Press Release  |  September 23, 2021

Project Drawdown launches Climate Solutions at Work

(September 23, 2021) — In the wake of the most recent headline-making IPCC report, the need for sweeping climate transformation has never been more apparent. The private sector, with its vast resources, must play a crucial role in this transformation—and employees can help lead the charge. Drawdown Labs, a program of the nonprofit organization Project Drawdown, aims to help global employees step into their power and shift the private sector beyond “net zero” as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible. Climate Solutions at Work, presented by Project Drawdown, creates a new standard of business climate leadership, driven by employees equipped to take bolder action at work, making every job a climate job. Readers can explore their company’s enormous untapped potential for climate action by finding their inroad—regardless of job function—to moving their company toward the world’s best science-based climate solutions. This free, easy-to-browse guide is available today.

“Inside most businesses, only a handful of people with ‘sustainability’ in their title consider climate issues as part of their work day,” says Jamie Beck Alexander, Director of Drawdown Labs. “But the scope and scale of the climate challenge calls on all of us to find our inroad. Climate Solutions at Work is a playbook for employees—no matter what you do or where you work—to help your business take bolder climate action.”

Pushing beyond “net zero”

In its infancy, “net zero” was meant to embody a long-term climate goal used by entire countries to track Paris Agreement progress—a global goal to reach net zero by 2050 to keep increased warming to 1.5°C. Over the years, “net zero” has shifted from a collective goal to a leadership position from individual companies. This type of vague, long-term target only works if every company makes the same commitment with a shared deadline—a highly unlikely prospect.

Today’s definition of business climate leadership centers on companies doing less harm, gradually reducing their emissions—and the damage they cause—over time. Employees can demand a more expansive view, one that taps every company’s leverage points and the passion of every employee to scale climate solutions available right now, dramatically boosting expectations for business climate leadership around the world. Project Drawdown’s research shows the world can reach drawdown by mid-century so long as global interests make the best use of all existing climate solutions. Climate Solutions at Work focuses on the private sector so employees have a better sense of where to start—or intensify—their business climate action.

Building a “drawdown-aligned” business

For many employees committed to meaningful change, accelerating climate action at work can feel restricted to staff with “sustainability” in their job title. If a business is serious about their climate ambition, then they will welcome all employees to the work of helping them get there and holding them accountable.

“Project Drawdown wants employees to have the resources to identify and push for bigger climate ambition in the workplace,” says Alexander. “We’ve outlined a drawdown-aligned business framework that allows anyone, anywhere to make their job a climate job.” 

This drawdown-aligned business framework zeroes-in on eight key leverage points—and corresponding actions—that businesses must tap to help the world achieve drawdown quickly, safely, and equitably: 

  1. Emissions reductions
  2. Stakeholder engagement and collaboration
  3. Products, partnerships, and procurement (the “three Ps”)
  4. Investments and financing
  5. Climate disclosures
  6. Climate policy advocacy
  7. Business model transformation
  8. ​Long-term thinking

By moving step-by-step through topics primed for transformation, Climate Solutions at Work is a new north star for employees looking to push beyond net zero. Explore how to help build a “drawdown-aligned” business that leverages all of its social, political, financial, and employee power to secure a stable climate and just future for all.

About Drawdown Labs
Drawdown Labs is Project Drawdown’s private sector testing ground for scaling bold climate solutions quickly, safely, and equitably. This consortium of visionary partners goes beyond “net zero” to scale global climate solutions, within and outside their own operations. Leveraging world-class research and analysis from Project Drawdown—and the cross-industry capabilities of participating organizations, businesses, and funders—Drawdown Labs experiments with collaborative ways to address climate change at unprecedented scale, and offers the world a transformative vision for private sector climate leadership. Drawdown Labs members include Allbirds, Aspiration, Copia, General Mills, Google, Grove Collaborative, IDEO, Impossible Foods, Intuit, Lime, LinkedIn, Netflix, R&DE Stanford Dining, and Trane Technologies.

About Project Drawdown
Project Drawdown® is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “drawdown”—the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. Since the 2017 publication of the New York Times bestseller Drawdown, the organization has emerged as a leading resource for information and insight about climate solutions. We conduct rigorous review and assessment of climate solutions, create compelling and human communication across media, and partner with efforts to accelerate global climate solutions. Project Drawdown aims to support the growing constellation of efforts to move climate solutions forward and move the world toward drawdown—as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Project Drawdown is funded by individual and institutional donations.

