Senior Researcher, Just Energy Transition and Natural Resources

Business & Human Rights Resource Center
  • Location
    Remote, Germany, or , United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Mar 18

Position description

The Just Energy Transition and Natural Resources programme is focused on advancing human rights in business, in support toa fast and fair transition to clean energy and zero carbon economies. We seek to promote human rights across the renewable energy and batteries value chain. We are focused on mining for transition minerals, the installation of renewable energy where the fast transition is increasingly endangered by companies’ poor human rights record and policies, the lack of investor due diligence, and the absence of adequate regulation.  A just transition will be one that, at minimum, ensures respect for human rights, fair negotiations, and shared prosperity with workers and communities.

The successful candidate will help lead strategic research and analysis on the renewable energy value chain from a corporate accountability perspective. This will include generating new insights and propositions for a more just energy transition through the analysis of structural causes of corporate abuse in these supply chains. In particular, the researcher will help us deepen our efforts to embed human rights, and protect and amplify the voices of human rights defenders, as an essential part of the response to the climate crisis, and a core component of the global work towards a just transition. As the Resource Centre expands its advocacy on improving the human rights policies and practices of companies in the renewable energy value chain, the senior researcher will play a key role in supporting:

  • Research on community engagement, community equity models and other forms of benefit-sharing – focusing in particular on (i) unpacking cases and recommendations for ‘meaningful engagement’ with communities in the context of transition minerals mining projects, (ii) examples of Indigenous co-ownership and ownership of renewable energy and mining projects;
  • Regional teams in their work on local just transitions and evidence of corporate abuses in the context of the current boom of exploration, licensing of transition minerals mining projects;
  • Advocacy towards and engagement with investors and their coalitions on our just energy transition messaging and core products - Transition Minerals Tracker, Renewable Energy Benchmark, and investor guidance;
  • Development of policy recommendations on the just energy transition from a business & human rights perspective; and
  • Representation of the programme in key civil society fora and coalitions.

Responsibilities

Responsibilities will include:

  • Conduct and help manage in-depth research: design and help lead team in delivering high impact research and analyses that assess company abuses, policy, and practice in renewable energy and transition mineral mining sectors, particularly through the team’s core products including the Transition Mineral Tracker, Renewable Energy and Human Rights Benchmark, and resources and guidance for investors. Lead on research and writing of a briefing focused on examples and lessons learnt around engagement with communities in the mining sector. Play a leadership role in identifying opportunities and advancing the Resource Centre’s research beyond its current core products along the renewable energy value chain, including research on transition minerals and value chains, in just energy transition for the theme;
  • Develop high quality written and digital materials: Curate and write compelling content for our website and outreach, including reports, blog posts, briefing notes and papers, and articles to be submitted to relevant media outlets;
  • Conduct outreach with companies: take up allegations of abuse with company HQs to seek responses to allegations of human rights abuse, conduct follow-up outreach for remedy and build relationships to enhance human rights due diligence;
  • Strategically engage with investors and their coalitions on the salient risks of the sector and coordinate workshops, roundtables, and knowledge sharing spaces, bringing together various stakeholders. Sustain and help build our active network of CSO partners and allies;
  • Coordinate with BHRRC regional programmes: Work with regional researchers and our global network of external partners to identify cases of impacts of companies on human rights – with a focus on transition minerals, in order to strengthen our research process, and to strategically identify allegations of abuse for deeper-dive investigations and coordinated advocacy globally;
  • Track policy and legislation: Keep abreast of, and in some cases participate in, relevant legal and policy developments, including, e.g., legislation regarding mandatory human rights due diligence, critical minerals, and promotion of renewable energy;
  • People management and team support: In coordination with the Head of Programme, closely work with and support a team comprised of a researcher and a research assistant, share administrative tasks, and assist with the management and training of staff members where appropriate. Possibility of line managing at least one person;
  • Contribute to strategy development for the programme and regions:  Help design and implement, in collaboration with the Head of Natural Resources and Just Transition and regional heads, strategies for the Natural Resources and Just Transition portfolio and across regions;
  • Representation: Represent the organization at meetings, conferences, and other gatherings, as well as in engagements with donors and other key stakeholders. Sustain and help build our active network of CSO partners and allies;
  • Travel: Undertake regional and international travel for research, outreach, scoping, communications and/or representation;
  • Other: other responsibilities as appropriate and relevant to the role of Senior Researcher: Just Energy Transition and Natural Resources

Essential skills and experience

  • Commitment and expertise: Strong experience working on the just energy transition, transition minerals and/or broad natural resource sector, with renewable energy supply chain expertise highly desirable, and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples’ rights an advantage. At least three years’ experience in project delivery, research, campaigning, or policy and advocacy in these areas. A clear understanding, vision, and strategic insight on human rights in business and the global economy is essential. Global South or direct experience working with/for/on behalf of Indigenous communities, is an advantage;
  • Research, analytical, and writing skills: Strong experience in researching and writing briefings. Skill and enthusiasm to deliver compelling evidence and analysis, handle big data sets, and design rigorous methodologies regarding corporate abuses of human rights. Able to search and identify relevant information online and offline; adept at undertaking systematic data collection to a high level of detail and accuracy; ability to generate compelling and feasible propositions for change in policy and practice that drive systematic change. Experience in understanding corporate finance, different ownership structure, investment structures in private and public markets, and/or alternative economic models is highly desirable. While not a large part of the role, experience in conducting primary research at a community level is desirable;
  • Communication skills: proven ability to effectively communicate to a broad range of audiences, through a range of channels (briefings, benchmarks, blogs, dashboards, etc.), especially on digital platforms. Excellent writing ability and English language skills are required. French or Spanish desirable. Strong speaking skills and experience representing organisations to external audiences are critical;
  • Partnership: Commitment to, and at least three years’ experience in working with diverse international partners. Experience working with Indigenous communities or Human Rights Defenders in the natural resource /environment and land context highly desirable;
  • Strategic thinking: A strong understanding of natural resources and human rights in a global context is essential. The ability to grasp, analyse, summarise, and present complex information coherently to external audiences is required. Demonstrated experience thinking critically about impact is required;
  • Values: Strong, demonstrated commitment to human rights, and a just transition, as well as to the values and ethos of the Resource Centre;
  • Team player: Experience of working in high performing multi-cultural and international teams, working with colleagues to deliver high impact programs. Experience working remotely desirable. Commitment to building relationships with remote, inter-disciplinary, and culturally diverse teams;
  • Organisation and initiative: Able to work efficiently and methodically to support achievement of deliverables; strong prioritization skills; self-motivated and organised; and comfortable working independently within agreed framework while maintaining communication with a global team in different time zones and geographies.

Application instructions

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