April 2023 Newsletter

April is a big month for companies in the natural products industry. There are no shortage of Earth Month activations for companies to engage staff, customers, or the wider community. I hope you'll consider one more SIMPLE yet powerful action to help close out Earth Month. You can ensure that the Farm Bill has strong climate provisions by signing your company on in support of the COVER Act—a bill that rewards farmers for growing cover crops and building soil health. Sign here to let Representative Casten, the COVER Act sponsor, know that your business supports the bill. Rep. Casten, and those working to incorporate the Act into the Farm Bill, will use this list to demonstrate to other lawmakers the support from the business community for the COVER Act. It takes one minute to sign! 

Last week, our Board of Directors gathered in Boulder for a three-day strategic planning retreat. It was the first time our new Board was together in person, and it was incredible to experience their depth of expertise, insights, collective vision for the future of the Climate Collaborative. We left our time together more energized than ever before about the work ahead and how we can deepen industry wide collaboration. To help close our retreat, we each wrote down an offering to the group. I'd like to leave you with one offering for our wider community of collaborators, partners, and supporters. 

May we continue to see the power and potential of transformation in ourselves, our industry, our economic system, our society and in each other.

In community,

Caitlin

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Caitlin Oleson
Director of Operations & Programming
Climate Collaborative 

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March 2023 Newsletter

In less than a month from now, the Climate Collaborative staff and our Board will be coming together to engage in strategic planning. So much has changed in the climate landscape since the Climate Collaborative was first founded in 2017 and we are energized to explore how we can be of the most service to this community now and in the years to come. We would love to hear your thoughts!

  • Drop me a note and help us answer the question: How can the Climate Collaborative best support the climate action of this community into the future?

I also wanted to flag our upcoming course. Over the past year, we have heard from many of you that there is a need for beginner- to intermediate-level climate education to support your staff in deepening their understanding of the landscape of organizations in the climate space and company climate action. In May, we will be offering a two-half-day course in partnership with CU Leeds School of Business that will provide a deep dive into the essentials of climate action. The course is informed by Project Drawdown’s framework for climate action and does an awesome job of exploring everything from commitments, actions, reporting, and disclosure. It is fast-moving, engaging, and actionable.

It was wonderful to see so many of you at Climate Day and at Expo West. This community is thriving and doing incredible work. I was struck by the overarching theme of collaboration that came through in so many sessions and the bold steps companies are taking in their climate work. In closing, here is a wonderful quote from Leah Thomas that sums it up perfectly:

"If we can collectively, radically imagine new futures we have a better shot at protecting both our planet and our people at the same time".

In community,

Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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February 2023 Newsletter

Expo West is next week, and we can't wait to see many of you at Climate Day. Check out the full program here and below. We have an incredible day of programming planned! Don't forget to join us for a hearty breakfast and hot beverages starting at 7:30 am. While you are getting ready for the day, our first session will be a coffee and climate fireside chat. From there, we have four morning sessions covering the Farm Bill, investing in climate, The Almond Project (a very innovative cross-brand collaboration), and eliminating deforestation in your supply chain.

The afternoon kicks off with a keynote from author Kim Stanley Robinson. If you are not familiar with his work, he is considered to be one of the top science fiction authors of our time. We are also thrilled to welcome Leah Thomas and Bill McKibben as keynote presenters. Our closing session includes Jason Buechel (CEO, Whole Foods), Jordan Rubin (CEO, Ancient Nutrition), Brian Rudolph (CEO, Banza), and Kristy Lewis (Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, QUINN). Each session is actionable, inspiring, and oriented towards bringing you the information you need to make strategic decisions to accelerate your climate action. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

All the best,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

 

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January 2023 Newsletter

Let’s talk about Climate Day at Expo West! It is right around the corner and there are some key themes and incredible speakers that I want to draw your attention to. This year’s event is focused on bringing our community’s attention to some of the most important areas to focus your work at this time. Here are few highlights:

#1 Taking your collaboration to the next level – Over and over companies try to go at their climate work alone. At Climate Day, we are going to show you examples of how companies are coming together to work through the barriers in their climate work, with awesome success.

#2 Moving beyond carbon tunnel vision – Yes! We need to reduce carbon emissions, AND we need to be keeping our eye on the much bigger picture of working in support of a thriving and just nature-positive future. We will show you how companies are bringing this to life.

#3 Leveraging your dollars and your voice for impact – Hear from Bill McKibben on how your company’s cash can play a critical role in fighting climate change. Trust me, this is going be an awesome and actionable session!

#4 Shifting your mind, to shift our collective future – Hear from speakers on how they are bringing new tools and frameworks to inform their climate work, including: circularity, regenerative design, and radical imagination.

There will be almost 50 speakers at Climate Day! Including:

We are still firming up all our speakers, but you can see the current agenda here. In addition to a jam-packed day of climate programming, we are hosting a Resource Fair and an evening reception following our final keynote!

I can’t wait to see you there!

