News  |  December 19, 2022

Drawdown Labs: The year in review

by Drawdown Labs

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Tim Marshall | Unsplash

In 2022, Drawdown Labs called for much more expansive private sector climate action—raising the bar for corporate climate leadership, welcoming more people in to help bring about solutions, and helping shift more money toward climate action.

As Project Drawdown executive director Jonathan Foley and Drawdown Labs director Jamie Alexander wrote in CNN Opinion this year:

Bringing climate solutions into the world at scale requires that every part of the economy bring its superpower to bear: genuine business leadership moving markets, investors and philanthropists shifting capital, workers building solar panels and wind turbines, and cities and states making climate solutions a reality in the places we live and work. And all of this will be accelerated by community leaders, employees and activists keeping the pressure up and demanding accountability.

Galvanizing bold climate action among these powerful global actors—and doing what we can to hold them accountable to their commitments—remains our mission at Drawdown Labs since we launched this experiment three years ago. This past year we were proud to make big moves toward this goal. Read on for highlights from 2022 and a sneak peek at our plans for the year ahead. 

We grew our community and expanded our reach:

  • We welcomed new businesses Lyft, Etsy, and Askov Finlayson into the Drawdown Labs Business Consortium, expanding the base of businesses with ambition to align with the Drawdown-Aligned Business standard.
  • We created a new type of partnership, welcoming five organizations as implementation partners to help our business network reach the standards we’ve set out in the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework: Carbon Collective, Doughnut Economics Action Lab, Evergreen Action, Rewiring America, and Seneca Solar.
  • We reached a new audience, business school students at the University of Colorado–Boulder, with a new course on the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework.
  • We learned from the expertise of our two senior fellows, Chidi Oti Obihara and Sarah Frias-Torres, who spent the year with us doing important research on how Project Drawdown’s climate solutions can help shift the flow of capital to climate solutions.

We used our platform to hold leaders accountable and call for faster action:

  • Drawdown Labs director Jamie Alexander called on President Biden on Al Jazeera to declare a climate emergency, unlocking more resources to help scale climate solutions. 
  • We played a key role in mobilizing business support for what became the Inflation Reduction Act, including by placing a full-page ad in the New York Times—seen by over 4 million readers—reminding the world that we have the solutions to the climate crisis and that leading businesses support strong federal climate policy. 
  • In a fiery discussion between Jason Jacobs and Jamie Alexander on the My Climate Journey podcast, we helped open up a new conversation about some of the tensions and double standards that exist in the climate solutions space, igniting important discussions and helping all of us see ourselves on the same team.
  • We held our business partners to a high standard, and publicly called on them to step up when they fail to meet our expectations. 

We leveled up corporate climate leadership to a new Drawdown-Aligned standard:

  • We gathered an all-star lineup of climate experts and advocates in a webinar to press business leaders on robust climate policy advocacy. To accelerate work in another key area of leverage, investments and finance, we also organized two webinars on decarbonizing corporate cash and greening 401(k)s to show that cash is not climate neutral.
  • Senior associate Julian Kraus-Polk wrote for GreenBiz that companies must consider their financed emissions if they are to help curb the climate crisis.
  • Understanding that each company and industry has a “climate superpower,” we brought together a group of experts to crosswalk the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework with the gaming industry, utilizing its extensive reach to ​​explore how it can go beyond operational “net zero” and level up climate impact. 
  • Recognizing the world’s need to rapidly shift capital away from carbon-intensive activities and toward climate solutions, we worked to expand upon a new work stream focused on the role of finance. We brought on two senior fellows to kick-start this work by researching key climate finance and philanthropic strategies. And we laid the groundwork for a 2023 launch of a new network of investors and philanthropists who will work with us to better align funding decisions with strategic climate solutions.

We equipped employees with tools and inspiration to take climate action at work:

  • We are proud to be doubling down on our call to action: Every job is a climate job. To help bring this idea to life, this year we dug deeper into what that means and how we can help bring that rallying cry to life.
  • We released Job Function Action Guides for seven common corporate job functions, highlighting the climate actions that individuals in these roles can implement at work. 
  • We connected thousands of employees with the action guides via social media, newsletters, presentations, and podcasts; the action guides are currently being used at companies across tech, manufacturing, food, and other industries.  
  • We partnered with Terra.do to provide a deeper insight into what it means to apply a climate lens to your current role.
  • Jamie was a guest on the A Matter of Degrees podcast to discuss how individuals can take climate action at work.
  • Senior associate Aiyana Bodi discussed the creation of the action guides for Work on Climate.    
  • We told employee stories, from those deeply engaging their customers and communities, to employees working beyond their job description—all in the pursuit of climate action.
  • And so much more on our YouTube channel.

