2016 Achievements

With your support, the Natural Capitalism team has educated, inspired and empowered the next generation of sustainability leaders. We are building more climate resilient communities and co-creating an Economy in Service to Life. Because of you, our work has resulted in the following positive impacts in 2016:
Helping Companies, Communities, and Educational Institutions Implement Genuine Sustainability
Campbell Hall Campbell Hall, a renowned K – 12 school in Los Angeles, framed a vision of becoming an environmentally responsible school, then selected Natural Capitalism Solutions to help them achieve it. In May 2016, after the NCS team conducted an intensive sustainability audit and analysis, Hunter visited Campbell Hall to unveil the Sustainability Action Plan Recommendations Report to students, faculty, and administration. She helped students understand the process and the significance of the steps taken by their school, and encouraged and inspired them with actionable things they can do at school and in their daily lives. Campbell Hall is now implementing their sustainability plan and recognizing the benefits to the school and to the environment. See how our work is being put to action here.
Cheesecake Factory – In 2016, Natural Capitalism wrapped up our three-year sustainability engagement with The Cheesecake Factory. Unlike most consultants who seek to keep clients engaged, NCS enables companies to build their own capacity to implement sustainable practices, so that we can go on to help others. When The Cheesecake Factory first approached us, they were not even sure they wanted to start the journey. Now, 3 years later, the company has a Sustainability Department within corporate headquarters to embed sustainability throughout their operations, saving the company money and cutting its footprint. The NCS business case for engaging in more sustainable practices enabled them to draft the leading sustainability sourcing protocol in the industry.
Animal Welfare Restaurant Coalition: Having helped The Cheesecake Factory bake sustainability into their operations, they partnered with Darden Restaurants to launch the Animal Welfare Restaurant Coalition, an executive-level forum for industry leaders committed to accelerating sustainable sourcing related to animal rights and welfare in the restaurant industry nationally and beyond. The AWRC identifies, develops and standardizes animal welfare best practices unique to the casual dining sector for industry-wide adoption by 2020. In Phase 1, we collaborated to: develop the AWRC vision and goals, establish the value proposition, and set governance, policies, & procedures to activate and operate AWRC. Our white paper proved the business case for implementing animal welfare standards throughout the restaurant industry.
cmc1Colorado Mountain College – A treasure across the Colorado high country, Colorado Mountain College (CMC) aspires to be the most inclusive and innovative student-centered college in the nation, elevating the economic, social, cultural, and environmental vitality of our Rocky Mountain communities. CMC committed itself to a leadership role in sustainability, signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, as well as introducing a Sustainability major. It initiated sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects across its campuses. Having committed to go completely carbon neutral and implement sustainability across program areas, they asked, “how in the heck are we going to get there?” CMC asked Natural Capitalism to perform audits of all nine campuses, conduct extensive stakeholder engagement, and work with the school to develop internships for students interested in assisting in this work. In April, NCS unveiled our Sustainability Action Plan Recommendations Report, a plan to guide CMC in envisioning, developing, and implementing more sustainable and regenerative practices across the entire institution.
Congratulations to Colorado Mountain College for establishing itself as a leader of sustainability among higher education institutions!
Education, Outreach & Future Leaders Training:
Bard MBA in Sustainability: For the fifth year, Hunter served as professor of Principles of Sustainable Management at the Bard MBA in Sustainability. Since co-founding this program, she has taught the next generation of leaders. Previous students have achieved professional careers in the private and public sector, as directors of NGO’s, Sustainability Directors of large corporations, and founders of inspiring start-ups.
Hunter continues to write dozens of articles and blog posts. In 2016 she gave interviews for The Guardian, Voice of America, Conscious Magazine, HeatSpring Magazine, The Unreasonable Institute, KGNU, CBIA Radio, and GoGreen Portals. With her own blog spot on Huffington Post she writes regularly on topics ranging from valuing nature to the need to tell a better story for a new economic narrative. Various other bits of writing include articles in such journals as Humanistic Management and Unreasonable, a foreword for a book from Richard Sandor, chapters in Creating a Sustainable and Desirable Future, and Effective Systems in a Circular Economy, among many others.
Hunter spoke at various conferences around the world. She traveled to Monterrey Mexico to help launch a new center for sustainability and wellbeing at the University, keynoted the Society for Human Ecology’s annual meeting in Anaheim, headlined Earth Day Texas, and Earth Day, Longmont, Colorado. She shared the stage at Net Impact New York with John Salzinger, CEO of M-Powerd. Hunter also keynoted the Built Green Conference in Seattle & participated on various panels discussing how to finance green cities. She presented to the KR Foundation on behalf of the Club of Rome, and explained what “Education in the Anthropocene” is to faculty and staff at Long Island University, Colorado Mountain College, and many other campuses.
As a keynote at EcoDistricts 2016, she spoke about a Regenerative Economy and why our success in implementing more sustainable practices over the past decade is just the first step in the move towards creating regenerative businesses and communities. At Growing Sustainable Cities in Dubuque, IA, Hunter celebrated with participants just how much their city had accomplished over the years since she featured Dubuque in the 1984 book, Energy Unbound. Speaking at a Post COP21 Panel hosted by C3 in Boulder, Hunter helped Boulder residents appreciate the role she and their city played in sealing the global climate deal. At the University of Albany, at “After Paris: The World Needs NY”, she helped attendees learn the business and political opportunities for New York to step into a global leadership role in building a sustainable economy.
A few of her favorite speaking engagements over the past year included:

