February 6, 2023
Major businesses praise USPS shift to electric delivery fleet
A group of major corporations led by Etsy and eBay is praising the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for committing to exclusively purchase electric vehicles starting in 2026, in a letter coordinated by Drawdown Labs, Project Drawdown’s private-sector testing ground for accelerating the adoption of climate solutions quickly, safely and equitably. Etsy and eBay are among the largest e-commerce marketplaces in the country. The USPS is central to their business and to millions of small sellers who run their shops on these platforms. The USPS is currently transitioning to an all-new fleet of 106,000 delivery vehicles. It announced in December that 62 percent of those purchases over the next five years will have all-electric powertrains and by 2026, 100 percent of newly purchased vehicles will be electric. The letter from Etsy and eBay also includes signatories Askov Finlayson, Avocado Green, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Dr. Bronner’s, A Good Company, Grove Collaborative, Patagonia, Peak Design, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield and Warby Parker. “This decision sends a message to every business in the United States: it is possible, achievable and necessary to adopt all-electric fleets for corporate transportation and shipping needs,” said Jamie Alexander, director of Drawdown Labs at Project Drawdown. “These companies are working hard to reduce their climate impact, and this move by the USPS enables them to address the difficult-to-abate supply chain emissions. This is good news for all involved.” With a shift to electric vehicles, the group of companies believe it will not just be good for the environment but good for business as consumers reap the benefits of lower costs and other innovations made possible by electric vehicles. The nation and the world are quickly transitioning to electric vehicles, led by consumer demand for the many benefits of EVs, including better efficiency, easier maintenance, zero emissions and better performance. That means cleaner air, reduced climate risk and improved health across the globe. Electrifying vehicles is a key climate solution, with the potential to reduce up to 9.8 gigatons of CO2-e by 2050. “For millions of small sellers and entrepreneurs on Etsy, a modern USPS committed to innovation and sustainability is crucial for the vibrancy of their small and micro businesses,” said Chelsea Mozen, senior director of impact & sustainability at Etsy. “The USPS’s commitment to a robust electric delivery fleet is good for the postal service, good for small businesses and good for America.” “USPS’s commitment to electric vehicles is great news for small businesses like the many on our platform who rely on USPS to keep their business moving. eBay is proud to support this move toward greater sustainability and a cleaner world,” said eBay chief sustainability officer Renée Morin.
January 24, 2023
How to make your job a climate job
Would you like your work to help alleviate the climate crisis, even though “climate” is not part of your current position description? In this webinar, sponsored by Climate People, presenters offer actionable advice on how you can reduce the threat of climate change, wherever you are and whatever you do for a living. Presenters: Aiyana Bodi, senior associate, Drawdown Labs Adam Braun, co-founder and CEO of Climate Cluib Ben Lai, senior software developer and employee Green Team lead at LinkedIn Kristy Drutman, co-founder of Browngirl Green
July 21, 2022
Decarbonizing corporate cash: Drawdown-aligned business, investments & fnance
This webinar provides an overview of Scope 3 financed emissions and key findings from the recent Carbon Bankroll report before offering short- and long-term strategies for folks working in corporate finance and sustainability to reduce the carbon footprint of the company's cash and investments. The format is a short presentation, panel discussion, and then summary of key actions. This webinar is Part 2 of a two-part series on Drawdown-Aligned Business, Investments and Finance. Part 1, on Greening 401(k)s, is available here. Speakers: Paul Moinester is executive director and co-founder of The Outdoor Policy, an innovation hub that specializes in developing breakthrough solutions designed for seismic impact. As TOPO’s executive director, Paul has established TOPO as a leader in the responsible finance space and is spearheading numerous finance initiatives, including The Carbon Bankroll report and related initiatives and a first-of-its-kind global banking certification program that evaluates and rates financial firms’ social and environmental impact. James Vaccaro is executive director of Climate Safe Lending Network, an international multi-stakeholder collaborative dedicated to accelerating the decarbonization of the banking sector to secure a climate-safe world. James has over 20 years senior management experience in sustainable banking and investment. He has served as a member of several advisory groups on sustainable finance at UK, European, and international levels and is author of several reports and papers on sustainable finance and impact investing. Vanessa Fajans-Turner is executive director of BankFWD, a Founding Principal with Investable Oceans, and an advisor to the City of Ithaca’s Green New Deal. She was previously SDG financing director for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, associate director for James Cameron’s Avatar Alliance Foundation, and a producer for Seasons 1 and 2 of National Geographic’s Emmy Award-winning documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously. She is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Venture Partners for Hatziememos Libby, as well as a CNN Opinion contributor, siting on the advisory boards of The Resolution Project, William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, and Amazon Watch. She has an MA from Johns Hopkins-SAIS and a BA from Harvard Charlie Bischoff leads the corporate treasury function for Patagonia, handling all aspects of cash management, liquid investments, cash forecasting, corporate hedging and banking. He has helped build and execute the company’s sustainable finance strategy, which aims to align Patagonia’s global finances and financial partners with its mission, “We’re in business to save our home plant.” Charlie has worked in corporate treasury for 10 years across a variety of industries, including outdoor apparel, consumer packaged goods, and banking. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Vermont, and enjoys fly fishing and running in his spare time. Patrick Flynn is senior vice president and global head of sustainability for Salesforce, the global leader in customer relationship management, where he defines and leads the execution of Salesforce’s environmental strategy. He helps the company use its full power for the planet, addressing the climate crisis to reach the shared goal of a just transition to a 1.5° future as quickly as possible.
