A Climate Justice Toolkit for Business

April 5, 2023

Action-Oriented Resources to Help Businesses Address Climate Change and Social Justice

The intersections between the global crises of climate change and social justice are becoming increasingly clear around the world. Businesses and organizations face a unique opportunity, and an immense challenge, to play a role in tackling both. Collective efforts to date have done little to impact climate change; work rooted in climate justice is necessary to actually make a difference. To help support and guide them in taking action, a new climate justice toolkit released for Earth Month by B Lab U.S. & Canada offers action-oriented resources to help organizations collaborate on climate solutions that are inclusive, equitable, and regenerative.

Climate justice puts the people and communities most affected by climate change at the forefront of solutions shaped in partnership with businesses, governments, and other organizations. As one of three pillars in B Lab U.S. & Canada’s Theory of Change, climate justice is a key component in the B Corp community’s work for a more just and resilient future for all people and the planet. The climate justice toolkit builds on B Lab U.S. & Canada’s Climate Justice Playbook for Business, initially released in 2021, with action-oriented information and resources on climate justice that businesses can use for climate action and advocacy. 

Addressing climate justice is no small feat; it requires businesses to reconsider longstanding practices and tackle systemic barriers in partnership with the most affected communities. As Cee Stanley, CEO of B Corp Green Heffa Farms, says in the climate justice toolkit: “You cannot talk about climate justice without talking about environmental racism.” 

The cornerstone of the climate justice toolkit is a monthlong Climate Justice Reflection Challenge that incorporates community, justice, and racial equity. For each of April’s four weeks, the Climate Justice Reflection Challenge focuses on a central question through an exercise, frontline leader insights, discussion questions, and other resources. The four questions are designed to help B Corps and other organizations explore climate justice issues and how they can end extractive practices with reshaped policies, practices, and products:

  • What is climate justice?
  • How does climate change impact frontline communities?
  • What is the role of business?
  • How can business take action?

Get a peek at the climate justice toolkit and the Climate Justice Reflection Challenge in the excerpts that follow. Then download the toolkit for a full look at the Climate Justice Reflection Challenge as well as an expanded resources section — with articles, podcasts, webinars, event recordings, and more — to help businesses strengthen their climate justice work. To build on the momentum of Earth Month, B Lab U.S. & Canada is offering a May 4 webinar on funding climate solutions with equitable partnerships co-hosted by B Corp World Centric and The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project.

Earth Month 2023 Toolkit

This free downloadable resource helps businesses engage in reflection, learning, and action around climate justice. The toolkit includes a Climate Justice Reflection Challenge, glossary, and calls to action.


What Is Climate Justice?

Climate justice recognizes that those who are least responsible for climate change are more likely to suffer its most devastating effects, now and in the future. These people and frontline communities are already being impacted first and worst by climate change. Climate change is a human-made crisis that has been primarily caused by those with economic power and privilege. Its effects have a disproportionately negative impact on the historically marginalized and underserved — mainly People of Color and people who live in low-income communities.

Climate justice calls on us to place the needs, voices, and leadership of those who are most impacted by climate change at the forefront.

“We cannot tackle the climate crisis without addressing the global inequality crisis. We cannot develop effective solutions without recognizing the differing impacts of climate change on different groups.” — Sayo Ayodele, Climate Action Champions Team for COP26, Climate Justice Playbook for Business 

Sign with message: Un-dam the Snake River. Save the salmon.

How Does Climate Change Impact Frontline Communities?

The consequences of climate change are affecting people in frontline communities first and worst. They include urban, rural, and coastal communities around the globe that typically are lower-income, under-resourced communities of color. And they feel the effects in their everyday lives. 

Many frontline communities hold a deep mistrust of business based on past harms that have been caused. During interviews with people in frontline communities, they said it’s crucial for businesses to build trust and equitable partnerships as they shape their climate justice work.  

“The only way to solve climate change is through an equity lens, to center frontline communities most affected, listen to the wisdom within those communities, and to work with them to create a sustainable future.” — Raj Aggarwal, President of Provoc, Climate Justice Playbook for Business

Earth Month 2023 Toolkit

This free downloadable resource helps businesses engage in reflection, learning, and action around climate justice. The toolkit includes a Climate Justice Reflection Challenge, glossary, and calls to action.


What Is the Role of Business?

Business and industry are the sources of the vast majority of our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. An economy built on extracting from people and the Earth — coupled with a growth-at-any-cost mindset — has fueled the climate crisis. As large contributors to climate change, businesses have a responsibility to be part of the solutions. 

They also have a responsibility to look to the leadership and wisdom of frontline communities to guide practices and solutions that can help reduce the impacts of the climate crisis on people, the planet, and the economy. People in frontline communities provided some guidance on the role of business in climate justice: 

  • Financial resources are needed; businesses should start locally and adopt a trust-based approach in their philanthropy efforts.
  • Businesses need to listen, learn, and be accountable in order to begin to heal past harms and trauma with communities.
  • Businesses must be proactive, rather than reactive, with commitments.

“The most important thing is to come from the heart, make sure you’re being ethical, honest about where you are, and check your progress ongoing. Businesses need to build on their progress, versus just check boxes.” — Kara Boyd, President, Association of American Indian Farmers

How Can Business Take Action?

While action and strategy on climate justice will vary for each business — depending on size, industry, and location — one common ingredient for success is collaboration. Real engagement in climate justice requires businesses to listen and learn, then reflect and commit to building equitable partnerships with frontline communities. 

People in frontline communities reinforced the importance of establishing trust-based relationships, especially when it comes to corporate philanthropy and partnering with frontline communities, and of listening to the perspectives of those who are most impacted.

“It’s all about relationships, especially working with Indigenous people, it’s about relationships, and being humble.” — Pennie Opal Plant, Co-Founder, Movement Rights

A Climate Solutions Webinar

Learn about more equitable and effective grantmaking partnerships from the team at The Trust-Based Philanthropy, and hear from community partners and B Corp funders who are operationalizing trust-based practices.


Additional Climate Justice Resources

  • The Climate Justice Playbook for Business

    The Climate Justice Playbook for Business

    A free guide on the intersection of climate action and social justice.

  • A Call to Action for B Corps: Climate Justice Is Racial Justice

    Co-Creating Climate Justice Rooted in Equity and Inclusion

  • man in flood waters holding sign

    Who We’re Learning from About Climate Justice

    5 Things Businesses Need to Know About Climate Justice from Frontline Leaders


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