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

October 13, 2021
New study lays out opportunities to slash land-based GHG emissions from forests, farming and consumer behavior
A new study led by Climate Focus environmental scientist Stephanie Roe and including Project Drawdown senior director of Drawdown Solutions Chad Frischmann among its authors provides a comprehensive guide to the greenhouse gas mitigation potential and feasibility of land-based climate solutions for over 200 countries. The study, published October 12 in Global Change Biology, analyzes 20 land-based measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. They include the protection, management and restoration of forests and other ecosystems; changes in agricultural practices; soil carbon sequestration in croplands and grasslands; use of bioenergy; and demand-side measures within food systems, such as reducing food waste and shifting to more sustainable and less livestock-dependent diets. "Our analysis shows which and how much nature-based solutions could be prioritized country by country," said Stephanie Roe, an environmental scientist at Climate Focus and the lead author of the study. "Many land-based mitigation activities are unique in that they can be rapidly implemented, provide additional environmental and socio-economic co-benefits, work in tandem with the decarbonization of other sectors—like energy, and are relatively low cost. For many countries, they also provide the largest share of the low-cost mitigation needed to reach net zero emissions by mid-century and deliver on the Paris Agreement targets." The section to which Frischmann primarily contributed focused on consumer measures critical for reducing methane emissions, including plant-rich diets and reducing food loss and waste.
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September 22, 2021
Opinion: Desperate for hope? Linking human well-being and climate solutions is a way forward
by Yusuf Jameel, Carissa Patrone, and Kristen P. Patterson
This article originally appeared on New Security Beat. If raging wildfires, extreme drought, and superstorms haven’t made it clear, the latest IPCC report tells us in plain language: the world is poised for worsening climate impacts over the next 30 years. The report’s release—during an unprecedented pandemic and natural disasters that magnify the connections between climate, health, livelihoods, and human well-being—is a grim reminder of the fragility of life on Earth. There is hope, however: the winding links between climate, health, and well-being also present tremendous opportunities. What if, collectively, thought leaders, negotiators, practitioners, and policymakers in the climate, health, business, and international development communities could do a better job of advancing solutions that address these crises simultaneously? When climate, poverty alleviation, and human well-being are addressed together, a vision of a better future emerges like a beacon in the night. Leaders from high-income countries—the source of most global emissions to date—reacted to the IPCC report with talk of bold actions, better collective efforts, and a renewed commitment toward decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy. At the same time, low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) and island nations—all of which are extremely vulnerable to climate change—continue to demand compensation, support, and rapid reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from industrialized nations. Last month, Muhammad Nasheed (ex-president of Maldives) said that the world should not forget “the fundamental injustice at the heart of this emergency.” Given that LMICs are the most severely impacted by climate change—a scenario for which they are not responsible—it is important to ask how advocates ranging from youth leaders to government policymakers can build bridges that address climate change and the injustice of the climate emergency together. People and institutions have historically avoided linking climate solutions and human well-being, but understanding how climate change compounds the risks facing the world’s most vulnerable populations is critical to understanding where the solutions lie. Recognizing this, Drawdown Lift—a program of our nonprofit Project Drawdown—was launched to identify and elevate “win-win” opportunities where initiatives and policies are making that critical connection. For more than three billion people—about half of the global population living in emerging economies—tackling climate change has become synonymous with addressing human rights, justice, and equity. Centering basic human needs Projections show climate change impacts to people in LMICs will be incredibly severe—hundreds of millions more people will experience poverty and food shortages, while nearly two billion people could face water shortages. Given emerging economies’ extensive reliance on natural resources and the environment for economic productivity, the GDP of some countries, like Madagascar, Nigeria, and Bangladesh, could shrink by more than 10 percent in the face of climate change. Lacking access to vital resources (including technology and finance), LMICs are already struggling to protect themselves from climate impacts that are likely to intensify.  