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Drawdown Labs: 2023 year in review

by Drawdown Labs

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If you are a journalist and would like to republish Project Drawdown content, please contact press@drawdown.org.

This past year was marked by evolution: We refined the goals and strategies of Drawdown Labs to best harness our superpowers as we successfully scale climate action in the private sector. We brought to life new initiatives and resources for funders, employees, and the general public. But through it all, we continued to lead the way on climate solutions. Read on to see what we’ve been up to! (For a recap on previous efforts, see our 2022 year in review.)

We grew the Drawdown Business Coalition.

Earlier this year, Ted Otte joined Project Drawdown as senior manager of Drawdown Labs focused on growing the Drawdown Business Coalition and accelerating corporate climate leadership. These efforts were resoundingly successful as we:

  • welcomed four new businesses – OLIPOP, Sodexo, Tradewater, and Wana Brands – and a new Implementation Partner – Carbon Collective – to the Drawdown Business Coalition;
  • benchmarked progress and supported member companies in aligning with the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework to uncover bright spots and blockers to scaling solutions across our network;
  • engaged current business leaders on “emergency brake solutions,” educated hundreds of next-generation climate leaders through ClimateCAP, and served as a trusted advisor to our member companies on crucial sustainability decisions; and
  • created the foundation for cross-coalition convenings to bring corporate and investor communities together in service of accelerating climate solutions in the world.

We released a groundbreaking report on the link between banking practices and climate. 

In December, we published innovative research showing that where you bank is one of the most important consumer decisions you make, and how you engage your bank is a powerful lever to catalyze systemic change. The landmark report shows how embracing climate-responsible personal banking can help the world address climate change – and getting started is relatively easy, accessible, and affordable.

We made a splash in the media and beyond. 

We garnered dozens of earned media appearances and reached thousands of people directly through in-person events, including a testimony at the Minnesota House of Representatives, a strong presence at Climate Week NYC, and a powerful Drawdown Ignite webinar. Enjoy some select highlights below:

  • News: Jamie Beck Alexander, director of Drawdown Labs, appeared on Al Jazeera to discuss climate finance and in Canary Media on climate-friendly investing. 
  • Podcasts: Jamie was a guest on DEGREES to show that any job can be green, and Aiyana Bodi, Drawdown Labs senior associate, appeared on Brown Girl Green to discuss business climate accountability.
  • Panels: Jamie and Aiyana appeared on the Earth Day virtual stage hosted by Earth Day Initiative and March for Science New York City.
  • Presentations: The Drawdown Labs team led over a dozen presentations and workshops for corporate decision-makers and climate-activated employees.
  • Thought leadership: Jamie gave a boundary-pushing talk on the future of capitalism and climate change to almost 800 attendees in a Drawdown Ignite webinar; Ted shared his personal experience making the jump from tech to climate.

We helped businesses take elevated climate action. 

We aggregated business influence for policy advocacy, engaged media creators, and continued to push for a higher standard of corporate climate action. In 2023, we:

  • coordinated a group of corporations on a letter praising the U.S. Postal Service for committing to exclusively purchase EVs starting in 2026;
  • on the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act – the largest investment in climate ever made in the United States – we supported Climate Power's #MadeByUs campaign, in which 70+ clean energy business leaders (including Business Coalition partners Trane Technologies and Seneca Solar) met with members of the Biden administration in a show of support for protecting federal investments in clean energy; 
  • we participated in a steering committee alongside Count Us In, Unilever, Rare, Futerra, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and others to educate and model sustainable behaviors for thousands of social media creators to influence millions across their collective audiences; and
  • we worked with a graduate student at Lund University to create a new typology based on the Drawdown-Aligned Business Framework to analyze U.S. companies’ progress on climate action, the findings of which suggest companies have more work to do on truly transformational measures. 

We helped employees across job functions take climate action. 

We continued the “every job is a climate job” drumbeat and created more resources for employee climate advocates:

  • We released three new Job Function Action Guides for product managers, product designers, and engineers, with tangible actions to support them in becoming climate leaders, advocates, and practitioners within their teams and companies.
  • The Job Function Action Guides were embedded into LinkedIn's new Sustainability Resource Hub, which is open to their 900 million member community.
  • We worked closely with Google to release their Sustainability Marketing Playbook, helping identify and scale the most effective sustainability actions and strategies for marketers.
  • Working alongside major game developers and the United Nations Environment Programme, we released A Drawdown-Aligned Framework for the Gaming Industry to show how software companies and their employees can help solve climate change.
  • Climate Solutions at Work continued to be "the essential guide” on taking climate action in the workplace for sustainability professionals and other climate-concerned employees. Over 1,000 people downloaded it this year, including executive recruiters, heads of operations, and directors of sustainability, who incorporated it into employee trainings.

We launched the Drawdown Capital Coalition. 

We brought on Hannah Henkin to manage the Drawdown Capital Coalition. The Capital Coalition is a new program that aims to help funders align their investments with high-impact climate action and ultimately guide billions of dollars of private capital toward strategic, science-based climate solutions. The program will convene and engage a select group of solutions-oriented funders – philanthropists, impact investors, venture capitalists, financial advisors, and others – to advance effective climate funding together. While this is a new initiative – stay tuned for our formal public launch in 2024 – we’ve already had an influence:

  • We examined patterns of climate funding from philanthropy, venture capital, and United States federal spending and identified areas of misalignment with the most urgently needed climate solutions.
  • From conversations with family foundations to impact investors, we guided hundreds of funders to develop portfolios that essentially allocate billions of dollars to key climate solutions. (Additionally, philanthropists and investors have independently leveraged our Solutions Library and the Drawdown Roadmap to inform their funding strategies.)
  • We established early memberships and founding partnerships, including with the Bentley Environmental Foundation, Spectrum Impact, Toniic, Wana Brands Foundation, and others. 
  • We soft-launched the initiative on the main stages at TED Countdown, Climate Week NYC, and the GreenBiz VERGE Conference.
  • We led a Climate Week NYC panel on Smarter Investing & Philanthropy with leaders across the funding space and dove deeper with a public webinar on the same topic.

We brought more science to the private sector. 

We grew our scientific expertise, rounding out our new science team with seven world-class scientists who will work with our private sector network and build new tools to accelerate solutions:

  • We launched the Drawdown Roadmap, a science-based strategy for accelerating climate solutions. The five-part video series points to which climate actions we should prioritize to make the most of our efforts to stop climate change. The Roadmap for Business video specifically explores how businesses can leverage their clout and employee power to help the world address climate change.
  • We initiated essential research by the science team to inform opportunities for the private sector to scale the most effective solutions, including upcoming sector-specific roadmaps with an emphasis on “emergency brake solutions.”

Looking ahead to 2024, we’re excited to continue growing our business and funder networks and help them identify and direct resources toward the most effective solutions to the climate crisis. In coordination with our science team, we’ll bring together our Capital Coalition and Business Coalition members to drive collaboration and leadership on scaling climate solutions with strong co-benefits for nature, human health, well-being, and equity.

Finally, we’d like to thank YOU for looking to us as a climate solutions resource! Our work is possible – and impactful – because of all of the climate-concerned corporate leaders, funders, and employees compelled to make a difference. We hope you will consider supporting our work, and if you’ve used any of our resources to take climate action we would love to hear about it.

To keep up with our work, check out Project Drawdown’s YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter.

Press Contacts

If you are a journalist and would like to republish Project Drawdown content, please contact press@drawdown.org.