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About Zero Waste Scotland

“The challenges facing the global environment are undeniably stark. The world’s population is expected to peak at 10bn in 2050, but our resources, the earth’s raw materials, are not limitless. Material consumption and waste are the primary drivers of nearly every environmental problem we currently face, from water scarcity to habitat and species loss. We know a circular economy is part of the solution to our global climate emergency. An economy in which products, services, and systems, are designed to maximise their value and minimise waste.”

Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy and motivate individuals, and businesses, to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy. 

We are a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee and is predominately funded by the Scottish Government. Our recent formal classification as a Public Sector organisation brings new opportunities, which we will embrace through a robust and strategic transition. This, alongside the development of a new Corporate Plan, to be launched in 2024, means that Zero Waste Scotland is entering an exceptionally exciting period of change. 

Zero Waste Scotland is recognised as a leader in delivering specialist expertise and services across both the public and private sectors. With c.190 staff and a budget of over c. £37 million (which includes the Recycling Improvement Fund, administered on behalf of Scottish Government), we are working towards delivering four key strategic outcomes, as outlined in our Corporate Plan 2019 -23 which include: 

  • Responsible consumption – ensuring demands for products and services respect the limits of natural resources; 
  • Responsible production – where a circular economy is embraced; 
  • Maximising value from waste – where the environmental and economic value of wasted resources and energy is harnessed efficiently; and 
  • Transforming Zero Waste Scotland – becoming the leading organisation in driving radical change in behaviours towards products & resources. 

About the role

Our Chair plays a critical role in setting the organisational strategy; ensuring we stay strategically aligned; overseeing delivery of our Corporate Plan ambitions; ensuring appropriate transparency and governance; and ultimately, achieving our vision for a circular Scotland. 

The Zero Waste Scotland Chair will work with the Non-Executive Board Members and Executive Leadership Team (ELT) of Zero Waste Scotland to set the strategic direction for the organisation and adhere to the principles of good corporate governance. 

Core responsibilities of the Chair include: 

  • Providing overall strategic leadership to Zero Waste Scotland, in collaboration with the Board and through support to the Chief Executive. This will include setting the strategic direction of ZWS through the development and delivery of a new 2024-2028 Corporate Plan as well as helping build a resilient senior leadership team to capitalise on new market opportunities. 
  • Working in partnership with the Scottish Government and external stakeholders to realise the full potential of this transition to enable a high functioning, delivery-oriented body. 
  • Ensuring effective Board Governance through the review of Board and Executive Member performance, ensuring the Board is appropriately skilled, resilient and structured as well as ensuring sub-committees work effectively and are Chaired robustly. 
  • Leading by example, encouraging all Board and Executive team members to demonstrate their passion for, and commitment to the Vision, Mission and Values of the organisation, to uphold the highest ethical standard of integrity and ensure that legislative compliance is adhered to. 
  • Acting as a public figure and key industry influencer for the Circular Economy in Scotland, fostering new partnerships across diverse sectors to catalyse and inspire economic transformation and to help realise new market opportunities in Scotland from a circular economy. Take lead responsibility in representing Zero Waste Scotland in liaison with Ministers and the Scottish Government, as well as externally to build our reputation, impact and narrative. 

Required experience

We are seeking to recruit a Chair who meets/possesses all the essential criteria outlined below: 

  • Proven strategic leadership capability and experience of leading a Board, or similar to make strategic decisions and agree tactical priorities in a complex environment. This will include the ability to set strategic vision and execute this, create a collaborative, cooperative culture which values diversity. 
  • Possess a firm understanding of the differing responsibilities of both the Board and the Executive, with the ability to successfully and collaboratively challenge, counsel and mentor the Executive team. 
  • Demonstrate a vision for Scotland’s circular economy and an understanding of the strategic economic, social and environmental context and policy frameworks Zero Waste Scotland operates. 
  • Experience of successfully overseeing change and driving continuous improvement, specifically the ability to steer organisations through period of significant change in a commercially oriented and clear manner. 
  • Excellent relationship and communication skills, with a strong capability to engage sensitively with multiple stakeholders, representing and promoting the organisation within Government and Industry. 
  • A proven track record of organisational leadership and governance with the ability to articulate and manage fiscal / legislative Board responsibilities. 
  • An understanding of audit & risk management and able to demonstrate effective practical application of that understanding.

Terms of appointment

The Chair receives £360.92 per day remuneration. 

Expenses incurred as a result of carrying out the duties of the appointment, including reasonable travel and subsistence costs and dependent carer and childcare expenses, will be reimbursed. 

The appointment is non-pensionable. 

The Chair of the Board is expected to devote between a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 36 days per year to the role, including preparation at home, and attendance at meetings and events.  

There are four formal Board meetings per annum, one Annual General Meeting and, if appointed to a Board Sub-Committee, four Sub-Committee meetings per annum. A strategy day is also held at least once per annum. Informal monthly Board meetings are held in months where there is no formal meeting (these last approximately 2 hours). 

The appointment is initially for four years, with the possibility of reappointment (subject to evidence of effective performance and satisfying the skills and knowledge required at the time of reappointment and beyond). 

Delivery team

Jamie Brown


Annabel Wailes-Fairbairn

Executive Assistant and Digital Lead

Nadia Kalisiak

Talent Attraction & Research Consultant

Apply now


Zero Waste Scotland

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