Senior Associate Forest Certification, Rainforest Alliance

Position Summary:

Based in Northfield, Minnesota. Provide essential leadership in management and growth of Rainforest Alliance’s U.S. forest management (FM) portfolio in the U.S. Region. In collaboration with the regional Manager (Manger, US) develop and implement strategic business planning and budget management for the US Forest Management (FM) service team. Coordinate the delivery of FSC forest management, SmartLogging and other certification services to include including planning, scheduling, project management and customer service. Ensure the FM certification team is properly trained and resourced for optimum efficiency and quality of service. Implement quality assurance measures to maintain and enhance Rainforest Alliance’s reputation for exemplary professionalism, technical accuracy, timeliness and quality of service. Conduct outreach and promotion of RA among stakeholders, clients, prospective clients and the forestry profession.

The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Based in New York City, with offices throughout the United States and worldwide, the Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers.


Management & Leadership:

  • Develop and implement annual operating plans for the regional FM team with clearly established priorities and activities for achieving stated goals and objectives;
  • Ensure the structure and function of the regional FM team is appropriate to optimize overall proficiency;
  • Oversee development and implementation of annual audit schedules and ensure timely and efficient completion of annual audits;
  • In collaboration with the regional Manager, develop and implement client recruitment strategies for forest management, SmartLogging and related services in the region to meet annual targets;
  • Provide projections of annual budgetary and programmatic targets for regional FM activities;
  • Conduct monitoring and periodic reporting on progress in achieving financial goals, service delivery objectives and strategic targets;
  • Support other Rainforest Alliance staff in the execution and coordination of client recruitment, assessments and audits and other projects;
  • Manage contractors agreements and coordinate with them on agreed scope of work and subsequent deliverables;
  • Support and mentor the regional FM staff in the execution and coordination of client recruitment, service delivery and other Rainforest Alliance projects;
  • Provide input for policy development and improvements to certification systems; and
  • Give presentations and attend meetings, as needed, to promote Rainforest Alliance and FSC certification.

Client Service:

  • Ensure excellent customer service is provided to current and interested clients by all regional FM staff and contract auditors;
  • In collaboration with the regional Manager, develop and implement a key account management strategy for FM clients; and
  • Directly manage the service delivery (serve as project manager and/or lead auditor) for select high profile clients in the region to include cost proposals, service contracts, logistical planning, project support, liaison with clients and development of audit reports.

Quality Assurance:

  • Ensure all relevant new and/or revised Rainforest Alliance and FSC policies, procedures and requirements are communicated to staff, contract auditors and certificate holders;
  • Ensure that staff are adequately trained and proficient with all applicable services and procedures. Oversee training workshops for staff, current and prospective clients;
  • Collaborate with Quality Assurance staff to ensure full conformance with all applicable standards, policies and procedures, including Engagement Risk Management procedures;
  • Manage complaints and disputes relating to active certification assessments and clients consistent with Rainforest Alliance and FSC policies;
  • Develop and maintain strong expertise in applicable RA-Cert and FSC policies and protocols regarding forest management, SmartLogging and other related services;
  • In collaboration with the Quality Assurance Unit, perform lead auditor witness audits and quality reviews for audits and assessments as needed throughout the region; to include implementation annual review of auditor performance;
  • Other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

Direct supervision of the regional Forest Management certification team including two or more staff members.

Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.


  • Minimum Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in Forest Products, Forestry, Natural Resource Management or related field; Advanced Degree a Plus;
  • 5 to 7 years of experience in forestry or a related field;
  • Knowledge of Forest Stewardship Council certification and Rainforest Alliance preferred;
  • Knowledge of the forest products industry and forest management regimes in the US;
  • Strong organizational and project management skills;
  • Experience in strategic and operational plan development and implementation;
  • Environmental management system training or experience such as ISO 9001 or 14001 Lead Auditor training preferred;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal;
  • Strong customer service skills;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team;
  • Strong word processing, databases, spreadsheets and presentations skills.
  • Willingness and ability to travel up to 30% of the time; and
  • Field auditing in difficult terrain and hot, dry or cold, inclement weather.

How to apply

Please apply online at Combine cover letter and resume as one single document and upload.