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11 Amazing Things YOU Made Possible in 2019

Here at the Institute for Sustainable Communities, our motto is “what’s possible”. It represents our enduring belief that when the power of leaders like you is unleashed, sustainability is within reach. How we get there varies widely. There are often hurdles along the way, but it always begins with enthusiastic people ready to roll up their sleeves and try something that – until now – they only dreamed was possible.


Won a Major Award to Spur Energy Efficiency in Asia. 

ISC won a highly-competitive award to scale our proven approach to increase industrial energy efficiency. This project will accelerate Indian industry’s deployment of 50,000 energy efficient motors and drive $35 million in private sector investment. A win-win-win that saves money, cuts emissions, and curbs air pollution, we will disseminate the scaled model to Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.


Added 8 New Partners to the Partnership for Resilient Communities (PRC). 

The PRC is transforming the national urban climate resilience field by increasing the number of leaders of color in practice and fostering inclusiveness through policy approaches, technical assistance, information, and resources. This year, eight new organizations – led by people of color and serving urban communities of color – will join with four existing partners to plan projects to advance climate resilience and foster racial equity.


Spurred Dramatic CO2 Reductions in 12 Chinese Cities.

In China – the world’s biggest emitter – ISC is working with local leaders in 12 major cities to create sustainable, low-carbon pathways to development. We help generate plans for clean energy adoption; energy efficiency; green transportation, buildings, and waste management; and climate adaptation. These efforts have already generated estimated savings of 40 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030 — or the equivalent of taking 8.5 million cars off the road.


Interviewed Luminaries Gina McCarthy, Kristalina Georgieva, Jonathan Rose, and Dayna Cunningham for our podcast. 

Launched in 2019, our What’s Possible podcast has featured some all-star guests in its first year. Hosted by ISC Board Chair, Jonathan Lash, the series brings us the voices of leaders whose work gives hope in the face of the climate crisis. Click here to listen or search for “Institute for Sustainable Communities” wherever you listen to podcasts.


Began Work With Community-Based Organizations to Tackle Issues at the Intersection of Climate Change, Health, and Equity. 

The Kresge Foundation, in partnership with ISC, selected 15 community-based organizations around the U.S. to receive planning grants for projects linking the issues of climate change, public health, and equity. These include strategies to combat extreme heat, rising sea levels, flooding, fires, and more – all of which threaten people’s health and disproportionately affect communities with existing social and economic inequities.


Hosted Industry Leaders at the Decarbonizing Growth Summit. 

On May 9, ISC and the Mahindra Group – an India-based multinational brand – convened over 100 Indian and international industrial, NGO, and government leaders to chart concrete steps to decarbonizing the manufacturing sector. The Mumbai-based summit was the first of its kind in India, and it included a rousing opening keynote from Mahindra’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Anirban Ghosh, that was a remarkable call to action for industry.


Worked with Farmers in India to Curb Agricultural Water Use and Pollution. 

Due to climate change and other factors, 40% of India’s population will have no access to drinking water by 2030. ISC is an implementing partner in the Women + Water Alliance led by Gap, Inc. and USAID. ISC’s component of the project is to equip cotton farmers supplying the garment industry, many of whom are women, with tools and techniques to keep water plentiful and potable. Through our work, female entrepreneurs are learning ways to sustain crop yields, gain economic stability, and ensure that their communities will have access to clean, safe water.


Sparked a Conversation about Equitable Smart Mobility. 

Transportation is the single biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. “Smart mobility” solutions such as car sharing, bike sharing, and ride-hailing apps could help curb emissions by encouraging individuals to drive less–but is their rise leaving behind communities of color? We dug into this question in a report crafted with the Center for Neighborhood Technologies and funded by General Motors.


Launched a New Partnership to Tackle Extreme Heat in Arizona. 

In another move linking climate change and its health effects, ISC is teaming up with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to lead a cross-sector coalition to address extreme heat in the Phoenix region. Annual heat deaths have nearly quadrupled in the last decade, and some populations are disproportionately at risk. The coalition will bring together diverse constituents to devise practical, equitable solutions that we hope will save lives.


Worked With Southeast Florida Climate Compact to Compile Critical Scientific Data for Adaptation and Mitigation. 

The Compact kicked off the year with the release of an updated greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the Southeast Florida region and ended the year with an update to the region’s unified sea level rise projections. With these tools, regional decision-makers are able to prioritize where to focus their dollars when it comes to reducing emissions and protecting infrastructure like roads and homes, as seen in the New York Times


Engaged in Important Global Conversations about Climate Change. 

2019 was marked by grim news about both our progress towards emissions reductions and the stark consequences of climate change. ISC shared our expertise all over the world at events like the Decarbonizing Growth Summit, SIWI World Water Week, the 2019 Electrification Symposium, the 2019 Asia Pacific Green Low Carbon Development Summit, and COP 25 with the aim to drive solutions for an equitable and inclusive clean economy and healthy, resilient communities.