Stockholm Environment Institute HQ and Trase

Join our international non-profit research organisation and help create a sustainable and prosperous future for all! The Stockholm Environment Institute HQ is a dynamic expanding workplace that employs around 110 people from 28 different nationalities in an activity-based office in central Stockholm (Garnisonen), with an additional 200 employees in centres around the world.

Trase (Transparency for Sustainable Economies) is a pioneering sustainability data and intelligence initiative that reveals the connections between consumers, producers and investors, as well as the environmental and social impacts linked to global supply chains. The Trase approach draws on vast sets of production, trade, customs and financial data, for the first time laying bare the flows of globally traded commodities such as palm oil, soya, beef and cocoa at scale, as well as the flows of capital used to finance this trade. Trase is a direct response to the ambitious commitments made by leaders across sectors to achieve deforestation-free supply chains and the urgent need this creates for a breakthrough in assessing and monitoring sustainability performance. Trase is jointly led by SEI and Global Canopy with many additional partners and close collaborators. The Trase team is made up of over 40 individuals located in nine countries, brought together by enthusiasm, curiosity and drive.

The role:

SEI HQ is recruiting a highly motivated Research Fellow to lead an emerging area of research and impact within the Trase initiative on the key roles Chinese actors must play to promote sustainable supply chains. China is responsible for the largest overall share of imports in forest-risk commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil and wood pulp. Chinese actors such as commodity traders are increasingly present in production landscapes and the systemic changes needed to place commodity production and trade on a more sustainable footing are not possible without Chinese leadership. 

The high resolution of Trase’s supply chain mapping has the potential to spur effective action and underpin a step change in key forest-risk commodity sectors. We are recruiting a dedicated China-focused Research Fellow to lead Trase’s work on driving uptake and impact of Trase data and analyses in the China context and guide future activities.

Trase is committed to contributing relevant data and insights in support of existing and emerging initiatives and programmes of work in China and supporting organisations and individuals based in China. This involves working alongside and building partnerships with NGO partners present in China and Chinese research institutions, trade associations and ministries.

The role will help lead research and supply chain sustainability intelligence in the Trase team in relation to China. This includes but is not limited to assessing the impact of Chinese consumption with a focus on deforestation and related emissions, especially in the context of existing and emerging initiatives analysing the contribution of Trase to policy processes and China-relevant agendas that can foster greater supply chain sustainability and as our in-house expert, liaising regularly with Trase team members engaging with influential Chinese actors, as well as with our partners in China and elsewhere, to enhance the uptake and impact of Trase,s work.

The successful applicant will be fluent in Mandarin Chinese and knowledgeable about China’s policy environment on agricultural supply chains. Background in environmental or agricultural policy issues (preferably in relation to land-use change in the tropics) is desirable, as is proven experience in leading research work or in collaborating with stakeholders such as government actors or the private sector in China.

You will be part of a leading multinational multidisciplinary and multilingual team of experts working across the Trase initiative while also delivering on an exciting and fun project! We value diversity, inclusivity and creativity at the core of what we do and we welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds. Through this role, you will make a major contribution to the overall Trase strategy for 2021–2025 to mainstream the deployment and uptake of Trase data, analyses and methods to help transform the sustainability of agricultural commodity trade.

The Research Fellow will work in collaboration with experts across Trase, as well as in-country experts and partners in commodity producing countries across the world. There will be many opportunities to connect the work in China with developments in other consumer markets (especially Europe) and with key producer markets for China in South America and Southeast Asia.

Main responsibilities

  • Interpreting Trase data and analyses for greater uptake and use by Chinese actors with a view to meeting China’s concerns, priorities, sensitivities and supply-chain sustainability agendas. This includes not only informing but also exchanging with leading actors to help unlock the potential of the Chinese market to drive sector-wide change on the production and trade of key forest-risk commodities such as soy, beef and palm oil.
  • Contributing to Trase’s science-based thought-leadership on supply-chain sustainability as related to China-led policies and initiatives. This includes identifying entry points for influencing current agendas, including strengthening of the strategic case for action and challenges that need to be overcome.
  • Lead work by Trase to build strong research and practice partnerships with Chinese organisations, including Chinese research institutions, government agencies and companies. That includes liaising with our existing partners, as well as helping to identify and develop new partnerships. A key part of the role will be to support such partners in their understanding of Trase and independent analysis of Trase data to be able to carry out their own research using Trase.
  • Participating and presenting in policy processes and initiatives linked to the role(s) of China for greater agricultural supply chain sustainability and ending tropical deforestation.
  • Helping to develop partnerships with leading experts and practitioners outside of China to establish Trase as a leader in such a network of actors and experts dealing with the increasing role of China on the globe and in this field.
  • Presenting research and project results in meetings and international conferences.
  • Leading the publication of communication pieces, including blog posts, insights, policy briefs and peer-reviewed articles.

Who you are

You should have a strong interest in agri-food sustainability and land-use issues, ideally linked to agricultural expansion in the tropics, deforestation and commodity trade.

You are an independent thinker driven by the importance of building strong bonds of trust and respect with your co-workers. You are also passionate about working to help understand some of the major sustainability challenges the world is facing in the 21st century. You will work independently and as part of a team in a highly flexible and exciting research-and-innovation environment.

Formal qualifications and knowledge

  • PhD or MSc (or comparable degree) or equivalent professional experience in a relevant field related to one or more of the following: agricultural commodity production and trade, environmental governance or land-use change dynamics
  • Proven ability to independently process, analyse and interpret data related to land-use change, trade and environmental impacts.
  • Proven ability to apply your research to policy and practice in finding solutions to sustainability issues in either public and/or private sector
  • Proven publication record in your areas of expertise
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Fluency in written and spoken Mandarin Chinese (native speaker preferred)
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Any of the following additional skills and experiences are an advantage

  • Prior experience engaging with supply-chain or agri-food system stakeholders in the People’s Republic of China.
  • Prior experience working on ecosystem conversion due to commodity expansion, especially regarding soy, pasture, palm oil or pulp.
  • Open to learning new skills
  • Additional language skills, especially Portuguese, Spanish or Bahasa Indonesian
  • Experience working in multicultural and multilingual teams.    

Personal skills

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to build good working relationships with colleagues and partners
  • Highly structured and organized
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Able to work in fast-paced environment
  • Eager to learn and develop
  • Timely and efficient, and able to prioritize deliverables.

How to apply

We only accept applications in English that are submitted through our recruitment system. Please apply online using the button below and include:

  • Cover letter highlighting relevant qualifications and experience and why you are motivated for this position
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of publications.

You do not need to be a Swedish or EU citizen nor have a work/residence permit in order to apply for a job at SEI HQ.

Inquiries concerning the content of the position can be directed to Mairon G. Bastos Lima, Research lead for Trase (mairon.bastoslima@sei.org), and Toby Gardner, Trase Director (toby.gardner@sei.org

For inquiries concerning the recruitment process, please contact Filippa Klintberg, HR Specialist (filippa.klintberg@sei.org

About SEI

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is an independent international research institute founded in 1989. Its mission is to support decision-making and induce change towards sustainable development around the world by providing integrative knowledge that bridges science and policy in the field of environment and development. SEI was ranked as the world’s top think tank on environmental policy issues in the 2020 Global Go To Think Tanks Index compiled by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program.

SEI has around 300 employees working at research centres in seven countries around the world. SEI’s headquarters are located in Stockholm, Sweden. Additional SEI research centres are located in Colombia (SEI Latin America), Estonia (SEI Tallinn), Kenya (SEI Africa), Thailand (SEI Asia), the UK (SEI Oxford and SEI York) and US (SEI US).


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