All the best,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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December 2022 Newsletter

Earlier this month, we published our 2022 Tracking Progress Report. Compiling the report provides us deep insights into how our community is progressing on their climate commitments. A few highlights:

  • On average, 70% of responding companies reported that they are actively implementing climate commitments this year, an increase from 63% last year
  • Almost 85% of responding companies said they are considering climate when they design new products
  • 75% of responding companies said they are engaged in climate advocacy
  • Almost half of responding companies have trained more than 80% of their staff on their climate commitments
  • 76% of respondents reported that they are prioritizing emissions reductions over offsets

There continues to be a deep commitment to this work, even as companies navigate the challenges related to the pandemic, transportation related supply chain issues, labor shortages, and inflation. Read the full report to learn more.

It is our role at the Collaborative to create pathways that unlock where companies are getting stuck. To that end, in 2023, we will be leaning into launching several communities of practice, redesigning our Commitment Program, and creating more climate advocacy programs that make it possible for you to engage in climate policy efforts without dedicated staff working on policy. 

As we close out the year, I also want to celebrate all that we've accomplished as a community. It's been a busy year! Some of the highlights include: 

  • Hosting ongoing programming and events, including a full day of programming at Climate Day with 600 attendees, 12 webinars reaching thousands of people, and programming at four other industry events
  • Recruiting 77 companies to make net zero commitments via the SME Climate Hub and continue to amplify the importance of north star climate targets via toolkits, programming, and our webinars
  • Creating a coalition of more than 35 business organizations with the goal of activating companies, largely SMEs, to sign on to a letter urging Congress to get climate legislation over the finish line. We had more than 1100 businesses signatories! Senator Stabenow referenced the letter in her testimony in support of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
  • Developing and launching a new Tracking Progress Survey accessing climate action including how companies are integrating climate through their entire organization

We look forward to continuing to support the work of this incredible community in 2023!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holidays with your loved ones.

In collaboration,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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November 2022 Newsletter

hope that you were able to find time to celebrate with your loved ones last week, and that you have space over the next month to enjoy this festive time of the year. May we all find ways to regenerate ourselves, so that we have the heart and clarity of mind to do this critical work. As I took pause last week to reflect on all I am grateful for, I was struck by deep gratitude for this community of people and organizations that are working in support of the extraordinary place we call home. 

The incredible work of our community was top of mind because our team has been busy aggregating the data from our Annual Tracking Progress Survey, and there are a number of trends that we are excited about and grateful for. In the coming weeks we will be releasing our Annual Tracking Progress Report, but a few key trends have already emerged. Despite all the barriers companies have faced in the economy, within their supply chains, and due to pandemic related issues they are finding ways to persist in their climate action. We are also seeing more companies setting net zero targets and finding ways to integrate climate action into every aspect of their business. Your work in this area is on the leading edge—and we have so much more to do. The insights gleaned from the Tracking Progress Survey are helping us set our course for 2023 and this work is underway right now!

We would love your support with the work ahead. Today is Giving Tuesday, and we invite you to please consider becoming a sponsor of the Climate Collaborative. Sponsorship is a fantastic way to support our work AND to gain visibility as a climate leader. 

As you start thinking about 2023, please save the date for Climate Day (March 7th) at Expo West in Anaheim, California! This all-day event focuses on the most critical and timely topics to support your climate work, brings top speakers, and provides many opportunities to connect with your peers in this work.

Thanks again for your amazing work. Please keep an eye out for our upcoming Tracking Progress Report to learn more about how you and your peers are having an impact.

In collaboration,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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October 2022 Newsletter

There seems to be a flourish of activity ahead as we close out 2022. I wanted to bring to your attention some upcoming events hosted both by the Climate Collaborative and our partner organizations.

First, I am looking forward to attending a webinar this week hosted by the Yale Center for Climate Communications focused on the Health Impacts of Wildfires. My family experienced firsthand some of the worst air conditions in the world a few weeks ago, and it has me thinking more deeply about how we support personal and organizational climate resilience and adaptation while also accelerating climate action.

All eyes will be on COP27 commencing in less than a week. As we watch COP27 from afar, I encourage all of our companies to examine the key themes for the event and consider how these reflect the work that must be done at the organizational-level. For instance, how do we ensure our climate actions take into account the people that are disproportionately impacted by climate change? Are we meeting the climate commitments that we have made, and are we on track to meet our emissions reductions targets? What steps are we taking to increase adaptation, both for our organizations and our communities? How can we leverage our collective power to ensure that the corporations that you likely supply to or that you purchase from are also taking meaningful and transparent climate action. Lastly, recognizing that voting is one of our most impactful tools for ensuring that our country continues to take climate action at scale, I encourage you to consider how you can ensure that your staff have the time and support to vote.

In the coming weeks we have some very strong programming to share with you. Please take a look at the four-part webinar series we are hosting with UNFI. You can access and share the recordings from the first two webinars. I have been impressed by how these sessions have gotten into some of the specific details and questions that often stall progress. We have upcoming sessions on tying biodiversity to your climate strategy and a session on packaging in partnership with OSC2. Our team will also be attending the training hosted by the CU Leeds School of Business, and we hope to see you there.

