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Sustainability Researcher

Riverford Organic Farmers
Wash Farm, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0JU

Posted: 31/03/2021

Deadline: 23/04/2021

Compensation: £25,000-£30,000 per annum

Paid Full-time Fixed term / contract

Job description

Why Riverford?

Every week, Riverford delivers organic food to around 84,000 homes and businesses across the UK. This takes loads of brilliant people, from growers to IT experts, and more besides! We’re a friendly, forward-thinking bunch, and we celebrate diversity, valuing, supporting and developing the whole person as an equal opportunities’ employer. In 2018, Riverford became employee owned. Working here makes you a ‘co-owner’, our version of ‘employee’. Sustainability has been at the heart of Riverford’s values since we saw the light of day in 1987. The business has grown in recent years - we employ about 950 people. This is an exciting new position addressing the most important challenge of our time. We’re also proud to be a B Corp – a certification for ethical businesses who work not just for profit, but also to benefit people and the planet.

What you’ll be doing

You will be responsible for developing, researching and supporting the practical and commercial implementation of (mainly) land-based environmental projects at Riverford and neighbouring Baddaford Farm, with the aim of reducing environmental impacts and providing proof of concept that others might follow. This will include providing research evidence to support communications with co-owners, customers, growers, other partners and the wider world, which will take various forms including articles, presentations, and content for our online magazine, Wicked Leeks. You will report to Zac Goodall, our Sustainability Manager, and will work closely with Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson at neighbouring Baddaford Farm, where some of the projects are based. We envisage you spending 50-75% of your time working with Guy on his land-based projects, and the rest of your time supporting Zac on other projects to effect sustainability improvements, mainly (but not exclusively) in the areas of carbon emissions and biodiversity.

This is a contract position for 1 year, working 40 hours per week, usually Monday to Friday. Your normal place of work will be Riverford’s main site, Wash Farm.

Your responsibilities

Project focus - this is by no means an exhaustive list, but will give you an idea of the range of projects:

  • Growing nuts/regenerative agriculture/SilvoPasture - Practical proof of concept - Economic viability in Devon - Quantify and verify carbon capture - Maximise biodiversity benefits, working with wildlife trusts and other - Possibly some practical hands-on involvement with implementation
  • Hedgerow management - Biodiversity - Quantify and verify carbon capture
  • Beavers - Practical viability and risk - Neighbour and stakeholder consultation - Release license - Implementation plan
  • Packaging - Carbon footprint of packaging - Wider environmental impact research of materials and processes - Proof of concept for packaging materials improvement and innovation
  • Renewable energy - Solar, wind, AD, and more - Implementation and feasibility at Riverford - Integrating renewable energy and food production systems
  • Ongoing research for weekly newsletters - Providing/suggesting material - Researching stories - Checking stats
  • Public engagement for the above projects, PR, storytelling, supporting lobbying.
  • Where appropriate, seeking funding to support the work.

Other aspects of work

  • Scientific research (assessment of, rather than doing).
  • Developing our understanding and navigation of the relevant legislative framework and how to effect change.

Skills & experience

  • Hold a BSc or BEng degree.
  • Desk research experience; basic understanding of science and scientific processes, in addition to some field-based research experience.
  • Analytical thinking.
  • Good communicator, on paper and verbally, especially skill at communicating sometimes complex and scientific research.
  • Experienced and confident at advising, communicating and influencing at all levels, to successfully establish productive connections within Riverford and externally.
  • Commercial understanding, with an appreciation of the importance of long-term financial viability of initiatives.
  • A valid driving licence and willingness to regularly travel to other Riverford sites.

Personal qualities

  • Enthusiasm for positive change and doing things differently.
  • A pragmatic and solutions-focused outlook
  • A strong team player; enthusiastic, reliable, flexible and adaptable.
  • A natural ability to influence, motivate and engage stakeholders
  • Self-motivated and proactive, ability to work on own initiative as well as part of a small team.
  • Resilient and able to deal with pressure

Salary £25,000 - £30,000 per annum depending on experience


  • Riverford and Baddaford are beautiful places to work
  • 33 days holiday pro rata (including bank holidays)
  • Generous company pension scheme
  • Annual profit share; 10% of all our profits are split equally between all co-owners
  • 25% off everything we sell
  • Heavily discounted organic breakfasts and lunches, home-cooked by our canteen chefs
  • Free organic fruit and veg
  • Enhanced maternity / paternity pay (plus six months of free veg boxes)
  • An annual allowance to spend on Riverford branded clothing
  • Lots of free co-owner events, including two massive parties a year
  • Flexible working options
  • Life assurance cover

Application information

Please apply following this link to our website.

Please mention Roots to Work when applying for these jobs

About Riverford Organic Farmers

Every week, Riverford delivers organic food to around 85,000 homes and businesses across the UK. This takes loads of brilliant people, from growers to IT experts, and more besides!