Sustainability Officer

City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation |

Company Description

A best-in-class city that attracts best-in-class talent, Philadelphia is an incredible place to build a career. From our thriving arts scene and rich history to our culture of passion and grit, there are countless reasons to love living and working here. With a workforce of over 30,000 people, and more than 1,000 different job categories, the City of Philadelphia offers boundless opportunities to make an impact.

As an employer, the City of Philadelphia values inclusion, integrity, innovation, empowerment, and hard work above all else. We offer a vibrant work environment, comprehensive health care and benefits, and the experience you need to grow and excel. If you’re interested in working with a passionate team of people who care about the future of Philadelphia, start here.

What we offer

  • Impact – The work you do here matters to millions.
  • Growth – Philadelphia is growing, why not grow with it?
  • Diversity & Inclusion – Find a career in a place where everyone belongs.
  • Benefits – We care about your well-being.

Agency Description

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of over 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental, and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the City’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other, and to fun, physical, and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.

Job Description

Under the Direction of the Deputy Commissioner for Operations, the Operations Division is responsible for maintaining and stewarding public land and waterways as well as keeping our buildings, fields and parks, and other public assets maintained optimally so they are safe, clean and ready to use.  The Sustainability Officer is a senior level position reporting directly to the Deputy Commissioner and is responsible for program development, oversight and evaluation, supervision of unit staff, and training development.

The primary focuses of this position include, developing and directing sustainability initiatives across PPR divisions, oversight of the operational standards and inspections program for facility and grounds maintenance staff, representing PPR in cross-departmental and inter-organizational activities as related to sustainability, capturing and implementing best practices and resources to optimize operational efficiency and quality throughout the park system.


  • Conduct strategic planning towards sustainability initiatives and operational standards through collaboration with senior leadership, external consultants, and independent research
  • Serve as PPR’s primary liaison for issues related to sustainability and resilience
  • Research and introduce sustainable land and facility care practices into operational standards and implement strategies to save energy and other departmental resources
  • Coordinate the inspections to ensure that sustainable land care and facility care standards are being met
  • Facilitate professional development and annual training for staff
  • Develop and manage activities for the PPR Stormwater Maintenance Crew
  • Track the green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) inventory of stormwater management practices (SMPs) under PPR’s maintenance responsibility and manage their upkeep
  • Coordinate waste management operations for large-scale departmental events to produce Zero Waste Events through recycling, donation, food recovery, and other waste diversion practices
  • Collaborate with other City agencies and local enforcement bodies to identify, prevent, and reduce litter and illegal dumping on PPR assets
  • Produce annual, quarterly, and situational data and reports on the progress of PPR sustainability and quality control initiatives for Office of Sustainability’s GreenWorks and other audiences
  • Foster and maintain relationships with internal staff from every PPR division, as well as with external partners and stakeholders
  • Identify and pursue resources to support sustainability and quality control initiatives including grant funding, capital, operational support, and earned revenue
  • Coordinate illegal dumping prevention strategies including updated enforcement sign installation, growing the waste corral program across the system, establishing a living platform for data and reporting for illegal dumping, and applying for and managing a surveillance camera program
  • Manage quality control and site improvements at the Organic Recycling Center, including updating pricing to current market rates, improving reporting procedures, and testing the material to bring it back into compliance
  • Manage the food-composting public-private partnership, including fundraising for site improvements, and complying with the state DEP permit
  • Co-direct the development of the department’s urban wood program including fundraising
  • Oversee department-wide herbicide tracking system

Competencies, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of the concepts, methodologies, and practices used in sustainability and quality control initiatives
  • Knowledgeable of municipal parks and recreation systems
  • Ability to plan, implement, and evaluate a program
  • Skilled in leadership, organization, negotiation, team building, and related skills necessary to manage multiple projects effectively
  • Ability to plan, set objectives and goals, measure performance against goals and evaluate results
  • Ability to organize people and activities; identify opportunities for synergy and integration, execute complex processes or simplify when necessary
  • Ability to mobilize self and others for results
  • Ability to work in teams as well as independently
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to collect, process data, and generate reports
  • Ability to design presentations
  • Ability to take initiative
  • Knowledge of GIS software
  • Knowledge of web-based software and tablet devices


  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Sustainability, Landscape Design, Grounds & Facility Management, Strategic Management, or related field.
  • 3-5 years of relevant work experience developing and/or facilitating sustainability programs
  • Prior supervisory experience preferred
  • Master’s Degree preferred
  • Industry/Professional Certification preferred

Additional Information

TO APPLY: Interested candidates must submit a cover letter, references and resume.

Did you know?

  • We are a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program qualified employer
  • 25% tuition discount program for City employees (and sometimes spouses and dependents as well) in partnership with area colleges and universities
  • We offer Comprehensive health coverage for employees and their eligible dependents
  • Our wellness program offers eligibility into the discounted medical plan
  • Employees receive paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays
  • Generous retirement savings options are available

*The successful candidate must be a city of Philadelphia resident within six months of hire

Please note that effective September 1, 2021 the City of Philadelphia is requiring all new employees to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19. 

The City of Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity employer and does not permit discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, source of income, familial status, genetic information or domestic or sexual violence victim status. If you believe you were discriminated against, call the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations at 215-686-4670 or send an email to

For more information, go to: Human Relations Website:

To apply, click here.

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