Upholding and protecting basic human needs must remain at the heart of all climate justice work. One year after cyclone Ida hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, tens of thousands were still without access to basic sanitation, adequate shelter, food, and healthcare. Unfortunately, the effects of climate change extend beyond the shock of extreme weather events. Deteriorating human well-being due to climate impacts often leads to more environmental damage. In the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh—one of the largest mangrove forests in the world—frequent superstorms led to a decrease in agricultural lands due to crop destruction and loss of property. More than 70 percent of people there live below the poverty line and access to health care, clean water and sanitation, electricity, education, and food is limited. Frequent job losses have led to rapid deforestation as people resort to selling timber that can fetch high prices. Due to ongoing destruction of life-saving, carbon-storing mangrove forests by cyclones and timber harvesting, the Bengal Basin—–one of the most densely populated regions in the world—–has become even more vulnerable to powerful storms. Hard-won Hope Despite continuous global climate injustices and heartbreaking facts and figures, the IPCC report presents a ray of hope. Through coordinated efforts and cooperation, we can stabilize the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But this isn’t possible without climate-informed solutions that also meet the essential human needs of the approximately half of the global population that live in LMICs. If emerging economies aren’t supported in their efforts to pursue climate-smart development pathways, they will resort to building and maintaining electricity and transportation systems that rely on fossil fuels. Unless significant financial and technological impetus is provided to the renewable energy sector, most of the new electricity generation in Africa by 2030 will be fossil fuel based which will hinder achieving drawdown. Both the population and economy of Africa is projected to grow at the fastest rate of any region in the coming decades. Access to energy is a fundamental right of all people, and it is the responsibility of historical carbon emitters to support emerging economies in deploying clean energy to meet their fundamental human needs, grow their economies, and boost the health of their populations. Climate and poverty alleviation champions, local community members and experts worldwide must hold their leaders accountable—across the private sector, government, business, and NGO communities—for ensuring that LMICs have the resources needed to adapt to extreme weather while also implementing climate solutions as quickly as possible. To the high-income nations that agreed to provide $100 billion in annual funding to LMICs in support of clean energy and climate adaptation—where is the money? We should all feel the urgency to support communities bearing the brunt of climate impacts—both in our neighborhoods and across our global community. It’s time to integrate and uplift solutions that address human well-being and climate change, centering those most impacted, as we chart the course for a safer, more equitable future. It’s time to build a world where everyone has the chance to thrive. Yusuf Jameel, PhD, is a multidisciplinary environmental scientist with experience in water resources, public health, big data analytics, and science communication. As the Research Manager for Drawdown Lift, Yusuf leads research and analysis into win-win solutions that address climate change and improve human well-being. Carissa Patrone, MPA is a passionate connector who enjoys finding and amplifying the interconnectedness and synergies of all things. Carissa is the Program Coordinator of Drawdown Lift, where she advances partnership engagement and written communications that support the intersection of climate solutions, improvement of human well-being, and poverty alleviation.  Kristen P. Patterson, MS, MPH is an innovative leader focused on finding equitable solutions to global challenges that improve people’s lives. As the director of Drawdown Lift, Kristen leads efforts to advance climate solutions that improve human well-being and alleviate poverty in emerging economies in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Sources: Amnesty International, BBC, Government of India, Government of West Bengal, GreenBiz, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nature Energy, News Laundry, Project Drawdown, United Nations, United Nations Development Program.
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September 15, 2021
Project Drawdown welcomes Stephan Nicoleau to its Board of Directors
(September 15, 2021) — Project Drawdown is pleased to announce the election of Stephan Nicoleau—Partner at FullCycle, an investment firm focused on addressing the climate crisis—to its Board of Directors. Nicoleau is an investor, advisor, and founder with more than 15 years of experience in the social and environmental impact space. He joins eight longtime Project Drawdown Board members during a time of remarkable growth for the nonprofit organization. “We couldn’t have found a more passionate climate advocate to join our Board,” says Project Drawdown Executive Director Jonathan Foley, PhD. “Stephan knows how to think long-term while taking action on the best investment climate solutions we have in-hand today. Project Drawdown is proud to have his support—and an opportunity to learn from him—as we significantly level up our efforts to help the world reach drawdown quickly, safely, and equitably.” Visionary social, environmental, and financial leadership At FullCycle, Nicoleau heads capital solutions for the firm, managing institutional relationships and the firm’s capital formation for its fund vehicles. He began his career as a management consultant, as a founding member of Coalition Ltd., a boutique strategy consultancy, which advised the executive management teams of the top global investment banks such as JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Barclays Capital.  