  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Annual CE 100. It was quite the rush to be recording at the iconic Abbey Roads Studios in London, a venue dripping with music and film history. Celebrating the Ellen MacArthur’s work implementing the circular economy, Hunter spoke on the power of regenerative agriculture to suck carbon from the air and put it back in the soil, where it belongs. This process of bio-sequestration is one of the most hopeful opportunities to rescue humanity from climate chaos, and is one of the initiatives we’re promoting in our Colorado Carbon Fund, described below.
  • The Road Beyond Paris It was an incredible feeling to come home to the Alliance Center for Sustainable Colorado in January after the moment in history when 196 nations signed a global climate agreement. On a panel with fellow leaders Bill Becker, Bill Ritter, and Tim Wirth, Hunter described the scene at the COP21 climate talks in Paris, and shared the opportunities and challenges moving forward with more than 200 people who packed the event.
  • Sustainable Manufacturing Forum. CBIA, Connecticut’s largest business association, teamed with aero-engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to host the region’s largest Sustainable Manufacturing Forum. It was great to help such a large corporation achieve greater sustainability. It was an honor to help manufacturers in attendance understand the strong business case and why companies, like Pratt & Whitney are embracing climate protection and resource efficiency in their operations.
  • Putting a Price on Carbon With Bill Becker, Mark Reynolds, and Diana DeGette, Hunter presented the business case for carbon trading, described the growth in carbon markets around the world, the economics of limiting carbon emissions, and potential solutions.
  • Climate Knowledge Brokers Workshop at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. Hunter again joined her good friend and NCS Fellow Bill Becker to explore how climate scientists can better connect with decision makers.

