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Sustainable Product Engineering Local Individual Consultant


  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Remote | Budapest
  • Grade: National Consultant - Locally recruited Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Refugee rights and well-being
  • Closing Date: 2022-05-30

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a Local Individual Consultancy (Level, NOD) within the Climate Action Project, Supply Management Service (SMS), Division of Emergency, Security and Supply in our Global Service Centre, Budapest, Hungary.

UNHCR is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions. 

Title:                                  Consultant, Sustainable Product Engineering

Project:                             Climate Action Project

Duty station:                   Global Service Centre, Budapest, Hungary (with expected travel once a month)

Section/Unit:                   Climate Action Project, Supply Management Service, DESS

Contract Level:                Local – Expert, NOD

Duration:                          01/06/2022-30/09/2022

Supervisor:                      Mr. Ignazio Matteini, Principal Coordinator (DESS, HCR Budapest)


Organizational Context

Mitigating the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on forcibly displaced people and their hosts, supporting their resilience by preserving and rehabilitating the natural environment in displacement settings, and minimizing the environmental footprint of humanitarian assistance, are imperative for UNHCR to fulfil its mandate.

UNHCR has recently launched Operational Strategy on Climate Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (2022-2025). The Strategy aims at improving the sustainability of the end-to-end supply chain, including planning, sourcing, contents, manufacturing processes, procurement, delivery and lifecycle management of core relief items and other goods.

The Supply Management Service (SMS), Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS) is going to implement this innovative strategy through its Climate Action project, placing a specific focus on sustainable procurement, with a lifecycle view of “Value for Money” in products specifications, bid evaluation, and procurement decisions.

The strategy recognizes the urgent action required in three major areas: 1. Prepare and respond, 2. Respond and deliver, 3. Supply and deliver.

Under the supply and delivery area of actions we are expecting following outcomes:

      Environmentally sustainable (recycled, recyclable, biodegradable or sustainably sourced) contents of UNHCR’s core relief items (CRIs) are increased by 20%.

      Specifications for key CRIs and generators updated and improved for environmental sustainability. Continue expanding to other products.

      Proportion of plastic in CRI packaging reduced by 20%.

      Energy efficiency from generators used by UNHCR increased by 20% in 70 target country operations with intensive supply operations.

      Aggregate GHG emissions from the production and delivery of key CRIs and other standard product item assistance to refugees and displaced populations reduced by 20%.

      70 country operations targeted with supply waste management services (full loads, recycling, repurpose, safe disposal).

      Geographic distribution of Global Frame Agreements for 8 CRIs expanded, with 25% reduction in source markets concentration.

      CO2 emissions from international freight reduced by 10%.

      Average duration of stock on hand (inventory aging) in country operation warehouses reduced by 25%.

In the context described above, this broad agenda calls for bold, organization-wide thinking – incremental improvements are no longer enough.

Therefore, the Sustainable Supply and Delivery Team is seeking for an independent and experienced Recycled Plastics Expert to support analyzing and developing a green transformation of the key core and relief items. The expert must have a good knowledge of recycled plastics, related market and latest technologies that are available.

The position

The scope work for the project is divided into a monthly objective as followed:

A comprehensive review and analysis of the material specifications of current UNHCR CRIs including, but not limited to, blankets, jerrycans, sleeping mats, mattresses, kitchen sets, and solar lamps – expected delivery by 17 June 2022

To achieve this objective, the consultant is required to analyze the existing materials used in the selected items, review the Operational Strategy on Climate Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (2022-2025), guiding principles, and any additional relevant documents. Following the desk review and the initial discussion with the management of SMS the incumbent prepares the scope of work.

Analysis and initial draft of ‘Sustainable product specifications for the UNHCR CRIs’ - expected delivery by 22 July 2022

To achieve this objective, the consultant is required to analyses sustainable solutions available in the global market to substitute the selected items with more environment-friendly alternatives that are suitable for the UNHCR field operations, considering their throughout end-to-end use.  The Consultant facilitates and coordinates virtual workshops with the Supply Management Service and Sustainable Supply and Deliver Team. Following the consultation, the incumbent consolidates the inputs and identifies the available alternatives and product specifications.

Delivery of the final draft of the “Sustainable product specification for the UNHCR Core Relief Items” by 12 August 2022

The consultant facilitates follow-up discussions regarding the initial draft of the document with SMS and relevant entities, including current and potential suppliers, clarifying any points raised and updating the document accordingly. The final draft is to be shared with the SMS and the Sustainable Supply and Deliver Team for their review and final approval.

Monitoring and Progress Controls

The final product (electronic report):

The final product is the “Sustainable product specifications for the UNHCR Core Relief Items’, which includes the outputs of the milestone and associated activities (i.e., desk review and analysis, consultation and inputs, follow-up discussions). The final document elaborates alternative sustainable products specifications for the selected items to a) increase sustainable content (biodegradable, recycled, and/or recyclable), key items while ensuring resistance of materials in terms of durability, toughness, hardness and storage b) reduce aggregate average GHG per Person of Concern (POC) from the CRIs throughout their end-to-end use. 

The progress will be monitored by the SMS Sustainable Supply and Deliver Team through weekly briefings, the timely submission of the drafted documentation and execution of the activities aligned with the work plan.

Work on the basis of time employed: No

If it is to result in a written product specify:

Language(s): English

Number of copies: Electronic version

Essential Minimum qualifications and professional experience required

Qualification and experience required (degree required, years of work experience, field of expertise, language required):

University postgraduate degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Chemical Biology, Material Engineering or equivalent degree.

Minimum of 10 years of experience at the professional level in progressively responsible functions, specialized in plastic/durable technologies.

Experience with sustainable / GHG reducing Supply Chain Management, familiarity with the latest sustainable processes/technologies/products in different markets/contexts

Understanding of biodegradable or/and recycled material, their production, reuse and disposal in terms of its; the whole life cycle

Strong commitment to environmental preservation, circular economy, and sustainable development

Strive to live up to high ethical and professional standards.

Excellent knowledge of English (written, oral, and comprehension).

Proficient in Microsoft Office tools.


Home based.

Note: the successful candidate will be willing to travel to UNHCR operations globally.


The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

The closing date of applications is 30 May 2022 (midnight Budapest).


We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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