B Corps understand that our role in protecting the planet and conserving natural resources is deeply connected to the well-being of our communities. Environmental justice, climate justice, and racial justice are all intrinsically linked — you can’t have one without the other.
But if we’re not coordinating with the environmental justice organizations that listen to frontline community leaders about their actual needs, we’re not taking the correct climate action.
Climate and Environmental Justice Organizations: What Do They Do?
Environmental justice organizations work toward ensuring that all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, receive the same protection from environmental hazards, including climate change, and equal access to environmental decision-making processes.
Their goal is to do what they can to protect, uplift, and shield local communities from the effects of climate change, with the end goal being to create climate-resilient communities. They’re proactive in the face of climate and environmental disasters. They assert their communities’ rights to public health and well-being. They raise community voices and hear from people not brought to the table. They fight for funding and resources.
Ultimately, environmental justice organizations are the loudspeakers for environmental injustices. Some examples of these injustices include:
- Hazardous Waste: African-Americans are 75% more likely than others to live near facilities that produce hazardous waste, according to a 2017 study from the NAACP and Clean Air Task Force.
- Access to Clean Water: According to a 2019 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Coming Clean, and the Environmental Justice Health Alliance, drinking water systems that constantly violated the federal drinking water law for years were 40% more likely to occur in places with higher percentages of residents who were people of color.
- Air Pollution: A 2018 study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency showed that at the national, state, and county levels, non-white Americans are disproportionately burdened by air pollution consisting of automobile fumes, smog, soot, oil smoke, ash, and construction dust than white people.
Why Should B Corps Support Climate and Environmental Justice Organizations?
B Corps — and all businesses — should be encouraged to support these organizations for the following reasons.
- It aligns with B Corps’ values. B Corps aim to create a regenerative, equitable, and inclusive economy. We can’t accomplish this only when working within a particular business community sector. It takes all types of movements, communities, and different segments of the industry to make this inclusive ecosystem happen.
- It sets an example for other businesses. B Corps are leaders in sustainability, social justice, human rights, employee engagement, etc. We should also be environmental justice leaders. We are responsible for setting a path for the right community partnerships and showing how to serve these environmental organizations.
>> We’ve been engaging with leaders of several frontline organizations working on climate and environmental justice in our B the Change article. We’ve been having tough conversations and getting their direct feedback on several issues, especially concerning our Climate Justice Playbook for Business. Learn more.
15 Climate and Environmental Justice Organizations Your B Corp Should Support
Here are 15 climate and environmental justice organizations B Corps can follow and support. These organizations align with our three bold climate justice ambitions:
- Redefine leadership. We must reevaluate the people we listen to for environmental and climate action solutions and insights and center the voices of frontline and impacted communities.
- Drive climate action centered in justice. We need to make sure companies aren’t just checking boxes. Climate action must combat environmental racism, and company commitments should be proactive and intentional vs. reactive and performative.
- Change the rules. We must build on our momentum to date, inspire real policy change, and be loud advocates for rules and policies promoting civil and environmental rights.
Movement Rights is an Indigenous climate justice organization at the intersection of rights of nature, Indigenous rights, and climate justice. The organization works with communities across the U.S. to help pass local laws to increase resiliency and protect tribes and communities from unwanted corporate activity.
An example of their work: In 2022, they helped the Ponca tribe of Oklahoma make history by passing a new tribal statute recognizing the “Immutable Rights of Rivers” for two rivers and other water bodies flowing through Ponca territory.
Ecojustice is Canada’s largest environmental law charity. They use the law to defend nature, secure necessary environmental protections, and fight against climate change. Some of the most urgent environmental issues they represent cases on include things like environmental racism, plastic pollution, and the loss of endangered species and habitats.
An example of their work: In 2022, Ecojustice represented WWF-Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation in a case against ExxonMobil where the court ruled in their favor in 2023, making ExxonMobil relinquish offshore exploration permits in British Columbia. This was a major milestone in protecting sensitive marine habitats from oil and gas development.
Climate Justice Alliance
In these times of political uncertainty, grassroots organizing continues to lead the way forward, including what the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) does. This community-based organization builds local alternatives that center traditional ecological and cultural knowledge and create a pathway for a regenerative future. They’ve connected with more than 80 frontline communities in the U.S. to end the era of extreme energy and promote local control of resources, including energy, land, water, and food systems.
An example of their work: In 2022, CJA, along with The Solutions Project, helped create the Fund for Frontline Power — a fully grassroots-governed intermediary fund to move money to grassroots-led climate solutions.
Power Shift Network
Power Shift Network is a youth-led climate justice network building a strong, intersectional, bottom-up movement to take on the climate crisis, shift the power, and create systemic change in the U.S. This organization mobilizes the collective power of young people to mitigate climate change and create a just, clean energy future and resilient, thriving communities for all.
An example of their work: Between 2007-2013, Power Shift Network hosted four national Power Shift convergences, gathering hundreds of young climate leaders to learn, strategize, and build the movement. They took Power Shift on the road in 2016, had a virtual Power Shift in 2021, and now plan to hold their 2023 in-person convergence in Bvlbancha (also known as New Orleans).
Indigenous Climate Action
This Canadian, Indigenous-led organization helps communities build climate resiliency and assert their community rights. Their goal is to uplift Indigenous voices, sovereignty, and stewardship of the lands and waters for future generations.
