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general counsel

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a not-for-profit, international membership organisation that is working to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. To do this, we have united stakeholders from all sectors of the palm oil supply chain and civil society to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil production and procurement.

Since its inception in 2004, RSPO has enjoyed rapid growth and today has close to 5,000 members from 100 countries, including oil palm producers, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks, and non-governmental organisations. Thanks to the commitments and actions of these members, nearly 20% of the global supply of palm oil has already been certified as sustainable.

At RSPO, we believe that a not-for-profit organisation is made successful by the passion, skills, and expertise of its members and staff. We are committed to developing the highest standards of governance that reflect our multi-stakeholder structures and commitment to consensus-based decision-making through inclusive and participative processes.

This newly created role of in-house General Counsel will be responsible for designing a framework for the Legal and Compliance work of the organisation and will serve as a business partner to the Leadership Team and the Board of Governors. The General Counsel will report to the Chief Financial Officer as a member of the Finance and Business Solutions Division. S/he will work across all functional divisions and across all eight international RSPO entities, working closely with global colleagues and external counsel to oversee contract and regulatory compliance, while helping to develop and implement global policies and procedures.

The General Counsel will provide research on and coordination of establishing operations in new jurisdictions, while ensuring compliance with the organisation’s governing structures and advising on global employment issues. In the first year, s/he will take the lead in identifying and addressing potential legal risks for current activities, operations and strategic initiatives, including anti-trust compliance.


  • Provides legal representation to the organisation and manages the full range of legal strategies and responsibilities for RSPO’s legal entities in all jurisdictions.
  • Sets the strategy and goals for a new Legal & Compliance Unit in alignment with the wider organisational goals as endorsed by the Board of Governors each year.
  • Leads complex legal projects that span legal, business, and functional boundaries (e.g., across geographies, subject matter areas, jurisdictions, and Committees).
  • Provides legal counsel to staff in all departments on a variety of complex issues, develops and implements staff-friendly plans, systems, and procedures.
  • Identifies, researches, and analyses legal issues that affect the RSPO and its activities at the national and international levels associated with the organisation’s activities, operations, and strategic initiatives, including but not limited to, revenue diversification, and jurisdictional and programmatic expansion.
  • Anticipates issues and risks that affect the RSPO and identifies solutions to mitigate or eliminate risks.
  • Ensures compliance of internal governance policies; identifies issues and manages changes when necessary.
  • Develops and provides trainings on legal issues, processes, and policies to multi-level audiences in all departments in Regional Offices and Global Teams.
  • Develops and manages the Legal & Compliance budget and manages any contracts with external counsel.
  • Works closely with the Membership Division to support the governance aspects of the Annual General Assembly and builds and maintains relationships with and information flow to external advisors retained by the CEO and Board of Governors, as needed.
  • Leads special projects and other duties, as assigned by the CEO or CFO.


  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience including significant professional experience as in-house legal counsel to a multinational organisation.
  • Experience advising senior management and Boards of complex, international organisations, preferably in the agricultural commodity sector.
  • Strong analytical skills and demonstrated ability to understand complex legal concepts and translate those to non-lawyers to create practical processes, guidance and training.
  • Prior success building relationships and communicating with diverse groups of people, preferably in a greenfield role.
  • Demonstrable legal analytical skills, general business acumen and expertise in several of the core areas of work listed below:
    • Compliance and rules applicable to non-profit industry associations or certification schemes in Asia, Europe, Africa, US, and LatAm.
    • Contract and legal document review in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore;
    • Regulations and tax matters in RSPO jurisdictions
    • Employment law, Anti-trust law and Corporate governance
    • Intellectual property, content management, licensing
  • High degree of professional ethics and integrity.
  • Strong project management skills with attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Strong teamwork and client service skills; experience exercising influence and managing change while having an open and inclusive tone; solution-oriented.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced, growth-oriented global or regional organisation.
  • Flexibility in working hours to accommodate RSPO’s international office locations and the current COVID-19 situation.
  • Administratively self-sufficient with demonstrated skill with Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Fluency in English and proficiency in additional major Asian language(s) or Spanish is an advantage.

Operating within a dynamic and fast-paced environment, you will enjoy a remuneration that is competitive within the NGO landscape while functioning within a role that offers the opportunity to broaden your skill set and develop your capabilities.

Your commitment and passion to drive innovation will be rewarded with an opportunity to work in an international multi-stakeholder organisation, where making a difference to People, Planet and Prosperity is not just a statement, but what we passionately believe in.


Qualified applicants are invited to send in their updated CV giving comprehensive details of educational background, work experience, and related achievements to careers@rspo.org. Please state "Job Application - General Counsel" in your email subject line. 

**RSPO is an equal opportunity employer. Due to the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

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