I hope you have a fun and spooky Halloween!

In collaboration,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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September 2022 Newsletter

This has been quite the month for climate. Despite the apparent gains from the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, we quickly learned in its aftermath that to win Senator Manchin's vote Senator Schumer agreed to a "dirty deal" to pass separate legislation that would among other things, speed approvals and permitting of fossil fuel infrastructure. Let's be clear, we can never have a meaningful and sustaining impact on climate change if we continue to permit legislation that emboldens polluters, and at the same time disproportionately impacts the people who are already bearing the brunt of our dependence on fossil fuels: communities of color, low-income communities, and other marginalized groups.

My hope is that we can continue to create pressure and momentum around the solutions that enable us to have a just transition that operate in service to all. To that end, we were thrilled to see so many Climate Collaborative committed companies and partners were recipients of the USDA's Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Funding. Developing regenerative farming systems that increase soil health, and thereby reduce emissions and increase drawdown are an absolutely critical climate solution. 

Last week, we witnessed climate change take center stage at the UN General Assembly. Conversations centered on addressing the needs of under-resourced nations experiencing the worst impacts of climate change and the role of the nations that are responsible for the bulk of the world's GHG emission. These preliminary conversations are a precursor for what's to come in November at COP27. For the Collaborative, it's an ever present reminder that climate justice needs to be at the forefront of our work, and that we need to continue to be vigilant about policy that disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable communities, while letting polluters off the hook.

We hope to see many of you in person at Natural Products Expo East this week. We have a fantastic line up of panels on Friday, September 30thWe'll be diving into case studies highlighting the value of investing in climate-focused CPGs, operationalizing climate within your organization and hosting a conversation on what makes a product climate friendly. I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces in Philadelphia! 

In collaboration,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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August 2022 Newsletter

What a month! The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act certainly was a milestone, providing exhilarating momentum to our work. We are actively exploring how we harness the opportunities this legislation provides, while also leaning into the areas where it falls short. This is a work in progress, and we would love to hear your thoughts. 

As I approach my one-year anniversary with the Climate Collaborative, I find myself reflecting on all that the past year has taught me. The familiar words of Margaret Mead come to mind, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." I am blessed every day to interact with people and organizations that are working diligently to reduce their impact on the climate. While this work is not for the faint of heart, our Climate Collaborators share a deep love for this planet we call home–it fuels this critical work, and it regenerates us when we face struggles in our efforts to impact climate change at scale. I am deeply thankful for this community.

To that end, I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at Expo East in Philadelphia! We're hosting three climate focused sessions on Friday, September 30th. We'll be diving into investing in climate focused CPGs, operationalizing climate within your organization and hosting a conversation on what makes a product climate friendly. Oh! And did you see that New Hope is hosting Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson as a keynote? She is incredible. We hope to see you there!

In collaboration,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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July 2022 Newsletter

We were just about to send out this newsletter when breaking news stopped the press. Senator Manchin and Senator Schumer just announced they have reached agreement on a budget reconciliation bill called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which includes what could be historic investments in climate change! One week ago, it was believed that the bill was dead. A one-page summary indicates that the bill includes a record $369 billion for energy and climate. While details have not yet been released, and the bill still has to make its way through the Senate and House, we are cautiously ecstatic. If this bill passes, it will be the largest investment in climate in our nation's history.

While we are not yet familiar with the details, as the 725-page bill was just released last night, the bill includes investments to help our nation achieve emissions reductions of 40% by 2030. We expect it to help your businesses with investments in clean energy and transportation. There are red flags as well, including a call for permitting reform legislation to be passed before the end of the fiscal year. This could very well make permitting fossil fuel infrastructure easier at a time when the scientists have made it clear that we must immediately cease fossil fuel extraction. We know that there will be some disagreeable aspects as this bill is the result of months of arduous negotiations. We will be watching closely to determine if they are too egregious. 

This giant step, and hopefully soon victory, is the result of the hard work of many, including hundreds of you in the Climate Collaborative network. Sometimes when we sign a letter to our elected officials as you did weeks ago with Businesses for Climate Action, or when you post on social and have a dialogue with your stakeholders as many of you did last year with Call4ClimateNow, we don't feel that we are having an impact. But I promise you it DOES matter. Every action contributes to the whole. When businesses speak out, we are changing the norm of silence on climate. We don't know exactly what changed Senator Manchin's mind and caused him to include climate in the bill, but we know there was enormous pressure from many fronts, including the business community, for him to act. More than 40% of Americans live in counties that were hit by climate disasters in 2021 and more than 80% of Americans experienced a heat wave. We have all be hearing the news in recent weeks of record-breaking heat around the world. This bill comes none too soon. 

In the coming weeks, we will be keeping you informed on how YOU can help get the bill over the finish line. But for now, embrace this hopeful moment. We really CAN solve the climate crisis, and we will do it together. 

Thank you for all of your work that led us to today. I am grateful for our community. 

In collaboration,
Courtney

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Courtney Pineau
Executive Director
Climate Collaborative 

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