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Senior Researcher: Climate Finance and Sustainability

Centre for Environmental Rights
Cape Town or Johannesburg, South Africa
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Closing Date:
Monday, 23 October 2023

About the Organisation

The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) is a non-profit organisation and law clinic of activist lawyers who work with communities and civil society organisations in South Africa to realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice. We seek a just, equitable, compassionate society which is resilient, celebrates diversity, and respects the inter-dependence between people and the environment.
As South Africa’s largest public interest environmental law organisation, we use our expertise and commitment to fight for environmental justice and advance the right to a healthy environment for all. We take on the big environmental battles: cases in which we can empower local communities, have an enduring impact, set powerful precedents for other cases, and help improve policy and practice across the country.

The Senior Researcher: Climate Finance and Sustainability will be part of the Climate Finance Fellowship, a pilot initiative providing pathways for finance professionals to transition to climate finance careers with the goal of accelerating organizations leading the energy transition financing movement in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In addition to your position at CER, as a Fellow you will benefit from climate change, energy finance, and leadership development training, as well as building your global network of likeminded professionals. Some international travel may also be required. IREX, a global non-profit that has supported more than 50,000 Fellows over 50 years, will implement the fellowship and provide ongoing support to you and your host organization.

About the Job

The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) is looking for a senior researcher to join our Corporate Accountability and Transparency team. Based in Johannesburg or Cape Town, this position is for a researcher with a strong background in economics and finance, with a commitment to advancing environmental rights and climate justice.

The ideal candidate should have a keen interest in engaging with the South African government, multinational corporations, as well as private and public finance institutions, in relation to their role in the Just Transition and within the climate finance landscape. The candidate should appreciate and recognise the role which climate finance and alternative economic models should and could play in bringing about broader systems change for people and the planet. Therefore, a willingness to explore different finance mechanisms and economic models that go beyond traditional and established thinking and theory would be valued. An understanding of and experience in public finance would also be beneficial.

Key Responsibilities

  • Programme implementation: Supporting the objectives of the Programme in ensuring delivery against the CER’s strategic objectives; reporting, recording and sharing learning for systemic change; and supporting strategic and inclusive leadership to the programme team;

  • Strategic litigation: Supporting the programme’s strategic litigation for communities and civil society organisations in line with CER’s litigation strategy and priorities by conducting desktop and, where appropriate/necessary, fieldwork research;

  • Legal research and advocacy: Providing research and input into the programme’s advocacy and engagement with regulators, corporates, and other stakeholders that impact corporate accountability, in order to achieve strategic change and improved practice; researching and drafting evidence-based reports in support of the programme’s strategic objectives; providing input into draft environmental, social, and governance policies and legislation;

  • Strategic communications: Supporting the development of communications plans for the programme, bearing in mind the objectives of the programme;

  • Human resources and talent management: Supporting the work of any other staff in the programme team; and working to strengthen and celebrate diversity and inclusion in the programme team;

  • Networking and empowerment: Conducting in depth stakeholder mapping and research and building and supporting networks of partners and clients, including affected communities and community organisations, and supporting and participating training of activists;

  • General: Generally contributing to the reputation, institutional strength and resilience, strategic development, and wellbeing of the organisation;

  • Diversity, inclusion and transformation: CER aims to build a diverse, inclusive and transformative culture, and we therefore expect all staff to participate in and work towards this goal.


  • A degree in finance or economics or an equivalent qualification and a minimum of five years working experience at a senior level in the area of sustainable finance, climate finance and/or economics. Experience in development and sustainable finance and a keen understanding of public finance institutions and the international finance architecture would be an added benefit.

  • Excellent research and writing skills, with a perfectionist eye for detail.

  • A sensitivity to social issues and the needs of communities impacted by environmental degradation and injustice.

  • Good public speaking skills (note that CER supports staff development through specialised public speaking training).

  • Solid knowledge of Microsoft Office, with advanced Power Point/presentation skills.

  • Excellent networking skills, and strong capabilities in building support amongst a wide range of stakeholders, including community based organisations.

  • A commitment to high-quality client service.

  • A passion for social and environmental justice.

  • A commitment to diversity, inclusion and transformation.

To apply

Must be legally eligible to work full time in South Africa. View the full JD on Action Appointments’ website for all details.

In order to apply, email your application by Monday 23rd October 2023 to

Image by William Bossen
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