Work with us: Operations Director [closed] | Sustainable Coastlines

Operations Director

Job Description

Love our coastlines? Want to play a key role in protecting and regenerating them? Are you an organisational guru who ensures balls aren’t dropped and delivery happens on time every time? Would you like to be the nurturer of culture and people development within our organisation? Do you have fantastic interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence up the wazoo and an ability to think expansively while managing important details in the here and now? This is the job you’ve been waiting for!

Sustainable Coastlines is a multi-award winning, strictly-a-political New Zealand charity, established in April 2009. We have a proud history of successfully designing and executing large scale, environmental programmes across New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Since establishment, we have educated over 220,000 people, motivated more than 100,000 volunteers to remove over 1.6 million litres of rubbish from our coastlines., and we have planted over 200,000 trees to clean up our waterways.

We’re looking for a new member of our leadership team to head our operations whanau. Reporting into the CEO, you will also ensure that we have the frameworks and processes in place to maximise productivity across the organisation. You will ensure the Flagship Education Centre is an exemplar of sustainability for others to follow and the heart of our organisation, enabling the delivery of our programmes, education, training and events. These core responsibilities will empower the charity to effectively deliver on its purpose, increase its impact and ensure the financial sustainability and future growth of the organisation.

Come join our mission for “Beautiful Beaches, Healthy Waters and Inspired People.” We need a passionate person who loves our coastlines and cares about the communities around them. If you want to work in an exciting, fast-paced non-profit, then we’d love to hear from you.

How to Apply

Email your CV and cover letter to Josh Borthwick: [email protected], by 13 December 2020

Job Category: Environment / Conservation. Job Type: Full-Time. Job Salary: 80,000 – 100,000.

Sustainable Coastlines has won the Tech for Good Award at the 2020 Sustainable Business Awards held on 19 November, in a continuation of triumphs this year for its innovative and trail-blazing programme, Litter Intelligence.

The Sustainable Business Awards are New Zealand’s longest-standing sustainability awards, now in their 18th year. The awards recognise and celebrate success in sustainability. The Tech for Good Award is presented to a technological initiative designed for social or environmental change. 

“We are incredibly proud of our team’s work growing the Litter Intelligence programme”, says Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Camden Howitt. “From humble beginnings we are now monitoring over 180 beaches around Aotearoa, and counting. This award continues to build on the scientific credibility of our work and motivate us to keep pushing for bigger and better solutions for litter. Kia ora to the Sustainable Business Network for this Tech for Good Award recognition; it is a major testament to the importance of this mahi. The SDGs are a brilliant blueprint to work towards and we’re honoured to be contributing through our now ‘award-winning’ Litter Intelligence programme”.

Of the win, the Sustainable Business Awards judges commented, Sustainable Coastlines has developed NZ’s first scientifically-rigorous national litter database to determine how much litter is on NZ beaches. It engages citizen scientists and works with government. More than just analysing data, the initiative is focused on behaviour change. The technology is strong, the impact is clear and there is great clarity of focus. This is a home-grown success story with the potential to go global.”

Litter Intelligence programme manager, Shawn Elise Tierney, highlighted the invaluable contribution of community efforts, saying, “We’re humbled to accept this award on behalf of all the citizen scientists around Aotearoa who are contributing to Litter Intelligence. We wouldn’t be here without the many volunteers who mobilise their communities to turn rubbish into helpful data to inspire behaviour change. The tech has been a great tool for uniting individual efforts nationwide.”

Launched in 2018, Litter Intelligence is New Zealand’s first national beach litter database. It is a long-term initiative to help solve the plastic-pollution problem and uses innovative, open-source technology to collect data, provide powerful insights and inspire action. Litter Intelligence is helping to build a better understanding of the problem, and has already been used for individual actions, community-led solutions, policy decision-making and environmental reporting.

Sustainable Coastlines engages with communities around the country and thoroughly trains citizen scientists to collect data on litter while simultaneously inspiring solutions through its nationwide school education programmes and interactive website.