July 18, 2022
Greening 401(k)s: Drawdown-aligned investments & finance
This webinar provides information on 401(k) climate-risk management, retirement fund transparency for employees, and outlines clear steps that human resources and sustainability professionals can take to offer climate-safe employee retirement funds. The format is a short presentation, panel discussion, and then summary of key actions. This webinar is a Part 1 of a two-part series on Drawdown-Aligned Business, Investments and Finance. Part 2, Decarbonizing Corporate Cash, is available here. Speakers: Andrew Behar is CEO of As You Sow, the nation’s leading non-profit practitioner of shareholder advocacy and engagement. With a 30-year track record of success, As You Sow advances values-aligned investing and uses shareholder power to compel companies to reduce material risk on issues including climate change; toxins in the food system; ocean plastics; diversity, equity, and inclusion; racial justice; and wage equity. Mary Cerulli is founder of Climate Finance Action. She has 20+ years of experience in the investment management industry. CFA researches and decodes financial information to empower advocates to wage smart effective campaigns to push the financial sector to address the climate crisis. Regina LaRocque is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is a faculty member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her clinical and research interests are in infectious diseases, environmental health and travel medicine. Working together with Climate Finance Action, Regina, has been integral in advocating for climate-safe retirement at Mass General Brigham.
October 14, 2022
How can companies help the world achieve drawdown?
Today’s definition of business climate leadership centers on companies doing less harm, gradually reducing their emissions—and the damage they cause—over time. But this version of leadership neglects the many other levers companies have at their disposal to help or hinder our future on a livable planet. A drawdown-aligned company leverages all aspects of its business—its social, political, and financial capital, and the power of its employees—to reduce emissions well beyond its own operations and help secure a just climate future for all. Hear from cutting-edge leaders across sectors working to help demonstrate a new leadership paradigm. Speakers: Vanessa Fajans-Turner, Executive Director, BankFWD Alyah Kanso, Sustainability Manager, Golden State Warriors Mia Ketterling, Global Sustainability Lead, Pinterest Breene Murphy, Vice President, Strategy and Marketing, Carbon Collective Matt Renner, Vice President, Seneca Solar Jamie Alexander, Director, Drawdown Labs at Project Drawdown (moderator)
November 2, 2022
Climate policy advocacy: Drawdown-aligned business
On October 21, 2022, Drawdown Labs, in conjunction with Rewiring America, Evergreen Action, and ClimateVoice, hosted a webinar exploring why climate advocacy should be a key part of any corporate climate strategy, what the most impactful policy levers are, and how to take concrete action today. Leah Stokes, associate professor of environmental politics at University of California, Santa Barbara, provided opening remarks. Lena Moffitt, chief of staff at Evergreen Action, moderated the panel. Panelists were: Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. senator for Rhode Island Stephan Nicolaeu, partner at FullCycle Paul Augustine, head of sustainability at Lyft. With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), it has become clear that climate policy is a winning political platform and that the business community has an indispensable role to play in building more climate power. The IRA is projected to cut emissions around 38% by 2030. This is a massive shift that could dwarf the operational emissions reductions of a single company. Any company that is serious about addressing climate change should take note of this opportunity––and use their power and influence to support climate candidates and bold climate legislation at the local, state and federal level.
December 19, 2022
Drawdown Labs: The year in review
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.
