Director of Sustainability; Alaska Airlines

Job Title: 
Director of Sustainability
Job Location: 
Seattle, WA


Role Summary As part of the external relations leadership team, the Director of Sustainability leads a cross-functional team and works with partners and executives across the business to develop and lead sustainability programs, goals, metrics and communications. This role creates and executes an industry leading sustainability strategy to meet the long term and short-term needs of our guests, employees, and communities; is responsible for prioritizing and driving innovative initiatives while engaging others and building partnerships internally and externally; and for tracking and sharing performance to continuously improve.

Alaska Airlines is a longstanding leader in environmental sustainability, with one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets and the first of its kind employee-driven onboard recycling program. We've been recognized #1 in fuel efficiency for seven years running, were the leading airline on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2017, and have cut our onboard waste production in half since 2010. We are deeply engaged in communities, building local relationships that reflect our culture, values, and our focus on genuine caring service. Annually, we contribute about $15M in grants, in-kind support and employee volunteerism to strengthen communities, education and work opportunities, and environmental sustainability.

Alaska Airlines is proud to be an industry leader in environmental and social impact, and this work is part of our future. We also know this work is never done, and seek the right collaborative and experienced leader to craft and drive the next phase of our sustainability agenda as a responsible and resilient business for the long term.

Scope & Complexity: As a high-level individual contributor, this cross-disciplinary leader and program director creates and leads the corporate sustainability strategy and sustainability programs for Alaska Airlines (AS) and Horizon Air (QX). This role creates and executes strategy and initiatives, and delivers projects, reports, and strategic communications to advance corporate sustainability goals for environmental and social impact.

Key Duties

  • Engages internal stakeholders including investor relations, audit, airports, fleet/fuel, environmental affairs, inflight, human resources, communications, brand/marketing, government affairs, legal, safety, the employee Green Team, and others, to create and manage a long-term vision and strategy for sustainable business practices to support our employees, the business, and our communities.
  • Establishes, informs, and manages an effective governance and management structure for sustainability; advises senior leaders on sustainability standards; develops and maintains analyses and business cases for sustainability initiatives; identifies strategic partnerships to enhance scale and impact of sustainability initiatives.
  • Leads cross-functional teams to evaluate, select, create and update business cases, develop buy-in, plan and implement strategies, and communicate about programs and practices to ensure Alaska Airlines remains an industry leader in innovative sustainability solutions for a responsible long-term business. This includes working in partnership with environmental and government affairs to clarify and implement carbon strategy and elements thereof (including policy, partnerships, carbon offsets, sustainable aviation fuels, and reporting e.g. through CDP/DJSI as appropriate).
  • Sources and executes new ways to advance our work in the business and tell our story. Develops partnerships internally and externally to advance the work, document and share progress. Identifies, designs and executes plans to leverage key channels and third-party validators to communicate and engage others in the work of environmental and social impact.
  • Drives the process to select and deliver on forums to promote transparency, thought leadership, and continuous improvement reporting and rating processes, consistent with compliance requirements.
  • Develops and publishes the Corporate Sustainability Report in a way that meet the needs of key stakeholders and regulatory requirements while advancing the sustainability strategy and external relations business goals.
  • Develops sustainability metrics and effectively manages data and systems for continuous improvement.
  • Brings, shares, and maintains professional expertise in the science, regulatory, and societal trends in sustainability, environmental and social impact.

Job-Specific Skills Required

  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in sustainability program initiatives and executing complex projects.
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience leading and implementing sustainability programs.
  • A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree is required. A focus in sustainability, environmental science, environmental policy/management, business administration, or a related discipline is preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to build effective relationships to influence and develop buy-in in corporate and community sectors.
  • Clear, compelling, and effective communication in written and oral form including through business cases and to translate technical concepts to a non-technical audience.
  • Demonstrated ability to be creative in achieving goals with limited resources and in a fast-paced consumer-focused industry.
  • Extensive knowledge of sustainability issues (social, financial and environmental) and business impacts, as well as understanding of general sustainability concepts (e.g., U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Carbon Disclosure Project, UN Global Compact, etc.). Proven ability to assess, select, translate and apply sustainability frameworks to for-profit businesses.
  • Ability and willingness to travel periodically.


  • 5 years of experience with environmental and corporate compliance, regulatory and investor requirements for consumer-facing and/or natural resource-intensive industries, preferably in a publicly-traded company.
  • 5 years of experience with corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy development using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) requirements.
  • A Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree in a related field is preferred.

Leadership Expectations

  • Embody our values to own safety, do the right thing, be kind-hearted, deliver performance, and be remarkable.
  • Demonstrated ability to influence and drive change cross-divisionally for mutually beneficial strategic and operational impact.
  • High energy, positive, and executive-level presence, along with top-notch written and verbal communication, public speaking, influencing, and motivational skills.
  • Proven success building a strong network, developing new relationships, and influencing decision makers within the community.
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