The data collection methodology is based on United Nations guidelines and was co-designed alongside the Ministry for the Environment, Stats NZ and the Department of Conservation. The detailed training, combined with user-friendly technology, allows environmental data to be submitted by communities at the highest standard, so it can be used by government agencies for national and international reporting, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Heeding the urgent call to action is the Litter Intelligence programme whose ironclad data is already making quite the contribution to the SDGs as mentioned in Sustainability Sciences’ article Mapping citizen science contributions to the UN sustainable development goals, earlier this year. It acknowledges citizen science as an exciting new reliable source for acquiring scientific data and states that citizen science has the potential to contribute to a whopping 76 indicators (33%) of the 244 total SDG indicators — currently, citizen scientists contribute to only five indicators. 

“We’re incredibly proud of the team effort that is Litter Intelligence”, says Howitt. “Out of the five indicators citizen scientists currently contribute to, SDG 14.1.1 (floating plastic debris density) is one of these, due in no small part to our Litter Intelligence team and the ongoing efforts of our citizen scientists in New Zealand”.

Showcasing additional Litter Intelligence findings, Howitt presented in mid October at the ‘Contribution of Citizen Science Data to Monitoring the SDGs’ virtual session as part of the Knowledge for Change: A decade of Citizen Science (2020-2030) in support of the SDGs Conference, held in Berlin. Howitt also contributed as a speaker in the session ‘Integrating Citizen Science into the Official SDG Monitoring Mechanism’ at the United Nations World Data Forum on 20 October 2020.

The Tech for Good Award is the culmination of the year’s successes for Litter Intelligence, a programme that is well positioned to scale up and take on new challenges in the new year.

For the list of winners and commendations for the 2020 Sustainable Business Awards go to:

If you’re interested in learning more about the Litter Intelligence programme or becoming a citizen scientist, please visit . If you want to support Sustainable Coastlines, please consider becoming a member or making a donation to ensure the charity organisation can continue the critical work of protecting the coastlines and waterways of Aotearoa. 

For enquiries and interviews, contact:


Camden Howitt, Co-Founder and Programmes Director

[email protected] mb 021 985 701


Shawn Elise Tierney, Litter Intelligence Programme Manager

[email protected] mb 022 410 8340

Recycling Week NZ is about much more than just bottles, cans, plastic and paper – the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) is encouraging New Zealanders to rummage through their household drawers and recycle their old mobile phones. 

The TCF manages the nationwide not-for-profit mobile phone recycling scheme RE:MOBILE that is supported by 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone. 

“While most of us are in the habit of recycling our bottles, cans, plastic and paper, when it comes to other less conventional waste streams (and in particular e-waste), people may still be unaware that there are environmentally responsible disposal options available to them,” said Geoff Thorn, TCF CEO. 

“There’s no reason these days mobile phones should end up in landfill (where they pose environmental risks). RE:MOBILE is accessible to all New Zealanders and we urge Kiwis to take the time out in Recycling Week to do a spring clean out of your drawers … it’s likely you’ll find an old unwanted phone or two.” 

Thorn suspects there may be hundreds of thousands of discarded mobile phones sitting around in people’s homes: “It’s all too easy to shove an old phone into a drawer to keep as a ‘just in case’ spare, but often it will never be used again.” 

RE:MOBILE works alongside its charity partner Sustainable Coastlines. More than 548,000 mobile phones have been donated since the RE:MOBILE scheme was accredited in 2014.

For every phone that is received today, money is donated to Sustainable Coastlines – a charity which works to protect New Zealand’s waterways and coastlines. The scheme has donated over $152,000 to Sustainable Coastlines since we established this relationship in 2016. 

“The funding that we have received to date has enabled us to plant over 14,600 trees in waterway regeneration projects across New Zealand. These plants act as a buffer zone for the surrounding land, helping to soak up pollution, provide the necessary habitats for native animals, prevent excessive nutrient runoff and sequester carbon,” said Stephanie Vercoe, Sustainable Coastlines Strategic Partnerships Director. 

The RE:MOBILE scheme is free of charge, easy for consumers to access and will take any mobile phone, regardless of condition. Consumers can take their unwanted phones to any 2degrees, Spark, Vodafone or Noel Leeming retail stores along with other drop off locations. If preferred, there is also the option to post to a freepost address. 

