Website County of San Diego

Location: San Diego, CA


Do people refer to you as a natural leader and strategic thinker? Does the organic beauty of this planet compel you to act to preserve it while working to create equity by addressing environmental injustices? We are seeking a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) to lead the County of San Diego’s new Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice (OSEJ) — someone who can coalesce the energy and passion around them to collaboratively achieve tangible outcomes for the environment and improve quality of life forfuture generations.

As the County’s focal point for sustainability, OSEJ will be actively involved in the community, listening to varied viewpoints, incorporating new ideas, addressing needs, and collaboratively identifying waysto remedy environmental injustices.

The County’s CSO will implement the County’s vision to set the standard for evidence-based regional sustainability efforts, and further develop the County’s role as a leading entity committed to long-term, meaningful sustainability.

The CSO will help achieve the County’s sustainability goals and ensure all communities benefit from measurable climate actions and the efficient use and effective protection of our natural resources as well asthe just and equitable provision of public services.

What We’re Looking For

The County of San Diego is seeking a proven executive leader who has the desire and drive to position the County, as one of the largest employers in the region, to be a known leader in sustainability by developing and managing innovative, data-driven programs that serve as a model for other areas. We are looking for a motivated Chief Sustainability Officer to be part of the first county-led regional decarbonization plan and at the forefront of innovative sustainability and environmental justice efforts. This leader will be able to align all County sustainability work and staffing throughout the enterprise to achieve County goals that improve the lives of residents and visitors, driving sustainability in our region and in our operations. They will have the ability to explain complex policy and data to the public in simple terms, as well as proven experience in engaging, embracing, and celebrating the cultures, diversity, and values of the community, with knowledge of practices that support diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency. We are looking for a candidate with demonstrated experience in the following areas:

Leadership and Collaboration

Demonstrated leadership experience to represent the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice (OSEJ) at the local, state and national levels by collaborating with representatives from various agencies, as well as internally with County executive leaders and staff, while demonstrating organizational acumen and political awareness to:

  • Build, lead, and motivate highly-performing teams to be accountable; support multiple, concurrent and complex projects, and reach challenging goals
  • Support the County’s strategic initiatives by working in partnership with County executive leaders to consider sustainability in all decisions and processes, including supporting the implementation departmental sustainability plans
  • Monitor and evaluate progress to achieving sustainability goals in partnership with County executive leadership and recommend changes in approach to succeed

Sustainability and Environmental Justice-Based programs

A commitment to environmental justice to address systemic disparities in environmental burdens, including air pollution and associated adverse health effects in communities to:

  • Identify federal and state grant opportunities to support the expansion of environmental and climate justice-based programs and activities
  • Collaborate internally with other County departments, multijurisdictional partners, and regional regulatory agencies in the administration, development and implementation, and evaluation of policies and programs pertaining to environmental and climate justice

Community Engagement

Demonstrated experience in engaging with residents and community organizations to ensure efforts are advanced to address equity in environmental and climate justice to:

  • Create and administer outreach and engagement strategies for ongoing meaningful and dynamic community engagement
  • Communicate and interact with representatives of other public and private entities; representatives of agencies, business groups, community groups; and/or environmental groups; elected officials; County executive leadership and departmental staff; and a myriad of stakeholders regarding County and departmental policies and requirements


The newly established Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice is organized within the Land Use and Environment Group and will serve as a central point of coordination for driving forward external and internal sustainability efforts. OSEJ will lead regional sustainability initiatives including bringing government, labor, business and community representatives together to achieve zero-carbon emissions by mid-century through implementation of the County’s Regional Decarbonization Framework and protecting our region’s open space, habitat, farmland, wildlife and water.

Recognizing that not all communities experience climate change equally, OSEJ will work to discover and resolve neighborhood-based inequities such as open space, tree canopy or access to local, fresh produce. This office will work with stakeholders as well as local, state, and federal agencies to support EJ solutions throughout the region by collaborating with multijurisdictional partners and regulatory agencies.

OSEJ will be responsible for identifying federal and state grants or funding opportunities to support the expansion of EJ programs in the region, including climate investments and new opportunities for workforce and small-business development in a green economy, providing input into the budgetary and policy-making process of County programs and services in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Racial Justice.

OSEJ will also work to improve food security in the region through the County’s Food System Initiative in collaboration with internal and external partners. The Office will strengthen the County’s relationship with the area’s 18 Native American Tribal Governments to better reflect the voice and values of the county’s Native Americans.

Internally, OSEJ will support the County enterprise as it leads by example to further commit and contribute to achieving sustainability goals set forth for the region. OSEJ will support County departments in the implementation of departmental sustainability plans, to bring greater alignment across internal operations.

OSEJ will work closely with County executive leadership and departmental teams to ensure sustainability is reflected within departmental decisions through the consideration of social, health, environmental, and economic factors. The Office will work in partnership with other County leaders to monitor and evaluate progress toward achieving sustainability goals and provide datainformed recommendations for changes in approach to help the organization succeed.


  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or certified foreign studies equivalency AND five (5) years of management level experience that demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the classification.
  • Oral and written Spanish/English bilingual fluency is highly desirable.

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