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Chief Sustainability Officer

Location:  City of Austin, TX Download:  City of Austin, TX - Chief Sustainability Officer Brochure

City of Austin, TX
Chief Sustainability Officer

 The City of Austin is seeking to fill the position of Chief Sustainability Officer.  This executive position will report to the City Manager's office and will work closely with city departments in the development, coordination, and administration sustainability policies and practices for the City of Austin. This position will be responsible for establishing a citywide sustainability program that includes assessing the impact of sustainability practices to the City and broad community at large, while balancing the City's shared objectives for a healthy environment, an excellent quality of life, and continued economic vitality. 

The city already has of a growing number of long-term environmental initiatives.  Austin has considered itself one of the most environmentally conscious communities in the country.  Among US cities, Austin was ranked 19th by Popular Science and 13th by for its environmentally sustainable initiatives among US cities.  The city established a nationally recognized green-building program since the 1980's,  Austin Energy is considered one of the nation's most innovative electric utilities, and the Solid Waste Department's  Zero Waste Goal is to reduce the amount of waste Austinites send to the landfill by 90% by the year 2040.  

Challenges and Opportunities 

The Chief Sustainability Officer will: 

  • Identify, review and assess the city departments' current sustainability services and programs within city departments. Evaluate programs for best practices, duplications or overlapping programs within the various departments. Assess current sustainability goals and strategies to bring greater coordination of services citywide. Streamline identified opportunities for improvement. 
  • Develop a comprehensive policy and a strategic performance plan for the city that encompasses current goals, best practices, and moves the city towards the next step of a more environmentally sustainable future.  
  • In collaboration with departments, will evaluate, enhance, and develop metric systems that monitor and assess progress towards achieving performance goals at all appropriate organizational levels. 
  • Develop and implement marketing and educational programs that inspire the community to embrace environmental sustainability practices and changes the thinking, behavior and practice of individuals, organizations and government by focusing on sustainable development. 
  • Coordinate activities with departments that accomplish all levels of conservation and sustainable development within the city to include green purchasing, energy conservation, solid waste recycling, green building, resource and water conservation, green house gas reduction, renewable resources, government funding, and environmental reporting metrics. 
  • Perform highly complex forecasting and cost/benefit analysis to enable executive city leadership to make informed decisions that focus on optimizing social and environmental impacts of sustainability program initiatives. 
  • Provide oversight and direction of research and analysis of city and community sustainability needs to determine program direction and goals. 
  • Serve as a skilled facilitator who works collaboratively with boards and commissions, committees, or other governing boards to develop strategic direction and integrate the city's sustainability policy and practice. Develop partnerships and work with community members, organizations and other government agencies to establish a citywide sustainability program and to integrate sustainable practices. 
  • Act as the official departmental representative to the CMO, elected officials, outside agencies and the community; explain, justify, and defend department programs, policies, and activities; and, negotiate and resolve significant, and controversial issues pertaining to sustainability. Brief and advise City management regarding sustainability programs.
  • Respond to and resolve sensitive inquiries, complaints and issues from both internal and external sources.

 The Ideal Candidate will:

  • Possess a minimum of 7 years of sustainability related experience to include a minimum of 2 years in a managerial capacity. The successful candidate will be an innovative individual who identifies the tools and resources needed to stay current in the field. He/she will need to demonstrate superior project management skills and have the ability to effectively develop and define a sustainability plan for the City of Austin. 
  • Be a master collaborator who will work effectively in relationship building and garner trust with departments to ensure that the city's sustainable short and long term goals, and strategic plan meet and exceed the city's goals of becoming the most sustainable city without compromising the quality of life for future generations.  
  • Possess advanced oral and written communication as well as a strong ability to educate, persuade and mobilize resources. He/she must have the ability to influence at all levels and functions in order to make sustainability a priority and inspire people into action. He/she must be able to adhere to the highest ethical and moral standards and be able to display transparency. 
  • Possess high-level planning, budget and financial management experience in a high performance management organization. He/she must be financially astute and be able to understand and communicate the long and short-term benefits of sustainability efforts into cost savings. He/she should be able to establish meaningful performance metrics to track and measure success. The ideal candidate will need to have an understanding of sustainable technology as it relates to energy, waste, carbon emissions, green building and other areas. 
  • Be passionate and understand current concepts of conservation and sustainable development including green purchasing, energy conservation, solid waste recycling, green building, resource and water conservation, green house gas reduction, renewable resources, government funding opportunities, and environmental reporting metrics. 
  • Demonstrate strong leadership and innovative thinking in the development of exemplary policies and programs that promote an environmentally sustainable future without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
  • Be a highly approachable leader, who can openly accept and work effectively in a climate of interaction, communicating up and down the organization. Must display a willingness to work collaboratively with business, organizations, institutions and residents to develop solutions and implement action plans to address the challenges and opportunities inherent in the relationship between environment, equity and the economy.

Education and Experience:

A Bachelor's Degree from an accredited four year college or university is required with major coursework in Business Administration, Public Administration, Environmental Management, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Urban Planning, Architecture, or another job related field  Seven (7) years of sustainability related experience with a minimum of 2 years in a managerial capacity.  A Masters degree  may substitute for 2 years of sustainability related experience.


The City of Austin is offering a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits package. Relocation assistance will be available for the successful out of area candidate.

How to Apply:

Interested applicants should forward a cover letter and resume to:
Reference: Austin CSO

Affion Public
20 North 2nd Street, Suite 200
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Fax: 717-214-2205


Deadline for resume submittal is April 18, 2010

Posted: 03/22/2022