Phones collected by RE:MOBILE are completely cleaned of any data and either refurbished and on-sold (extending the life of the phone) or are dismantled and recycled for parts. Over 95 percent of the materials in the phone are able to be recycled. 

To find out more about RE:MOBILE and mobile phone recycling (including how to remove your data) go to 

Litter Intelligence Programme Administrator

Job Description

Position Title:​ Litter Intelligence Programme Administrator Reporting Manager:​ Litter Intelligence Programmes Manager Position Location:​ Auckland, New Zealand
Position Type: ​Fixed term, part-time (0.5 FTE)
Start Date:​ October 2020
End Date: ​May 2021
Remuneration:​ $45,000 (pro-rated) plus benefits.

The purpose of this position is:
1. To effectively support the on-the-ground running of the Litter Intelligence programme through administrative duties.
2. To support the development of novel verification, recording and reporting systems.
3. To report on and contribute to the refinement of the Litter Intelligence Program as a whole.
4. To assist with the delivery of other Sustainable Coastlines activities under the Love Your Coast and Love Your Water programmes and perform administrative tasks where required.

The Litter Intelligence Programme (LI) is a core service managed by Sustainable Coastlines. Though currently still in development, in 2020 it will rapidly see uptake in schools and other groups across the country. The LI programme, which sees nationwide citizen scientists report litter data from around the country, now requires a centralised administrator to function effectively.

Primary Responsibilities

● Support our other LI staff in administrative duties, such as Salesforce reporting, budget tracking, and verification of surveys.
● Maintain the Expressions of Interest register and field inquiries from potential & existing monitoring groups
● Assist with tracking programme evaluation surveys.
● Schedule working group meetings, distribute communications, and assemble meeting materials.
● Assist in project reporting and generating resources.
● Be responsible for administrative tasks within the Learning Management System and Admin Platform.
● Prepare and send out LI kits.
● Create website & facebook event listings and share across regional networks.
● Book travel, arrange catering & track expenses.

Your responsibility is to keep the cogs turning and the communications complete & timely. You support the Operations team to promote events, manage registrations, report on impact, keep to budget, meet deadlines, and respond to inquiries or issues in a timely manner. You support the delivery of thorough & personal communications to citizen scientists, educators, and stakeholders, including sending out kits & generating resources as needed. You support regional events through arranging travel & workshop details, including creating event pages & reaching out to potential stakeholders. Success in your role looks like an enabled network of engaged collaborators, a supported high-functioning operations team, and a complete & timely schedule of impact & budget reporting and verified surveys.

There will also be an expectation to be involved with the Love Your Coast and Love Your Water programmes in an on-the-ground capacity when and where required.

How to Apply

Please apply by way of cover letter and CV to Shawn Elise Tierney at [email protected]

Job Category: Environment / Conservation. Job Type: Part-Time. Job Salary: 20,000 – 40,000.
Closes October 2, 2020

Funding Analyst and Grant Writer

Job Description

Love our coastlines? Want to play a key role in protecting and regenerating them? Are you detail-oriented, passionate, and damn good at writing funding applications? This is the job you’ve been waiting for!

Sustainable Coastlines is a multi-award winning, strictly-a-political New Zealand charity, established in February 2008. We have a proud history of successfully designing and executing large scale, environmental projects across New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Since establishment, we have educated over 220,000 people, motivated more than 100,000 volunteers to remove over 1.6 million litres of rubbish from our coastlines., and we have planted over 200,000 trees to clean up our waterways.

We’re looking for a new team member on a fixed-term 3-month contract to help identify, research, prioritise and draft programme funding opportunities, primarily through grant applications. Alongside this work, you will also identify, research, prioritise and draft strategic award applications to build credibility for and confidence in our programmes. These core responsibilities will enable the charity to effectively deliver on its mission, increase its impact and ensure the financial sustainability and future growth of the organisation.

Get in quick, the deadline for applications is 11pm, Sunday 04 October 2020.

