Suzanne Toumbourou is set to become chief executive at the Australian Council of Recycling.

Yet another sustainability leader has packed her bags and joined the waste industry, in what is beginning to resemble a migration event.

We’ve already pointed to a steady stream of passionate women from the heart of sustainability like Lisa McCutchion, Maria Atkinson and Lisa McLean who’ve taken on leading roles in waste management, suggesting a change could be in the air for the historically much-maligned sector. 

This week it was Suzanne Toumbourou,  executive director of ASBEC (the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council) for about 10 years, who was announced as the new chief executive of the Australian Council of Recycling

ACOR President Peter Tamblyn said his organisation was “delighted to have attracted a candidate of Toumbourou’s calibre and experience”, adding he believed it reflected the “growing importance of recycling and the circular economy to Australia’s economic and environmental future”.

No doubt there is more interest in the waste management sector now than during the old “out of sight out of mind days,” with growing recognition and acceptance that natural resources are finite and the future will be increasingly resource constrained. 

“The sector is definitely growing, it’s growing everyday. And I think we’ll be growing new circular approaches across all parts of our economy,” chief executive of NSW Circular Lisa McLean told The Fifth Estate. 

“In our view the circular economy is the future economy and that’s where the jobs are going to be coming from.” 

NSW Circular was the first organisation in Australia to appoint a chief circular economist. A position currently held by another uber-qualified woman, Dr Kar Mei Tang. 

McLean clarified that every organisation is different and it’s always about getting the right person in the job, but she is happy to see the gender imbalance in the waste industry shifting. 

“Certainly, on our board we have 50-50 per cent representation which is terrific. I think we need more women, we also need more people, more men involved in the circular economy – so the more people the better.”

Job movements 

Trendy development firm HIP V. HYPE was thrilled to announce Kate Nicolazzo as the new general manager of its sustainability team, helping drive the company’s focus on positive health, social and environmental outcomes.

Ms Nicolazzo has a wealth of experience, formerly acting as chief executive of the Yarra Energy Foundation, head of business development of the Australian Energy Foundation and secretary and treasurer of Beyond Zero Emissions, among other roles.

One of the world’s leading professional services companies, GHD has announced the appointment of James Viray to the newly created role of sustainability leader. He was previously global lead for the social responsibility function at ConocoPhillips.

From his base in Houston, Texas Mr Viray, will help guide GHD’s adherence to ESG principles with an early focus on achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. 

Ryan Falconer will shift gears in his new role as director of future mobility at the Department of Transport, Western Australia.

Mr Falconer was formerly lead transport advisor for Auckland Council where over several years he participated in driving sustainability initiatives including the adoption of Te T?ruke-?-T?whiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan.

Recently established Victorian government agency, Homes Victoria has named two new highly experienced board members — Sarah Clark and Jefa Greenaway. 

On top of their duties as board members, Mr Greenaway remains director of Greenaway architects and long time lecturer at the University of Melbourne, while Ms Chalke is currently group general manager for sustainability at Mirvac. 

Homes Victoria was established towards the end of last year to manage social housing across the state including the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to construct more than 12,000 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria.

Meanwhile Mary Ann van Bodegraven was named head of sustainability, Australia, Pacific, Indonesia at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners. 

After four years with Coca-Cola, van Bodegraven’s new role covers guiding sustainability direction for the beverage giant in six countries including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa.

Our pick of the jobs – check out the creative confrontation officer role

Gruen eco design is looking for a lead designer – focus on sustainability, to start immediately and help design “highly energy efficient and healthy passive houses.” 

Applicants must be well-versed in REVIT, have a minimum of five years post graduate experience, two of which were spent working on local residential projects, and have strong project leadership skills.

Global real estate services firm JLL wants a sustainability analyst to join a Melbourne-based team to help clients reduce and manage their environmental footprint. It’s accepting recent graduates with some experience in the sustainability industry. 

Finally, for those looking to get out of the office and into the streets, Greenpeace is looking for a creative confrontation officer, to work closely with the volunteer and activist coordinator.

The role involves preparing, coordinating and implementing “creative confrontation activities to bring down the might of the fossil fuel order standing in the way of a sustainable future, including direct action, direct communication, protest and interventions”.

They’re looking for someone with two years’ experience in coordinating and/or leading direct actions as well as someone who “understands the maintenance requirements of vehicles, boats and other equipment”.

Sounds like an interesting job! 

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