Oceans Program Director, China

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

Program Overview - Oceans


Our vision is to create thriving, resilient oceans within our lifetimes that provide more fish in the water, more food on the plate, and more prosperous fishing communities, even in the face of climate change. We seek to reduce global overfishing by 30% by 20205 in order to have 50 percent more fish in the sea and improve the well-being of 400 million vulnerable people worldwide by 2030.


We cannot achieve this goal without China, which is by far the world’s largest producer and consumer of seafood, responsible for nearly 20 percent of the global fish catch. However, rapid economic growth along China’s coast over the last 40 years has imposed significant cost on the country’s coastal and marine environment. Meanwhile, the country’s distant water fleet has grown into the world’s largest, harvesting fish from around the world, including places where governance is weak and overfishing is occurring. China’s leaders today are looking to create an ecological civilization, restoring ecological balance while maintaining sustainable levels of productivity and profitability. China is also seeking to promote environmentally sustainable development regionally and globally by building partnerships with NGOs, academia, industry and other countries through its Belt and Road Initiative. We believe China can not only restore its own oceans to health and abundance, but that it can use its growing influence to create a shift toward oceans sustainability worldwide.


Overall Function


The China Oceans Director will be a marine expert based in Beijing and responsible for developing and implementing strategies to achieve EDF’s vision for sustainable oceans, reporting directly to the Vice President of Oceans, Asia Pacific. S/he will also support EDF’s Vice President for China in maintaining and growing the strength of EDF’s political position and relationships with national and local policymakers in China to enable us to achieve Oceans Program goals.


Key Responsibilities

  • Lead the execution and evolution of a strategy, in collaboration with the VPs for Oceans and China, to achieve EDF’s vision for sustainable oceans, build awareness of EDF’s mission, and develop relationships with decision-makers, opinion-leaders, institutions and others who can help us advance our goals
  • Manage resources and capacities to execute our China oceans strategy successfully, including by managing financial resources in the China oceans project budget, China oceans staff and consultants, EDF’s reputation in China and beyond, and other available resources
  • Represent EDF’s oceans program in China to policy-makers, influential advisors to the government, industry and community stakeholders, partners, and the media
  • Recruit and hire staff, consultants, and partners, and develop and execute partnership and consulting contracts necessary to execute our strategy successfully
  • Developing and communicating proposals, plans and progress reports to donors and government agencies verbally and in writing
  • Represent the China oceans project in interactions with other EDF departments, within and outside the Oceans Program, including Development, Communications, the Chief Scientist’s office, the Chief Economist’s office, etc., in partnership with EDF’s China Program leadership


  • Must be able to manage significant budgets (e.g., up to US$3 million/year), staff (e.g., up to 10 people), and important relationships (e.g., with government officials, industry organizations, academic experts, partner institutions, and the media)
  • Experience communicating persuasively to audiences in government, industry, academia, and the media; can clearly communicate verbally and in writing complex and subtle issues; fluency in Mandarin and English a must
  • An ocean expert, preferably with an advanced degree in marine ecology, who understands the relationship between marine resource management and social, economic, and political concerns
  • Must be able to operate strategically in a political environment, be familiar with international and national political dynamics and understand how government works internationally and within China at the national and local levels
  • Must also exemplify the following characteristics: ethical and honest, inspires trust; diligent and responsible, gets job done; optimistic and pragmatic, determined to achieve big things; collegial and collaborative, draws on resources across EDF engages partners in a respectful way; and comfortable with Western culture

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.