Come join our mission for “Inspired People, Healthy Waters and Beautiful Beaches”, we need a passionate person who loves our coastlines and cares about the communities around them. If you want to work in an exciting, fast-paced non-profit, then we’d love to hear from you.

How to Apply

Email your CV and cover letter to Camden Howitt, [email protected] by 11pm, Sunday 04 October 2020.

Job Category: Environment / Conservation. Job Type: Contract. Job Salary: 60,000 – 80,000.
Closes October 4, 2020

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been working with PlayStation NZ on a new game called Pick Up Quick! It’s designed to raise awareness about littering and reinforce the importance of keeping our beautiful beaches clean. The game is set at some of our favourite beaches — Nelson’s Tāhunanui Beach and Kapiti Island’s Tokahaki Point.

It’s your job to pick up as much litter as possible and compare what you collect with real-life data from Litter Intelligence litter audits. You can play Pick Up Quick! in DREAMS on PS4.

Watch the video below or visit this link for more info.

Today, major plans to tackle problem plastics were announced; arguably the government’s most significant steps yet. The proposals are to phase-out hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene packaging and oxo-degradable plastic products, as well as seven single-use plastic items; plastic straws, drink stirrers, produce bags, tableware (e.g. plastic plates, bowls, cutlery) and non-compostable fruit stickers. See the full government press release below.

This will be a massive win for our overflowing landfills and stacked transfer stations, for our beaches, oceans, rivers, lakes, and for the culture, communities, and wildlife that are inextricably connected to these places. We’re extremely proud to have played our part: engaging communities and raising awareness around Aotearoa on plastics in the environment, helping people scale-up solutions, and collecting detailed data through our Litter Intelligence programme. These findings — referenced throughout the consultation docs — provided key evidence to prioritise this proposal.

We’re grateful to all involved in getting us closer to coastlines and waterways the way they should be: litter-free.

Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items

12 August 2020

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.

The proposals are to phase-out:

  • some hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene packaging and oxo-degradable plastic products
  • seven single-use plastic items, including plastic straws, drink stirrers, produce bags, tableware (e.g. plastic plates, bowls, cutlery) and non-compostable fruit stickers.

These proposals are part of a consultation document ‘Reducing the impact of plastic on our environment’ launched today.

“Plastic has become one of our generation’s greatest environmental challenges,” said Eugenie Sage.

“The level of plastic pollution in the oceans is unacceptable.  It is distressing that birds, fish, whales and other marine mammals die from eating plastic which did not need to be made in the first place. Phasing out hard to recycle and single use plastics helps reduce plastic waste and pollution and will improve our recycling system.

“Government is taking a leadership role in setting a clear direction and providing certainty for industry and the public on managing and minimising plastic waste.

“To reduce marine pollution and waste to landfill we can identify what plastic products we really need, phase out unnecessary and unrecyclable plastics, and ensure others are designed and made so that we can recover and reuse the materials in them.

“New Zealanders want urgent change in the area of plastics. We saw that with the support for banning single use plastic bags, which has meant 1.1 billion fewer plastic bags ending up in landfills or the ocean.

“I am confident that as a country we can tackle the challenges around problem plastics,” said Eugenie Sage.

The proposals include provision for people who need straws due to a disability, so that they can still access them.

The Associate Minister made the announcement at an event in Auckland to kick start ecostore’s bottle recall scheme, which is being supported by a $200,000 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund

The grant will help ecostore to create New Zealand’s first high-density (HDPE) closed loop packaging return programme.

The project involves educating and motivating people to drop off their used ecostore bottles at their local school or other collection points, such as specialty grocery stores.

From there, bottles will be collected, ground down, sterilised and recycled for use in the manufacture of new bottles.

“Businesses like ecostore show how it’s possible to stand up against single-use and find new ways of doing things. Ecostore is demonstrating how businesses, with the support of Government, can help with recovering and reusing materials.”

