Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

Since 1990, when the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and McDonald’s formed a groundbreaking partnership to reduce waste at the fast-food chain, big environmental nonprofits — EDF, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council — have formed numerous partnerships with big companies. “Corporate partnerships have been a cornerstone of our …

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Last week, ExxonMobil added Susan Avery, a physicist, atmospheric scientist and former president of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions, to its board of directors. Shareholder advocates, led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which has been organizing shareholder campaigns at ExxonMobil for nearly two decades — yes, two decades — welcomed the appointment. …

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Haiti is a tough place to do business. The impoverished Caribbean nation ranks 181 of 190 countries analyzed by the World Bank. The cookstove business is tough, too. No one has built a profitable cookstove company at scale, even with subsidies. So why would anyone start a business making and selling cleaner cookstoves in Haiti? For Duquesne …

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It would appear, at first glance, to be a simple problem to solve: An estimated 3 billion of the world’s poorest people cook their meals over open fires–fires that make them sick, pollute the air and generate carbon emissions. Providing those people with efficient cookstoves improves their lives and the health of the planet. But …

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Some nonprofits, and people working inside nonprofits, pursue the same strategy, year after year, without stopping to ask whether they are having an impact. Not Linda Greer, an influential senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who for the past 25 years has worked to get companies to clean up their act. Originally a Washington insider, …

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Coal plants, fracking, pipelines, gas-guzzling SUVs, plastic bags, coffee pods—all are targets of environmentalists. Why not meat? Eating less meat — chicken, pork and especially beef — may well be the most important thing an individual can do to reduce climate change. Yet, even as animal-welfare groups like the Humane Society of the US, PETA, …

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In the world of philanthropy, the divestment movement is known as Divest-Invest. “Divest” has gotten most of the attention. “Invest” will make more of a difference. Divesting ownership of fossil fuel companies won’t have much direct effect on the fossil fuel industry, as I’ve written, in part because most of the world’s reserves are held by state-owned …

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