Policy & Research Coordinator

(U.S. & Canada Program)


GAIA is a global network working towards a just and zero waste world without incineration. GAIA aims to power a transition away from our current linear and extractive economy and towards a circular system rooted in achieving environmental justice and guaranteeing people’s right to a safe and healthy environment. With our members and partners, we fight pollution and build regenerative solutions through local campaigns, shifts in policy and finance, research and communication initiatives, and movement building. We work on four primary points of intervention: incineration, zero waste, plastic, and climate. 

The Policy & Research Coordinator is a new position in the U.S. & Canada team responsible for producing critical research, leading policy advocacy, and building technical expertise on waste issues. This role extends across the work areas of the U.S. & Canada regional program, with a focus on expanding our research and policy work on incineration, chemical recycling, and cumulative impacts. You will work in close collaboration with our U.S. & Canada Regional Director to develop work areas, particularly research and policy advocacy to address environmental racism and advance jobs and economy agendas in the climate and zero waste solutions space. As a critical member of a small team, you will lead on policy and research and provide support to members through member engagement, advocacy campaigns, and communications. This position will connect you to policy advocates throughout the region and is an excellent opportunity for growth for both the right candidate and GAIA itself.

The person in this position will be excited to bring their policy advocacy experience to this field through strategic research and policy projects, including a report on climate, jobs, and the economy of zero waste and related advocacy work, aligning zero waste and climate policy work of allies in the climate justice movement and Break Free From Plastic. The Policy and Research Coordinator will solicit feedback from GAIA members on policy objectives and lead collaborative efforts to advance GAIA’s member-supported policy positions in federal and state policy space through a range of venues from legislator briefings to member lobby days. They will also be responsible for responding to increasing federal and state policy opportunities and emerging policy threats. Together with others on the GAIA team, they will provide technical support to members.

The growing U.S. & Canada program team will engage members of the GAIA U.S. & Canada regional network to lead strategic research and policy work for the benefit of the larger movement, develop collaborative communications to elevate members and themes, and connect the regional work to GAIA’s global network. The team is led by the U.S. & Canada Regional Coordinator.

Our network is grounded in the principles of environmental justice and impacted community leadership, and includes organizations, alliances, and coalitions around the country that are fighting incinerators, advocating for zero waste, and pushing for environmental and climate justice through policy and local implementation programs. We put the Jemez Principles into practice and aim to incorporate diverse voices into movement strategy and addressing environmental justice.

Key Responsibilities: Policy & Research Coordinator

  • Develop and deepen GAIA’s policy work in federal and state policy spaces on waste-to-energy, chemical recycling/plastic to fuel, cumulative impacts, and environmental justice.
  • Lead report development and research for the US/Canada program team on key issues.
  • Evaluate and respond to emerging policy threats with the goal of preventing incentives for polluting and harmful waste approaches.
  • Track policy opportunities and impactful partnerships for zero waste at state and federal levels.
  • Organize policy and research discussions in member spaces to identify and respond to threats and opportunities through collaborative campaigning.
  • Lead coordination of policy training, webinars, and development of academies for members.

In collaboration with Regional Coordinator:

  • Participate in federal and state policy spaces with allied networks.
  • Co-develop research and policy priorities.
  • Continue and expand partnerships with academic institutions.

With other GAIA team members:

  • Track opportunities to incorporate zero waste in federal policy through Just Recovery, Green New Deal, and similar frameworks.
  • Participate in GAIA cross-regional working groups, connecting team members and plans across regions.
  • Be a proactive member of the program team including planning, conducting assessments, and drafting fundraising proposals and reports. 


  • 5-7 years of policy advocacy and research experience, including 2-3 years of research experience at an academic institution or equivalent work experience at a non-profit or think tank.  An advanced degree in environmental, economic, or labor policy is preferred, but not required.
  • Ability to engage in policymaking through official channels at the federal and state level and provide testimony, as needed.
  • Experience developing critical research to inform and deliver data-driven policy research.
  • Experience working on environmental, climate, economic/social justice campaigns and/or local policy development.
  • Excellent writing skills and ability to write in a regulatory/legal context.
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to manage complicated logistics and other high-level administrative tasks.
  • Familiarity and experience using federal and state databases, such as EPA AQS, EJScreen (or CalEPA’s EJScreen), labor statistics, etc, 
  • Commitment to environmental justice principles and practices, especially in building relationships and collaboration with frontline communities and grassroots groups and other organizations.
  • Proven ability to work independently and use creative problem-solving skills in order to overcome obstacles and achieve goals, including work in a fast-paced environment where projects may have quick turnaround times.
  • Experience working with teams from diverse cultural backgrounds in a way that is sensitive to different communication styles and values community wisdom.
  • Comfort with online platforms and ability to quickly learn new digital tools.


  • Spanish language skills.
  • Has practical appreciation for other key programmatic areas for member support, such as community organizing, local policy development, strategic planning, research, and/or meeting facilitation.
  • Experience working with database management and team apps, such as Salesforce and Asana, and G-Suite platforms.


  • This position will ideally be based out of GAIA’s New York City office or Berkeley, CA, although we are willing to consider applicants with strong qualifications in another major city. We offer a competitive salary plus benefits, including health insurance, vacation, maternity/paternity leave, and other similar employment protections.
  • The salary range for this position is $65,000-75,000, depending on experience.
  • We take pride in our ability to support one another’s work in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, and look forward to introducing the successful candidate to our welcoming and highly motivated team and members.
  • We are seeking candidates who are excited to make an initial commitment of at least two years to this work. Willingness to travel is required. Remote workers should expect more frequent travel to participate in team meetings. 

GAIA is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages people of color, gender non-conforming, and LGBTQI persons to apply. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or belief, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law.

Please send a brief cover letter, resume, and three to five references to jobs@no-burn.org with the subject line “U.S. Research & Policy Coordinator Application”. Applications will be considered as received, with a priority deadline of May 19, 2021.