Later—in founding Critical Value Advisors (“CVA”)—Nicoleau built an advisory practice which served private investors managing several billion in assets, working to source emerging managers and impact investment opportunities globally. CVA structured and advised investments in venture, real estate, and infrastructure, playing an integral role in identifying investment opportunities that would achieve environmental, social, and financial returns for private and institutional investors. In 2016, he founded LaGuardia Development Partners (“LDP”), a minority-owned infrastructure financing vehicle focused on the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport—a project that was integral in reshaping the public private partnership (“P3”) to be more inclusive of minority and women-owned funders and operators.  In addition to serving on the board of Project Drawdown, Nicoleau serves on the boards of Monument Lab, a public arts studio leading national conversations about public space and history; and Future of Cities, a regenerative placemaking coalition focused on sustainable urban development. Nicoleau is an active mentor to entrepreneurs in his community, lives in New York City, and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. In his own words Project Drawdown: When did you first become passionate about climate change and solutions? Nicoleau: I have been an impact investor for over 15 years, so climate has always been part of my work. However, as the science became clearer for us all, I understood my role in having impact would be to work on this existential issue. My passion to have an impact is met by my desire to be as effective as possible in my work—and I’m grateful to do it every day. Because I have experience as an investor, operator, and finance professional, I feel especially lucky that I can meaningfully apply my lived and professional experience to addressing the greatest challenge of our times. PD: What are you doing to help the world reach drawdown—the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline? Nicoleau: I’d say this is most prominent in my work at FullCycle, where we are actively scaling climate-critical infrastructure that has the capacity for significant abatement and drawdown of CO2 and its equivalents. My advocacy for an “all-hands-on-deck” approach has been a hallmark of my efforts to help us meaningfully drawdown GHGs, and has spurred dialogue and action well beyond the fund with policy makers, philanthropists, and community stakeholders. PD: What’s your favorite part of your work with Fullcycle? Nicoleau: There is a lot to love about FullCycle’s mission—we’re invested with incredible capital partners and operators, and we’re a team that deeply cares about making a difference. This  compelling, activated community and ecosystem that we have built inspires me every day. The innovations we see —and indeed, those that we select to commercialize—are transformative, which gives me hope that we can mitigate the impact of climate change while investing and building the future that we and future generations deserve. PD: Which climate solution(s) do you wish the finance and investment community would adopt today to make an impact? Nicoleau: We’re going to need to accelerate investment in all of the available emissions-abating technologies, practices, and solutions that are available now. But because the climate crisis is so urgent, the order in which we invest matters significantly. Solutions that have the highest carbon abatement potential (per dollar invested) must be prioritized alongside those solutions that are ready for market and implementable at scale. For investors, that means investing with managers that are designed to accelerate solutions and deliver measurable climate and financial returns—galvanizing the global markets to invest trillions into climate restoration. Focusing on infrastructure is the most effective way for asset managers to have a meaningful impact, as climate change is mostly driven by the operations of our global systems. PD: How should nonprofits like Project Drawdown commit more deeply to equity and justice in their climate work? How would you like to see this organization grow? Nicoleau: Project Drawdown can play a substantial and important role in identifying the critical link between climate solutions and a more just transition to a low-carbon future. As we identify the best innovations, practices, and nature-based solutions that actively drawdown greenhouse gases, we must consider the reparative power of implementation at every frontline and in communities that have been underserved. This intersection between the work to overhaul our aging infrastructure and the work to build a more equitable world is an important one for us to explore and activate through the solutions work at Project Drawdown. This includes working to include the voices of traditionally underrepresented communities and stakeholders in our conversations about a just transition to a low-carbon, more equitable, and increasingly resilient global economy. About Project Drawdown Founded in 2014, Project Drawdown® is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “drawdown”—the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. Since the 2017 publication of the New York Times bestseller Drawdown, the organization has emerged as a leading resource for information and insight about climate solutions. We continue to develop that resource by conducting rigorous review and assessment of climate solutions, creating compelling and human communication across media, and partnering with efforts to accelerate climate solutions globally. Cities, universities, corporations, philanthropies, policymakers, communities, educators, activists, and more turn to Project Drawdown as they look to advance effective climate action. We aim to support the growing constellation of efforts to move climate solutions forward and move the world toward drawdown—as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Project Drawdown is funded by individual and institutional donations.
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