Principal Sustainable Food & Agriculture Consultant

Closing Date - Monday 8th February

Location: Boxworth, Cambridgeshire or Milton Park, Oxford
Salary: £35,000 to £45,000 depending on experience

This role is officially office-based out of either Boxworth, Cambridge or Milton Park, Oxford.  However, we have a flexible approach to working, especially during the uncertainty of COVID-19.  At present the whole team is working from home, and currently expects to continue in that vein whilst social distancing measures are in place.  However, the successful candidate should anticipate the need to be able to work flexibly out of one of those offices in the future. 

The role is anticipated to be full time (40 hours per week) with core working hours of 8.30 – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

What the job looks like

The ADAS Sustainable Food and Farming (SFF) team, is a small friendly team with a supportive and collaborative culture and a focus on sharing technical knowledge to help everyone grow and learn.  We are looking to recruit a Principal Consultant to support the growth and development of the team.  The role will have a strong emphasis on business development and sales, whilst maintaining a strong footing in supporting the delivery of projects, through technical input, project management, leading client meetings, mentoring others in the team and providing quality checks of final deliverables.

The SFF team at ADAS work across a diverse range of topics looking to enhance the environmental sustainability of the food that we consume.  Our focus is on improving practice on-farm, by helping food supply chains connect with their farmer supply base.  We are looking for an individual to help identify, develop and deliver new business opportunities across the value chain.  Key areas of focus for the team going forwards are in supporting the move towards Net Zero, and enhancing the carbon emissions reductions, carbon storage and sequestration that take place on farm to minimize the climate impact of agricultural raw materials.  Other areas of interest include: improving productivity, reducing water use, responsible sourcing, on-farm food waste and alternative proteins. 

The successful candidates’ role:

The ideal candidate will have a strong track record of networking and successfully winning work with corporate food clients, have good knowledge of agricultural production and the challenges facing the industry, and be able to help develop solutions to the challenges that clients face with regards to their agricultural supply chain. 

The aim of this role is to engage with new potential clients and win work to support the growth and expansion of the SFF offer in order to meet the team’s targets.  This will include taking part in and leading sales initiatives to grow the business, as well as providing project management and delivery support to key projects. 

The role will involve:

  • Business development and sales
  • Working with the team to understand what the SFF offer is, as well as how it fits into the wider ADAS and RSK offers around sustainable agriculture and food.
  • Carrying out sales activities, including attending and/or leading sales meetings. This will include working with the Managing Director and other sales leads on sales initiatives to develop business with existing clients and to grow the SFF business with new clients.
  • Developing business with new and current clients through establishing good client relationships and identifying opportunities. 
  • Leading and writing tenders and proposals for the development of new work with clients.
  • Developing the profile of the ADAS SFF consultancy capability through platform speaking, networking and writing articles for the ADAS website or other publications

Delivery and project work

  • Managing projects, including the deployment of resources and liaison with clients. This will involve planning, organising, managing and monitoring to ensure that work is completed to the required standards, is delivered on time, meets the project profit target, and is delivered to the clients’ satisfaction.
  • Developing methodologies and interpreting data and applying appropriate research methods and commercial understanding to a broad range of supply chain sustainability issues to deliver high quality reports to clients.
  • Communicating effectively with a range of audiences in a range of formats including written reports, articles, presentations and infographics. This may include verifying, analysing and presenting data, writing technical and non-technical reports and distilling project findings into key messages for clients.
  • Providing initial and/or final quality assurance on outputs conducted by junior staff to ensure it meets relevant standards and is technically correct. This will include mentoring others in the team to improve their skills and consultancy abilities.

General skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge of agricultural production practices, associated supply chains and key sustainability issues facing the food and farming sector and apply this knowledge to meet client needs.
  • Working individually and as part of a team on a range of consultancy projects. This will include working with colleagues across ADAS and the wider RSK Group, as well as collaboration with other organisation, to develop larger sales opportunities.
  • Achieve team and personal sales targets by building excellent client relationships and leading tenders and sales activities to find and develop new clients and business.
  • Strive for continuous improvement in all aspects of performance to achieve profitable delivery and high client satisfaction.
  • Facilitate the growth of the SFF team through the expansion of the client base and the identification of new business opportunities. 

Person specification

The successful candidate will have:

  • A full driving licence.
  • The willingness to be flexible with regard to type of work, timing and location.  
  • A relevant degree in biological sciences, agriculture or sustainability related field. 
  • A masters and/or PhD in a relevant field is desirable, but not essential.
  • A proven track record developing business and winning new work in the sustainability area. 
  • 10+ years’ experience delivering agricultural or sustainability consultancy, or working as a sustainability professional within a corporate organisation.
  • A rigorous approach and attention to detail in both quantitative and qualitative research and analysis.
  • Excellent team-working, and ability to contribute towards a positive team dynamic.
  • Strong communication, interpersonal and client management skills, with the ability to work under pressure to client determined deadlines.
  • Excellent computer and information system skills; in particular Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Salary and benefits:

  • Salary will be within the range of £35-45,000 depending on experience – plus performance-related bonus based on achievement of sales targets.
  • Contributory Pension Scheme – RSK will contribute a minimum of 3%.
  • A flexible benefits programme including the option to buy additional holidays, childcare vouchers and private health care.
  • Regular training and career development opportunities through both formal training, including via an e-learning platform and on the job learning.

We recognise that staff are our most valuable asset and that their integrity, commitment and loyalty is vital to how we conduct our business, and to the long-term success of the company.  As a company, ADAS wants to ensure you maintain a healthy work-life balance, with many opportunities for flexible working hours, locality flexibility, social activities, and community involvement projects.  Career progression is important and there are plenty of opportunities within ADAS to develop new skills and progress through the company, and wider RSK group.

The company prides itself on providing its staff with a rewarding and challenging career, encouraging Continuous Professional Development, allowing employees to reach their full potential.

How to apply

To apply for this position please visit the RSK Group careers portal and click ‘apply’.  A personal online account will be set up so you can review the progress of your application.  If you require any additional information about the role please contact Lisa Hallington, HR Business Partner on 07384 212094 or email

Applications close on Monday 8th February at 9am. Interviews will include a sales task, short writing exercise and presentation. It is currently anticipated that interviews will be conducted remotely via a TEAMS call in WC 15 February.  

All candidates applying for positions with RSK Group must be eligible to work in the UK. Candidates should confirm this when applying with their CV and covering letter. RSK is committed to our Corporate Responsibility strategy. We seek to minimise our impact on the environment; to engage positively with the community and education groups; to provide a safe and supportive atmosphere in which to work, and to promote Corporate Responsibility throughout our supply chain.

RSK Group is an Equal Opportunities Employer. 

For more information about SFF, ADAS and the RSK Group visit Sustainability and

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