invited for first round interview on Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 November 2020;
    •    Second round interviews will be held on Friday 20 November 2020;
    •    Provision will be made for video interviewing, should circumstances require. 

    WIG Equalities Monitoring Form.docx


    Earthwatch, Trustee Job Specification, September 2020.pdf


    Earthwatch Europe, Applicant Brief final.pdf