December 9, 2022
To lead on climate action, engage ALL of your employees
We are reaching an important juncture within the corporate climate landscape. In a recent Deloitte survey of over 2,000 C-suite executives, 97 percent said “their companies have already been negatively impacted by climate change,” yet only 19 percent of these companies were identified as “leaders” in sustainability. At the same time, climate change solutions are proving to be beneficial to business: Companies that take climate action seriously see more revenue per employee compared to the average—and those that don’t, see below average revenues. Climate change is becoming increasingly top of mind for companies, but—despite the clear business value of being a sustainability leader—only a small portion of them are taking the necessary actions. To remedy the disconnect between concern and action, we must redefine the standard for corporate climate leadership while also broadening who is involved in helping reach this standard. Companies have enormous social, political, and financial leverage—and the obligation to use it. Last year, Drawdown Labs—Project Drawdown’s private sector testing ground for going beyond “net zero”—introduced a new framework for corporate sustainability, showing that businesses, through things like policy advocacy and reevaluating financial relationships, can positively impact climate beyond reducing their own direct emissions. The key to reaching this elevated standard for climate action starts with expansive engagement of employees. Employees represent a range of skills and knowledge that can scale solutions in the workplace and beyond. To deploy solutions that match the magnitude of the climate crisis, we will need everyone—and in the corporate context, this means sustainability can no longer be the purview of leadership or sustainability teams only. Every job needs to become a climate job. Drawdown Labs recently published seven Job Function Action Guides focused on common corporate job functions to help leadership and employees implement solutions across the board. By understanding how ubiquitous corporate teams have opportunities at their fingertips to implement climate solutions into their responsibilities, decision-makers can spread climate action throughout their organizations for more effective, meaningful, and long-term impact. Below we overview three powerful actions your finance, human resources, government relations, legal, marketing, procurement, and sales teams can take. Visit the Job Function Action Guides web page for many more actions and further information. FINANCE Banking Direct decision-makers toward banks that are: minimally financing the fossil fuel industry and deforestation; shifting their financing to climate solutions; committing to aggressive anti-fossil fuel policies; and calculating their financed emissions. Insurance Inform insurance brokers that the company wants to consider not only policies and pricing during each insurance renewal, but also the sustainability of insurance carriers. Employee retirement benefits Team up with the human resources and operations team to evaluate whether retirement plans, 401(k)s, and other portfolios are invested in fossil fuels—and if they are, working to shift the default retirement option to a climate-safe one. GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND PUBLIC POLICY Policy and regulation Increase transparency about how the company spends political contributions and lobbying dollars, and allocate more dollars to lobbying in support of climate policy. Public support Work with the marketing and communications teams to develop effective communications strategies and campaigns to publicly support climate legislation. Trade associations Assess the trade associations the company belongs to and encourage these associations to lobby in support of climate action. HUMAN RESOURCES AND OPERATIONS Benefits Offer employees financial support for their own individual climate action, such as renewable energy purchasing and low-carbon transportation. Recruitment and professional development Integrate climate and sustainability requirements and metrics into job descriptions, objectives and key results, and performance reviews and bonuses. Workplace culture Foster a work culture where employees feel comfortable and are able to bring up climate concerns, creating consistent pathways and forums for employees to provide feedback to leadership.
October 13, 2022
Climate Week: Now what?
Between keynote talks, sold-out panel discussions and early looks at some new content, Project Drawdown was proud to bring climate solutions to the main stage at Climate Week NYC last month. But now that the festivities are over … what’s next? One of the obvious criticisms of Climate Week and other climate conferences is that they encourage thousands of people—ourselves included—to descend upon remote destinations, with all the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions that go along with it. Look, nothing compares to experiencing the palpable energy in a room during a vibrant discussion, or the deep trust and alliances that can be built between people and movements when they happen across a table instead of behind a screen. But we need to make sure that all those big climate announcements and pats on the back lead to tangible climate action, or we’re exacerbating the problem we’re working to solve. At Drawdown Labs, we advocate for stronger accountability from our private sector partners, urging the businesses we work with to set measurable targets and be transparent about how they’re measuring up against their climate promises. So in that spirit, we’re sharing some of what we launched during Climate Week—and some ways you can hold us accountable to them. Align climate funding with a Drawdown Roadmap: At the Nest Summit, Project Drawdown executive director Jonathan Foley presented new, cutting-edge work to align funding decisions made by philanthropists and investors with Earth’s “carbon portfolio.” By leveraging the best science, we can better identify when, how, and where to direct capital to fund strategic climate solutions. Hold us accountable: In the coming months, look for the launch of our new network of philanthropists and investors who will work with us to better align catalytic capital with strategic climate