Climate Solutions at Work

Government Relations and Public Policy

Advocating for climate policy is among the most important actions your company can take. As a government relations and public policy specialist, you communicate and work with governments, interest groups, and the media to ensure your company’s priorities are realized through policy and public opinion. A company’s ability to meet its climate targets is dependent on governmental policies and regulations, and you can influence these policies and regulations for the benefit of your company and the broader world—especially if your company exerts significant influence on policy making.

To make your government relations or public policy job a climate job:

Policy and regulation
  • Ensure that your company has a system for tracking and prioritizing climate-related local, state, and federal policies. 
  • Learn your company’s policy on speaking out on behalf of climate-related policy.  Does it match the company’s stated climate ambition? If not, push your leadership to take stronger positions on climate advocacy. Raise this question at team and all-staff meetings, and mobilize others to raise their concerns, as well.
  • Encourage decision-makers to publicly support federal legislation that helps not only your company, but also helps the world achieve drawdown, such as clean energy standards and investments.
    • Is your company part of any climate policy coalitions (such as the Ceres Policy Network)? If so, ask about how often they engage with them to support climate policy.
  • Work with your sustainability team and regional offices to identify local and state-level climate policies to advocate for. 
  • Be transparent about how your company spends its political contributions and lobbying dollars. Allocate more dollars to lobbying in support of climate policy.
  • Together with finance teams, support legislation and regulation requiring companies to disclose their climate risk.
Public support
  • Work with the marketing and communications teams to develop effective communications strategies and campaigns to publicly support climate legislation (see this example).
Trade associations
  • If your company belongs to trade associations that lobby against climate policy (take note of the worst actors), encourage leadership to push the associations on climate action or leave them all together.
Internal accountability
  • Share your understanding of the current and future policy and regulatory landscape to help your finance team craft an internal carbon price that can keep your company accountable to its climate goals.
Team travel
  • Minimize carbon-intensive business travel for you and your team, and opt for virtual gatherings. If possible, instead of flying, choose lower-carbon travel options, such as the train.
Fostering dialogue and action
  • Build community with other climate-concerned colleagues within your team and beyond. Come together to brainstorm ways you can take action, and raise your collective concern at team and all-staff meetings. 
Ready to take action?Here are some questionsand ideas to help youget started: 

Take stock: Identify your company’s corporate sustainability and climate commitments, if any. Are these commitments aligned with your team’s goals? Can you integrate the above actions into your company, team, or individual performance objectives? Does your team’s or company’s leadership actively support climate policy (e.g., meet with lawmakers, sign advocacy letters, conduct public climate advocacy campaigns, allocate lobbying dollars for advancing climate policy)? If not, why? Who can you reach out to to figure out why your company might be hesitant to publicly support climate policy? 

Make needed changes or reach out to someone else who can: What decision-making power do you have? Can you implement these actions yourself, or do you need to raise the issue with a supervisor? Is anyone with decision-making power already on board with climate action? Or is there someone you might be able to influence? Test the waters by sharing your own interest in climate action with other key colleagues and gauging their response. Consult power-mapping tools for help.

You don’t have to do it alone: Find others in your department who are also climate-concerned. Join forces to show broad support for integrating climate action into government relations and public policy and throughout the organization. Consider writing a letter or petition to leadership or bringing up your concerns at an all-staff meeting (something that will grab leadership’s attention!).

Need help making the business case? 

It’s likely that your company needs policy changes to meet its climate and sustainability goals. For example, if your company aims to transition to an all-EV fleet, it needs government investments in nationwide charging infrastructure to support and sustain its goal. Policy is already changing to address the climate crisis, and companies that become involved sooner rather than later can help shape the continued policy response. Other benefits of corporate climate policy advocacy include better public perception, regulatory certainty, and risk reduction. 

Resources 

The Drawdown Labs Job Function Action Guides will help employees understand how their roles are critical in addressing the climate crisis, as well as implement high-impact solutions and navigate key considerations for taking action inside the workplace.

Board of Directors
Strategy
Product
Development
Sustainability
Communications
Partnerships
and Community
Affairs

Please note: This graphic is illustrative of how different teams across a company must work together to achieve strong climate action. We encourage you to examine your organization’s own unique structure to determine how to best coordinate and integrate climate action across functions.

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