Collaboration Key to Combat Our Changing Climate

Collaboration Key to Combat Our Changing Climate

Chevrolet engaged hundreds of stakeholders spanning the education, energy, carbon, auditing, and nonprofit sectors for its Clean Energy Campus Campaign
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Multimedia from this Release

GM Sustainability Director David Tulauskas (right) accepts the Climate Leadership Award for Innovative Partnerships from Elizabeth Craig, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Protection Partnerships Division.

Monday, March 2, 2015 - 10:55am

CAMPAIGN: Chevrolet Carbon-Reduction Initiative


Collaboration. We read about it. We talk about it. We practice it. After all, curbing climate change will take an army and we all need to work together to achieve our big, bold goals.

Last year we engaged hundreds of stakeholders to develop a way for campuses to draw on a new source of funding—carbon credits from the voluntary carbon market—to help further their large-scale carbon reducing and energy efficiency efforts. Dozens of students even participated in the clean energy conversation and successfully engaged their campus leaders to secure funding.

Here’s what we view as essential ingredients to building successful collaborations that drive results:

  1. A common purpose. Although everyone may get something a little different out of the outreach, it’s important to align on one end goal. When progress takes longer than expected and the path takes unexpected turns, reminding yourself of the purpose helps in staying the course.
  2. Diverse perspectives. We view systemic issues from our own personal lens. When we come together, each of these experiences coalesce to form a more impactful, holistic and compelling picture.
  3. More people rowing in the same direction provides much more power than if it were a solo effort. It’s easier to get attention, spread the word, and influence.
  4. Mutually beneficial outcomes. Everyone should get something out of the collaboration. If everyone is in it for a win beyond the collective environmental benefit, more parties are apt to stay engaged, especially if benefits and outcomes can be measured.

Last week the Clean Energy Campus Campaign earned a Climate Leadership Award for Innovative Partnerships from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Center for Corporate Climate Leadership.

Without all of our partners—from academia, to auditors, to the nonprofit sector— the new path to carbon reduction wouldn’t have been possible. These stakeholders’ talent, perspective, and dedication shaped the initiative to have the greatest amount of impact:  American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment managed by Second Nature; the U.S. Green Building Council; the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; Bonneville Environmental Foundation; Climate Neutral Business Network; Verified Carbon Standard; DNV GL; and 11 colleges –  Ball State University,Valencia CollegePortland State UniversitySpelman CollegeUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoUniversity of Wisconsin – Stevens PointBoston UniversityRochester Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignGrand Valley State University, and Southern Oregon University.

What do you think it’ll take to get us to a cleaner energy future? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter via #CleanEnergyU.