Today, the Government is:

  • Opening public consultation on proposals to phase out certain hard-to-recycle plastics and seven single-use plastic items.
  • Releasing its response to the report “Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand” by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Juliet Gerrard in December 2019. The Government’s detailed response includes commitments to:
    • Investigate how we can improve the depth and accessibility of data on plastics.
    • Develop a plastics research agenda and stimulate innovation.
    • Support education initiatives, sectors, businesses and communities to take action on plastics.
    • Develop guidelines for government agencies to encourage more sustainable use of plastics during procurement processes.
    • Better coordinate and leverage international connections to support our plastics agenda, and Pacific neighbours in their plastics management.

Eugenie Sage said today’s announcement of the Government’s response to “Rethinking Plastics” and the release of the “Reducing the impact of plastic on our environment” consultation document built on the significant progress in reducing waste over the last three years.

“Our vision is to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and transition to a future with on-shore resource recovery infrastructure and high performing kerbside recycling systems critical to addressing our rubbish record on waste.

“Other work includes a $124 investment in new on-shore recycling and reprocessing infrastructure, and phasing in an expanded and increased waste levy scheme to provide on-going investment in expanding our resource recovery infrastructure to transition New Zealand to a low waste and lower carbon, more circular economy.

“Today’s announcements are another step to achieving these goals.”

More information can be found here:

We continue to grow both in impact and reputation. To continue this growth and further scale our successes, we are proud to announce the appointment of Josh Borthwick in a newly created CEO position, and a revitalised leadership team.

In appointing the new CEO, chairwoman Emma Dent noted the high calibre of candidates that interviewed for the position, crediting the existing team, “Impressive leaders want to be part of this cause, and it’s because of the vision, passion, and hard work of our founders and the team’s efforts in creating a tight knit and hard-working culture that delivers impressive impact.”

“The board and I were looking for a CEO who could lead Sustainable Coastlines to a whole new level. And with the appointment of Josh Borthwick, we believe we have got just that.”

Borthwick comes from a position at Stuff’s executive team, leading their advertising business with a team of 156. “Josh is an accomplished leader who cares deeply about his people and supports them to be their best; he’s absolutely passionate about sustainability; he’s successfully led through challenging times and has an extensive network of contacts complementary to our own. Everyone we spoke to about Josh talked about what a calm, capable and thoughtful leader he is.”

Above: Josh Borthwick, new Sustainable Coastlines CEO.
Top: Sustainable Coastlines staff and board members, November 2019.

In addition to Borthwick’s appointment, Sustainable Coastlines’ leadership team structure has been strengthened with new roles to support the continued development, success, culture and capacity for impact of the charity. 

Co-founder Camden Howitt takes lead on the charity’s core programme delivery, as the new programmes director. Since its inception, Howitt has designed, delivered and scaled-up Sustainable Coastlines’ programmes and grass-roots impacts around Aotearoa. Dent adds, “Camden’s commitment and passion for the kaupapa, as well as his knowledge and experience in delivering our mahi mean he will have a huge impact in this role. As co-founder he will continue to use his impressive public speaking skills to further advance our mission.” 

Interim general manager Fletcher Sunde assumes the position of operations director, motivating the wider team and ensuring alignment with strategic and operational plans. Fletcher is credited by the team for his calm and perceptive management and his work keeping the ship steady in these turbulent times. Dent says, “Fletcher has brought a new energy and focus to improving the way we do things at Sustainable Coastlines.”.

Also joining the leadership team is strategic partnerships director Stephanie Vercoe, whose relationship-building and fundraising prowess are invaluable to Sustainable Coastlines, especially in this challenging economic climate. The board credits her with being innovative and highly motivated in the partnerships space and looks forward to working more closely with her.

We have just kicked off our winter tree planting tour, providing critical support for freshwater quality while helping to solve some of the loneliness and isolation brought to light by the Covid lock-down.

The recent Helen Clark Foundation report Alone Together highlights the impact loneliness is having on New Zealanders. Two of the report’s recommendations are to strengthen communities and to create friendly streets and neighbourhoods. Through bringing people together with a shared purpose and engaging community at a grass-roots level, Sustainable Coastlines’ tree planting events are already helping to alleviate the problem.

“We’re excited to be back working with local communities, connecting people for a common cause and reducing the loneliness that a lot of us have faced over lock-down,” says Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Camden Howitt.