An example of their work: In 2022, they released a new summary report at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), which affirms “land back” (a.k.a. territorial control) as a solution to the climate crisis and widespread biodiversity loss.
The Chisholm Legacy Project
The Chisholm Legacy Project is committed to supporting Black-led frontline climate justice work with the resources and tools necessary to advance systems change on the path toward liberation in the U.S. The organization also works toward prohibiting environmental and local harm in terms of pollution and toxic waste.
An example of their work: In 2022, they created the Policies for the People database, which features existing and prospective policies for advancing Black liberation, just transition, and regenerative economy principles at the federal, state, and local levels.
Association of American Indian Farmers
The Association of American Indian Farmers does amazing work with Native American and Indigenous farmers, helping them assert their rights to their land so they can have space in the market in the U.S. Their main goal is to increase public awareness and understanding of the Keepseagle Settlement, Cobell Settlement, and the indigenous agriculture industry.
An example of their work: In 2022, the association commented on President Biden’s broken promise for Native American farmers, calling for a Farm Foreclosure Moratorium.
Climate Justice Organizing HUB
A support structure designed around the needs of Canadian grassroots social movement organizers, Climate Justice Organizing HUB helps organizers build a critical mass of engaged people. They offer workshops, events, resources, funding, and a community for organizations seeking to prioritize climate justice that need a little extra help and support.
An example of their work: In 2023, Climate Justice Organizing HUB released a new learning circle titled “Mobilizing in Rural Communities and Small Towns.” In this workshop, learn activists and organizers come together to discuss ways to build strong organizing skills in smaller communities.
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring people of color and low-income community members participate in creating sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices in the U.S. Through advocacy, planning, and research, they are mobilizing communities of color to impact environmental issues majorly.
An example of their work: In 2021, WE ACT for Environmental Justice launched a pilot program called “Out of Gas, In with Justice” to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy in affordable housing.
The Solutions Project
The Solutions Project is a nonprofit organization that helps accelerate a just, clean energy transition in the U.S. They do this by funding and amplifying climate justice solutions created by frontline communities and media training and networking to open doors to grantees.
An example of their work: Since 2015, they’ve invested heavily in environmental and economic justice with over $31.49 million in grants, and nearly $7 million in media support, servicing 283 grantees—led mostly by women of color.
RAVEN: Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs
RAVEN has a mission to raise funds for Indigenous people’s access to climate and environmental justice. They help defend legal rights on various issues, including standing up to open pit mining, stopping fossil fuel expansion, supporting Indigenous governance, and pushing back against environmental racism.
An example of their work: In 2020, RAVEN supported the Tsilhqot’in First Nations in defending Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) against the repeated advances of the Taseko Mines Ltd. mining company. The Indigenous community was victorious as the Supreme Court ended the decade-long push by the mining company to build an open-pit gold/copper mine in the area.
The University of California Center for Climate Justice
The University of California Center for Climate Justice works with youth and students to engage them early in climate justice in the U.S. Their main focus is innovative broader-impact research, transformative education, and public engagement. They’re also developing the first-ever climate justice standard for carbon offset.
An example of their work: The center organized a workshop for the campus and surrounding community that focused on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion concerning climate resilience and adaptation planning.
Green Heffa Farms
Green Heffa Farms is a tea company, natural health brand, educational resource, B Corp, and an environmental justice organization in the U.S. They seek to help maintain minority land ownership, decrease inequities, increase inclusion in agribusiness, and promote environmental stewardship.
An example of their work: In 2022, Green Heffa Farms held their W.A.S.H. Conference, which seeks to build the capacity of systematically excluded farmers in the south by plugging them into the supply chain with major brands.
Navajo Power is an Indigenous-led power company working to bring energy independence and efficiency to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous communities in the southwest U.S. Its goal is to maximize the economic benefits of clean energy for tribal and impacted communities.
An example of their work: Navajo Power is developing the Painted Desert Solar Project as a model for renewable energy development that promotes community engagement and benefits to the Navajo Nation and the local Cameron and Coalmine Canyon chapters. The project will begin construction in 2023 and achieve commercial operations by 2024.
Equitable and Just National Climate Platform
Equitable and Just National Climate Platform (EJNCP) is an umbrella organization of many environmental justice groups working to elevate the voices of frontline community leadership on environmental policy design and advocacy in the U.S. They hear the vision from these community leaders and take it to a broader network of organizations to influence the national climate policy agenda in an impactful way.
An example of their work: In 2022, EJNCP ensured President Biden’s Justice40 initiative was implemented, and resources reached the communities most in need. They shared information, engaged policymakers and partners, and mobilized co-signers to advance the work of not leaving any communities behind.
Other Ways to Support Climate and Environmental Justice
Fighting for climate and environmental justice is deep and challenging personal work. But it’s also work that should bring us together. By connecting and supporting these environmental justice organizations, we can move away from extractive and exploitative approaches to climate action and toward fair and regenerative approaches to environmental well-being.
Here are more tools to help inspire you to increase sustainability and reduce impact.
Sign Up for our B The Change Newsletter
Read stories on the B Corp Movement and people using business as a force for good. The B The Change Newsletter is sent weekly on Fridays.