Building Resilient, Sustainable Communities Locally to Globally
Climate Action Roadmap – Cities and citizens know that they need to act but are often unsure where to start. With generous seed funding from the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, NCS is developing the Climate Action Roadmap (CAR), a freely available toolkit of best practices from around the world that are not yet widely implemented. CAR will provide approaches that are reliable, replicable, scalable, and affordable. Because sustainability is too important to leave to consultants making money protecting proprietary information, the roadmap will be open source, affordable and available to all.
Leading For Wellbeing (L4WB) – Working with Dr. Michael Pirson of the Humanistic Management Network, sustainability consultant Andrew Winston, Dr Chris Laszlo of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent for World Benefit, Ben Roberts of the Conversation Collaborative, David Levine of American Sustainable Business Council and hundreds of colleagues from 16 countries, we have created Leading for Wellbeing. A consortium of leading thinkers and change agents in the new economy landscape, we are crafting the new narrative necessary to drive systems-level change in the world’s major institutions, especially business, to enable them to operate in service of well-being for all. This past year, we have met from New York, to Mexico, to Germany, and more, challenging the old neo-liberal story. Learn more about this project here.
The Colorado Carbon Fund – After languishing under an out-of-state sponsor for several years, NCS took over management of the Colorado Carbon Fund(CCF) and brought it home where it belongs. The only state-run voluntary offset program of its kind, this iconic program was originally created under Governor Ritter’s Energy Office. Since its launch this Fall, 174 new Project C License Plates are on the road, creating a cleaner and greener Colorado. We have raised approximately $5,000 through individual contributions, partnered with the Great American Beer Fest and Ironman Boulder to offset their events, and earned a $7,000 grant from the AMD Foundation.
We are excited to expand the CCF beyond verified offsets to Community and Climate Benefit Projects. These will stimulate local economic growth, help regenerate ecosystems, and remove carbon from the air. They include clean energy alternatives (solar, wind), community bike programs, and local soil carbon initiatives.
Hosting Start-up Non Profits
Clean Coalition – The Clean Coalition received a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for its Peninsula Advanced Energy Community (PAEC). The program will bring “The EPIC Challenge: Accelerating the Deployment of Advanced Energy Communities” to the southern portion of San Mateo County, California. An Advanced Energy Community minimizes new energy infrastructure costs like transmission and distribution upgrades; supports grid reliability and resiliency by incorporating technologies such as energy storage and microgrids; can be replicated and scaled-up to further drive down costs; and provides affordable access to renewable energy generation.
With the guidance of the Clean Coalition, the PAEC will install local solar electricity, zero net energy buildings, Solar Emergency Microgrids, and charging infrastructure to support the rapid growth in electric vehicles. Based on the equivalent of 25 MW of local photovoltaics, the project will save energy consumers over $25 million, generate over $100 million in regional economic output, create $35 million in local wages, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 800 million pounds over 20 years.
Presidential Climate Action Project: Bill Becker has directed this ambitious initiative called the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP) for more than eight years. PCAP’s objective has been to provide the President of the United States with ideas on how he or she can confront global warming even if Congress does not act. Bill received additional funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund early this year. Now more important than ever, PCAP creates climate and energy policy options that resonate with conservative as well as progressive thought leaders and federal officials.
Chain Reaction: One of our newest housed accounts, Chain Reaction, established a strong presence in the local community in Longmont. Chain Reaction empowers the future, one bicycle at a time. In its first year it hosted numerous programs including the first Earn-A-Bike with Boulder County Department of Transportation. In this one-day workshop, Chain Reaction taught bicycle safety and maintenance to 11 low-income adults in an engaging and hands-on atmosphere at Casa de la Esperanza in Longmont. Skills included fix-a-flat, brake adjustment, saddle adjustment, and much more. Upon completion, participants were awarded with their own bicycle equipped with helmet, lock, lights, multi-tool, tire lever, lubricant, and patch kit. Chain Reaction staff provided a fun and educational bike rodeo for children of participants, teaching safety and handling skills and providing all with new helmets, refurbished bikes, lights, and bells. Chain Reaction’s successful first year raised $20,000 through individual and in-kind contributions. It provided programs to 35 children and 26 adults, took over management of the Bus-then-Bike shelter in Longmont, and was selected as the bag credit recipient of Whole Foods Longmont’s “Your Change Creates Change” program.
iMatter Youth: NCS was approached last spring by iMatter Youth to house their work. Founded in 2007 by then 13-year-old Alec Loorz because he couldn’t find another organization to manifest his goal to end the climate crisis within his lifetime, iMatter believes that his generation can be the ones to break through the politics and the denial, and inspire our leaders to govern and live as if a future matters.
, a network of passionate youth leaders who share the vision of ending the climate crisis within our lifetimes, helped students from the St. Louis Park High School in Minnesota to present the Youth Climate Report Card to their City Council. They urged community leaders to do their part to end the climate crisis within the students’ lifetimes, giving the community, which fancies itself progressive, a B-. After receiving more than 550 student petition signatures, and the Youth Climate Report Card suggesting a need for significant improvement, the city of St. Louis Park, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis, became the first municipality to adopt the iMatter Resolution.
Pet Sustainability Coalition is the leading organization advancing sustainable practices in the pet industry. They promote creative collaboration throughout an industry that prioritizes business minded solutions for sincere environmental improvement. On June 10, they launched a new brand and website!
Y On EarthNCS welcomed Aaron Perry and Y On Earth to the Natural Capitalism family. Y On Earth brings life-hacking and culture cracking content to schools, neighborhoods and faith communities to increase well-being and create the future we want. Aaron Perry hosted a successful Kickstarter Campaign, reaching their $20,000 goal to support his groundbreaking book exploring the interconnected themes of sustainability, health and well-being, expected to be released January 2017.
Hunter and NCS received a series of gratifying awards this year, including:

  • Planet Defender Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Humanistic Management Institute
  • Green Latin American Sustainability Award
  • Sustainability Pioneer Award from Long Island University
  • Named a Certified Sustainability Professional by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals
  • Named a Distinguished Fellow of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western University

We hope you agree that we have accomplished a hell of a lot with very little. Now imagine how much more impact we can both have with your additional support.