An Equity-Centered, Collaborative Approach to Greenhouse Gas Reduction for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities

Clean energy credit union

Photo courtesy of the Clean Energy Credit Union, a member of Inclusiv

The center for impact finance, carsey school of public policy, unh, and the natural resources defense council are excited to announce the

Equitable Greenhouse Gas Reduction Webinar Series


Join us! Every Thursday afternoon, 2-3:30 pm ET, from June 22, 2023, through August 3, 2023, we will make the case for how the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) can deliver equitable greenhouse gas reduction in low-income and disadvantaged communities (LI/DAC)—through traditional lending lines of business in key market sectors.

In the opening webinar, we will establish a framework and detail the fundamentals that are essential for rapid, impactful equitable deployment of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and a just transition to a clean energy economy.

Then, over the following six weeks, we will explore how to operationalize these fundamentals through specific traditional lending lines of business, sector by sector, starting with the residential sector on June 29 and concluding with the small business sector August 3. