Director of Research

Impact · Oakland, California
Department Impact
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Experienced

Fair Trade USA is leading the charge toward sustainable development and corporate social responsibility by forming fair and honest partnerships across the globe. We believe in community, we’re excited about change, and we hire driven, talented change makers who share our vision. 

Founded in 1998, Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. We’re a four-time winner of Fast Company’s "Social Capitalist of the Year" award and the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and have been recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, Ashoka, the Klaus Schwab Foundation, and the World Economic Forum. 

We are continuing to grow and deepen our global impact, and to do so, we are hiring for our expanding team. We are based in Oakland, California, with a global presence and team members around the world. Positions may be based at our Oakland, California (Bay Area) location, or remotely.  

Position Summary

The Director of Research will play a critical role in Fair Trade USA’s (FTUSA) work to define, measure, and communicate about the impact created through the deployment of the FTUSA modelThey will help to build a Research Center of Excellence and will be an individual contributor leader in our organization. 


Reporting to the Chief Impact Officer, the role is an exciting new opportunity within the organization, reflecting our continued growth as a global leader in empowering sustainability, economic and environmental justiceThe Director of Research will use their expertise in research development and research management to develop and lead FTUSA’s research priorities in support of the organization’s growth and impact strategy and will be a role model in advancing an inclusive, collaborative and diverse workplace.   


The position will lead multiple areas in partnership with the Chief Impact Officer and the Impact Department: 


  • Lead the development of a multi-year research agenda related to the impact FTUSA has on consumers, businesses, and producers.
  • Partner with external researchers to design research that incorporates appropriate qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.
  • Project manage external research projects, leveraging multiple partnerships to achieve agreed research objectives.
  • Partner with FTUSA Marketing and Commercial teams to develop commercially valuable publications leveraging the research and research findings.
  • Develop and implement learning loops that will facilitate internal and external learnings from the research conducted. 


The ideal candidate for the role will have multiple years’ experience researching the impacts of sustainable business practices on producers, businesses and consumers.  They will be a highly skilled project manager andhave a robust and holistic understanding of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies (including RCTs, quasi-experimental methods, and qualitative methods), such that they can make informed decisions on research design decisions. Experience of statistical analysis, an understanding of statistical reporting, data visualization and presentation skills are also essential.   


They must have a proven track record of successfully leading both short term and multi-year research programs in a global business context, and be a values-based, performance-driven leader.  


Primary Responsibilities 

  •  Develop the FTUSA Research Priorities and Agenda 
    • Work in partnership with the Chief Impact Officer and the Leadership Team to develop a research agenda to support the strategy of the organization. 
    • Prioritize research across consumer, business, and producer, ensuring that research is timely, credible, and that it delivers on the needs of the organization. 
  • Support Research Design and Project Manage External Research Projects  
    • Develop and implement relationships with leading academic and commercial research institutions to create a repository of impact and market research. 
    • Select most appropriate methodologies to understand outcomes and impacts of the Fair Trade model across consumer, business, and producer stakeholders. 
    • Project manage multiple research projects, across multiple topics (consumer research, market research and socioeconomic research), simultaneously.  
  • Publish Research Findings 
    • Deliver results and insights internally and externally and prepare publications accordingly.  
    • Partner with the Chief Impact Office and Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer to develop commercially valuable publications leveraging the research and research findings. 
  •  Develop and Implement the Fair Trade USA Learning Loop  
    • Design, develop, and implement a system of sharing learnings and creative ways in which to inform and teach the organization the results of research.   
    • Leverage and incorporate internal research findings under the Impact Management System. 
  • Organizational Leadership and Fundraising 
    • Support the Chief Impact Officer on strategy, operational plans, and budgets for the Impact team as needed. 
    • Approximately 15% of workstream will be dedicated to the Development (philanthropic) and Business Development Teams to develop a research trajectory that meets business and fundraising needs, as well as for funding future research opportunities. 


    Skills, Experience, & Knowledge 

    • Deep relevant experience in research management, research design and implementation in a global business context (experience in consumer, market and socioeconomic research is ideal). Anticipation of 10+ years’ or equivalent depth and range. 
    • Must have research expertise, fundamental business sense, data management fluency, and an eagerness to drive business impact through quality research.  
    • Proven research design, analytical, evaluation and methodological skills (i.e. economics, statistics, M&E). 
    • Excellent project management skills, ability to manage deliverables for multiple projects happening simultaneously. 
    • Ability to synthesize and present complex data in a simple, meaningful way, particularly using visual tools and creating presentations, and reports.  
    • Must excel at cross-functional collaboration across diverse teams, exhibit a team-player mentality and inclusiveness, display a willingness to implement new processes, and help build a research and content Center of Excellence. 
    • Experience collaborating and communicating successfully with diverse teams and cultures, with excellent writing and presentation skills.  
    • Ability to work in a flexible, yet fast-paced and deadline-oriented environment, able to meet deadlines and share progress regularly via key performance indicators.   
    • Fluent English required, other language proficiency an advantage. 
    • Familiarity with social and environmental certifications is a plus. 
    • Experience living and/or working internationally (Global South especially) an advantage. 
    • Passion for Fair Trade USA’s mission, vision, and accomplishments  
    • Clear commitment to fostering an inclusive, diverse and equitable workplace  


    Education & Training 

    • MBA, MA, MS, or PhD in a related field such as International Development, International Business, Economics/Development Economics, or Research Management are anticipated. A combination of relevant experience and education will also be considered. 

    Technology & Software 

    • High degree of proficiency in all standard software programs including MS Office applications including Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and relevant internet applications. 
    • Preferred knowledge of either Quantitative (SPSS/STATA/R) or Qualitative (NVivo, MAXQDA, Dedoose) Analysis applications.  


    San Francisco Bay Area (Oakland), or Remote U.S.

    Our Workplace 

    At Fair Trade USA, we are a mission-driven organization and are deeply committed to fostering an environment that is built on the principles of JEDI; a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive community for all. We are committed to upholding an inclusive workplace where all people feel equally respected and valued, and where we can all thrive. We are a proud equal opportunity employer and welcome applicants from every educational background, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, national origin and ancestry, veteran status, marital or family status and disability. 

    We believe in empowering our teams to do their best work and thrive at Fair Trade USA. We offer a comprehensive compensation approach including salary, performance-based bonus and employee recognition awards, and a generous and thoughtful approach to employee benefits, including health, vision and dental insurance, comprehensive PTO, flexible and remote work opportunities, professional development, wellbeing programs and a paid sabbatical program.  Additionally, as a mission-based organization, we recognize the deep impact that can occur for our employees to travel and witness first-hand the work of our teams and producer, fisher and farming communities globally. We offer travel awards and paid global travel experiences for all colleagues. Additionally, we demonstrate our commitment to our colleagues’ growth and impact by offering a fully-paid sabbatical opportunity for employees. 

    Please be sure to add to your contact list to ensure delivery of all correspondence from us.

    Thank You

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    • Location
      Oakland, California
    • Department
    • Employment Type
    • Minimum Experience