Employer interview with Global Witness

Continuing our ‘Work for UN Sustainable Development Goals’ series, we take some time this week to speak with Krystle Williams, HR Manager at Global Witness, about the critical work her organization does to support worldwide campaigns and drive efforts towards a more just, equal planet in the face the climate crisis and a global epidemic of human rights abuse. Not only does Krystle give us some helpful tips and resources for you to use in your next ethical job search, but we discuss the culture and people behind Global Witness, and what it takes to drive success in one of the world’s most exciting NGOs. 

EJS: To start, can you tell us a bit more about Global Witness and the work that you do? 
KW: Absolutely. Global Witness is a non-governmental organisation that campaigns for a more sustainable, just and equal planet. We fight for forests and biodiversity to thrive, fossil fuels to stay in the ground and for corporations to prioritise the interests of people and the planet. We highlight the injustice of those disproportionately affected by the climate crisis: people in the global south, indigenous communities and communities of colour, women and younger generations and hold corporations and governments accountable for protecting and listening to their citizens. We also campaign for the online world to be free from misinformation and hate.


EJS: That sounds incredible. Following on from this, can you talk a bit more about which UN Sustainable Development Goal is important to your company’s mission, and why? Also, what impact does your organization have in this area? 

KW: Our UN goal is focused on Climate Action. Our ambition is to bring in a new economic landscape in which people and planet take priority over profit-making. This means setting new global standards on the way companies and governments behave so they always put the environment and human rights above their bottom line. 

In terms of impact, we are part of a growing and powerful movement which is campaigning to keep fossil fuels in the ground, end the deforestation of climate critical forests, introduce new laws to hold all corporations (including financial institutions) to account for their impact on people and planet, to make digital spaces free from hate and climate disinformation, and to protect and support the campaigns of land and environmental defenders who are persecuted and even killed in their efforts to safeguard their land and community. 

You can read more about our campaigns here: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/about-us/annual-report-2020-time-climate-revolution/#campaigns 

In achieving a more sustainable, equitable and green future, we are allies with climate activists, community leaders, land and environmental defenders and young campaigners calling for an end to the global paralysis of world leaders in the face of the devastation being wrought by global warming.


EJS: We are almost halfway through the 2030 Agenda set for the UN SDGs in 2015. In your opinion, what progress has been made since 2015 and what key actions still need to be taken?

KW: Since 2015, we have seen the climate emergency rise to the top of many political agendas for the first time. A powerful climate movement has also developed which is not content with warm words or pledges that date far into the future. They want action – they want it now and they want it to be radical! 
There were some promising announcements at COP26, particularly on deforestation. As ever, however, the devil is in the detail, and we were disappointed that so many of the necessary commitments we need to make significant change remained voluntary. 
Elsewhere, we have seen progress on important new legislation at an EU level to tackle deforestation and make companies accountable for deforestation in their supply chains, as well as a potentially landmark new law that would make all corporates operating across Europe accountable for their impact on people and planet. We are working hard to ensure Governments don’t simply expand their support for fossil gas, an incredibly environmentally devastating fuel, as they phase down coal and oil, and want to see the rights of all climate activists, particularly those from indigenous or forests communities, respected. 
The world is waking up to the climate crisis. Now we need the action from world leaders to match the scale of the challenge ahead.


EJS:  We couldn’t agree more. Moving on now, we’d like to know a bit more about working with your organization. Here at Ethical Jobseeker, we support jobseekers who want to “Use your skills to make a difference”. With that in mind, could you firstly give us an idea around some of the specialist roles you recruit within Global Witness? 

KW: Of course. Some of the specialist roles we look out for include:

• Senior Global Policy Advisor
• Senior Investigator
• Senior Philanthropy Manager
• Senior Campaigner
• Head of New Business
• Head of Grants
• Digital Manager
• Campaign Strategy Lead
• Campaigner / Investigator
• Project Accountant
• Communications Assistant


EJS: Great. And what about general business or support roles? 

KW: We recruit for a range of general business or support roles from Finance through to Operations and HR.


EJS: In general, what qualities or attributes do you look for in a candidate that is thinking about applying for any of these roles?

KW: In terms of values and attributes, it is important for all of our colleagues to:

• be someone who is inspired by our vision to end climate destruction. 
• be someone who embodies our values of courage, kindness, collaboration, and inclusion and belonging
•  show an understanding of the complexities of culture, narrative and sensitivities of different issues in different environments.
• have the ability to reflect on and investigate their own biases and how these show up in their work.
• work collaboratively and communicate effectively with colleagues across Global Witness to collectively deliver our mission, vision, values and aims.
• demonstrate a strong commitment to creating an inclusive, equal and diverse workplace; In particular, a willingness to participate in Global Witness’ racial justice and broader diversity and inclusion journey.
• respond to challenges, explores new ideas and takes initiative in all aspects of teamwork.  


EJS: And for those candidates who might want to find out more about the industry, issues and areas you specialize in, can you recommend any resources? 

KW: There are a range of resources out there, but I would personally recommend any of the following to get to grips with the issues we deal with as an organisation: 
- Climate Home News: https://www.climatechangenews.com/  
- Inside Climate News: https://insideclimatenews.org/ 
- Climate Outreach: https://climateoutreach.org/  
- The Ecologist (broader than climate): https://theecologist.org/  
- IPCC reports https://www.ipcc.ch/reports/ 
- Atmos: https://atmos.earth/ 
- UN Environment Programme 
- UN Human Rights (OHCHR and climate change) 
- Carbon Brief (covering latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy) 


EJS: Ethical Jobseeker attracts candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds. What would be the best advice you can give to those just starting out in their careers? 

KW: Do your research on the organisation regardless of the role you are applying for. Ensure you know your area of interest and tailor your CV and cover letter to the job you are applying for. We strongly recommend that your cover letter does not exceed two pages.  If you’re applying for a role in campaigns, have a look at our recent work and consider what you think we’ve done well and also what you would have done differently.  Think about examples of how you demonstrate our values. 
The application stage is also an opportunity for you to get to know the organisation, so if you make it to the interview, come prepared with questions that are both insightful, challenging and thought provoking.


EJS: And what about those who are considering changing careers? 

KW: Highlight and help us understand where you envision yourself and how your skills and experience can be transferred into the new career opportunity.


EJS: For those candidates considering working with you, what can you tell us about the culture at Global Witness? What is good and what are you working on? 

KW: We are friendly & professional. We value transparency and therefore create spaces large and small across the organisation to speak openly about our successes and failures. We encourage internal and external collaborations, innovation, and the courage to be open to new ideas that help our personal and professional development. We are working on increasing diversity and equality through internal feedback, updating and creating new and more inclusive policies and investing in the work of our DEI Advisory group.


EJS: And finally, looking forward, what are Global Witness’ plans for the future? Are there any exciting projects coming up? 

KW: 2022 is an important year for Global Witness as we work together to create our next 3-year strategy.  We’re continuing to find our role in the climate space and building on the impact we had in 2021. We’re building on the DEI journey we’ve taken over the last three years with more work to meet our ambition of making GW a truly diverse and inclusive place to work. Finally, this is probably the same for many organisations, but we’ve recently moved to a hybrid working model and so in 2022 we are prioritising developing the skills people need to work in a hybrid environment effectively to make sure it’s a success. 
We are currently growing our fundraising team to deliver an ambitious fundraising strategy. With that in mind, we encourage those interested to check our website and LinkedIn regularly for further updates on new career opportunities.

Global Witness are recruiting now on Ethical Jobseeker. To learn more and apply, click here. 
To find out more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, click here.