Stay tuned to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page to stay in the loop on the work we have in store in 2023.

Press Contacts

If you are a journalist and would like Project Drawdown updates and/or digital assets for editorial use, please contact press@drawdown.org.

More Insights

Profile  |  January 24, 2023
Drawdown Science team member Yusuf Jameel
Drawdown Science Profile: Yusuf Jameel
This article is the third in a series introducing the members of Project Drawdown’s new science team. Yusuf Jameel joined Project Drawdown in 2021 as a research manager for Drawdown Lift. In January 2023 he transitioned to the Drawdown Science team as associate scientist, data science. A multidisciplinary scientist with experience in water resources, public health, data analytics, and science communication, he’s passionate about finding solutions to climate change and bridging the gap between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Yusuf obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Please welcome Yusuf as he shares his thoughts on growing up on the banks of the Ganges River, enhancing human well-being through the adoption of climate solutions, porcupine hair, and more. Q: When people ask you what you do with Project Drawdown, what do you tell them?  A. As a member of the science team, I work on climate solutions using my experience in data analysis, especially on solutions that also address the food–energy–water nexus. I also work on translating the science in a way that makes it widely accessible.  Q: Of all of the things you could be doing, why did you choose to join Project Drawdown?   A: Project Drawdown is on a mission to actually address the biggest problem the world is facing today, climate change. I was really impressed by the book. It was the first to lay out that yes, we can address climate change—it's not just about gloom and doom, it’s also about opportunity. Project Drawdown addresses climate in a way that’s multidimensional, promotes the best science, addresses the different audiences, and passes the mic. That really motivates me. Q: What do you consider some of the biggest obstacles to implementing and scaling up climate solutions?  A: First is unlocking the finance to fund climate solutions globally. We need capital from the private sector, from banks divesting from fossil fuels, and we need to invest in green solutions. Another challenge is politics. We need to think more altruistically. This is a global challenge requiring everyone to join hands, yet it has not been the case so far. The good news is, public perception is changing. Hopefully politics will change, and more capital will be funneled into climate solutions. Q: OK, time for a break. What’s your favorite food? A: I would go with my comfort food, and that’s biryani. It’s a big tradition in South Asian countries, and if you ask anyone in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, biryani is probably one of the top dishes. It’s not the healthiest dish, but it’s just so comforting.  Q: I’m sure you have many, but can you tell us about one superpower you bring to this job? A: I’m a jack of all trades. Whether it’s high-level thinking, brainstorming ideas, or actually doing the work, I’m comfortable doing it all. I’m also adaptable. If a situation requires me to step up and take the lead I can, or I can step back and follow.  Q: What's a childhood experience that relates to the work you're doing today?  A: I grew up on the banks of the River Ganges. Every now and then there would be flooding. As a result, many people would go through an annual cycle of losing crops and be entrenched in a cycle of poverty, unable to get out. This had a profound effect on me. When I started reading about climate change and seeing flooding events become more and more intense, I recognized the need to address climate and development holistically.  Q: What’s your favorite Drawdown Solution?  A: There are so many of them! I really like Distributed Solar Photovoltaics and Reduced Food Waste, but my favorite is Clean Cooking. I think that solution can revolutionize the lives of billions of people in the world, especially young girls. It not only addresses climate but also vastly improves health, addresses gender equality, and opens up economic opportunities. If we can implement clean cooking and distributed solar, we’ll see huge changes in the lives of billions of people globally.  Q: Time for another break. If you were a nonhuman animal, what animal would you be?  A: As a kid I had short hair that was like vertical hair, as if I had had an electric shock. So many of my friends called me Porcupine. People  would rub my hair all the time as it felt like velvet. Now I keep my hair long.  Q: What gives you hope?  A: I derive my hope from two things. First, we’re rapidly advancing technology—a lot of people from across the world are putting their effort into finding and implementing the best and most important solutions to address climate change. Second,  when I was at COP27, I saw that young people are really leading the movement. That gives me hope that we can do meaningful work on this very important but challenging issue. Q: Anything else you’d like to share?  A: I like nature. I especially like mountains. This is something I realized very late in life, maybe because I grew up in cities with very little nature around. When I moved to Utah, I started going to the mountains. I realized how peaceful and how nice it is, and I can’t not talk about it.  As human societies are getting more urbanized,  a lot of us, especially young people who live in large metropolises, are cut off from nature. And I hope they reconnect with nature. We need to appreciate nature and biodiversity much more than we do. Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back. We need to love it, respect it, and protect it.
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