“Planting trees alongside our waterways provides a lot of tangible impacts like reducing erosion and sedimentation, increasing biodiversity, capturing carbon and filtering excess nutrients. But our events also connect people with nature, allowing them to work collectively to tackle environmental challenges in their own backyard. Our volunteers continually feedback to us that they’ve felt an increased connection through this shared experience, giving them a sense of belonging and purpose.”

Above and top: volunteers planting at Puhinui Reserve in Auckland as part of Sustainable Coastlines’ Love Your Water tour on 13 June 2020.

The tree planting tour, dubbed ‘Love Your Water 2020’, is running at a time when New Zealanders continue to unite against Covid-19. In collaboration with key supporters ANZ, Vector and Pitstop, the charity already has planting events planned throughout July and August, and volunteers are invited to register on the Sustainable Coastlines events page. More dates are to be added soon.

As well as tackling loneliness, planting trees enables people to be part of a solution to what may seem an insurmountable problem. Of New Zealanders surveyed, 76% said they were extremely or very concerned about the pollution of lakes and rivers. These concerns are not unfounded, with the Ministry for the Environment Report, Our freshwater 2020 painting a picture of declining water quality and habitat for native fish in many of the country’s freshwater systems.

We want to get as many people as possible involved in this positive solution both for their own health and the health of our waterways.


Current tree-planting days:

11 July 2020 — Puhinui Reserve, Auckland.

25 July 2020 — Waitangi, Far North.

8 August 2020 — Maketu, Bay of Plenty.

15 August 2020 — Porirua, Wellington.

22 August 2020 — Coutts Island Rd, Christchurch.

8 September 2020 — Punakaiki, West Coast.

Media? Download the press release here.

For enquiries and interviews, contact Camden Howitt;
[email protected], mb 021 985 701

For high-res images or video content, contact Helen Adams-Blackburn; [email protected] org, mb 021 022 05352

Sam Judd co-founded Sustainable Coastlines in 2008 with the mission of enabling people to look after the coastlines and waterways that they love. A pioneer in the war against plastic and waterways restoration over the past 12 years, he has led and built the charity into a high-impact and much-loved organisation. The team has attracted the support and involvement of hundreds of thousands of volunteers and collected a string of high-profile awards in Aotearoa/NZ and internationally.

Announcing Sam’s departure, Sustainable Coastlines Board Chair Emma Dent said the Board was sorry to lose Sam but is excited for what lies ahead for him with the new project and ongoing contribution he will make to Aotearoa.

“We thank Sam for his single-minded drive, passion and vision in establishing and growing the impact of Sustainable Coastlines, which is now an inspiration to so many. We know he will continue to be invested in the organisation’s success for life,” says Dent, “and are delighted to be supporting the next chapter of his journey.”

Sam is leaving Sustainable Coastlines to establish Te Mahere Whakauka (The Hope Project), a large-scale project focused on regenerating at-risk communities, land and waterways through job creation. The Sustainable Coastlines Board is supporting Sam to continue his legacy of impact by helping with seed-funding this new project. They also plan to collaborate on restoration and capacity development activities going forward. Launch of this is timely, having been brought forward under urgency as the government calls for shovel-ready recovery packages in the wake of Covid-19.

Commenting on his departure from Sustainable Coastlines, Sam said he is enormously proud of the organisation’s achievements, impact and the great talent possessed by the trustees and 16-strong operational team.

“For many years, I have publicly said that I am trying to put myself out of a job,” says Sam, “And now we have done that. I am confident that this kaupapa is in great hands and I leave knowing it will go from strength to strength.”

“I want to thank the Board, the team, our terrific partners and network of volunteers for supporting me over the years and want to let everyone know that I am committed to continuing to contribute to the Sustainable Coastlines cause for life,” he says.

Above: Sam in his element. Top: Sam Judd in 2010, cleaning up the Wellington coastline with students from his old school, Clifton Terrace Model School.

For enquiries, interviews, high-res images or video content, contact Steph Vercoe; mb 0274912058

For info on Te Mahere Whakauka / The Hope Project, contact Sam Judd; [email protected] mb 021 058 9349