solutions—making funding decisions that are guided by science and rooted in our planetary carbon portfolio. Normalize drawdown-aligned business climate leadership. In a lively panel discussion, six climate advocates came together to illustrate how businesses can go beyond “net zero” to helping the world achieve drawdown quickly and safely, and with equity and justice at the heart of the transition. Hold us accountable: By early 2023, we will make specific metrics for each aspect of the Drawdown Aligned Business Framework publicly available. By the end of 2023, we aim to align each of our formal Drawdown Labs business partners with this framework. Equip employees to take tangible climate action at work. At the Marketplace of the Future, we soft-launched our Job Function Action Guides, equipping employees in seven common corporate job functions to accelerate and expand their company’s climate action far beyond the sustainability team. Hold us accountable: By the end of 2022, we aim to get our climate action checklists into the hands of at least 1,000 corporate employees and begin tracking their impacts. In early 2023, we’ll release action guides for at least three new job functions. Galvanize new forms of climate leadership in new sectors. Project Drawdown hosted a panel discussion with the lead vocalist of the Lumineers, a retired NHL hockey player, and others in the live events space to explore how cultural icons and institutions can move climate leadership faster and reach new audiences. Hold us accountable: By the middle of next year, Project Drawdown and our partners will publish a crosswalk of the Drawdown Aligned Business framework and the live events space, identifying key leverage points in live events that can help the world achieve drawdown. Did your company or institution make a climate pledge/promise/commitment during Climate Week? If so, make it count. And think about how your role might contribute to helping them get there and helping the broader world achieve drawdown, quickly, safely, and equitably.
February 22, 2022
Decisive climate moments call for bold new tactics
One of the most confounding realities of the climate crisis is that two seemingly contradictory facts are simultaneously true: that humanity has at our fingertips the solutions to fix it at the very same time that global greenhouse gas emissions soar higher than ever. By now the world has a solid understanding of what the solutions to the climate crisis are. Aggregating, communicating, and accelerating the adoption of these solutions is the reason Project Drawdown exists. But as emissions continue to rise, it’s clear that we haven’t nailed the ‘how.’ How do we scale climate solutions across every sector of the economy so comprehensively and decisively that they permanently displace our current systems—systems that we now know to be incompatible with a livable world? Tapping the biggest leverage points we have at our disposal to scale existing climate solutions is now of existential importance. And right now one of these leverage points—federal climate policy, and specifically the climate provisions that were previously housed in the Build Back Better Act— hangs in the balance. And this is why Drawdown Labs, the program I lead at Project Drawdown, recently took out a full-page print ad in The New York Times. Our ad had three key messages. The first one was a reminder to the Times’ 4 million readers that the solutions to the climate crisis already exist today. It’s nearly impossible to build a future we can’t envision, so we wanted to remind a broad swath of the American public that the solutions are already right in front of us. These solutions will not only address climate change but they’ll help us build a healthier, more resilient, and more equitable world. Solutions like shifting electricity production to renewables, supporting indigenous land tenure and forest protection, shifting our means of transportation away from personally-owned vehicles and internal combustion engines, remaking our cities with health, equity, and walkability in mind, addressing food waste and our diets, and so many more. Our second goal was to remind key audiences, namely policymakers and investors, that they are powerful actors in accelerating these solutions. The climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act would provide tax incentives for clean electricity, electric vehicles, clean buildings, advanced energy manufacturing, industrial decarbonization, and more, and would provide millions of good-paying jobs implementing these climate solutions. Whatever final legislative package they come in, these climate provisions have broad Congressional support and are crucial to accelerating needed investment. Our final goal of the ad was to highlight the business community’s widespread support for bold climate policy. Why lift up the business voice? Like it or not, corporations hold a lot of political power, and their support can give legislators the confidence to pass bold climate legislation. The 25 companies we invited to join this ad represent over $64 billion in revenue, employ hundreds of thousands of people across the country, and span economic sectors: energy, transportation, food, tech, manufacturing, e-commerce, entertainment, design, apparel, consumer packaged goods, banking, and financial management. Together, these businesses are sending a powerful message: every sector of the economy wants to see bold climate legislation and Congress and the White House must do their part. This moment of fleeting opportunity for meaningful action calls for us to be bold. And while it may seem unusual for a nonprofit to use their resources to run an advertisement like this, we think that new tactics are crucial to achieving bolder outcomes. As the innovation hub for Project Drawdown, Drawdown Labs exists to experiment with new tactics, especially when so much is on the line. At Project Drawdown, we have considerable access to influential actors across the global economy, and we intend to use this access and network to the fullest extent possible. We have climate solutions at our fingertips. We have key leverage points ready to be tapped. And in this critical moment, we can’t leave anything on the table. This article was originally published by MCJ Climate Voices and is being republished with permission.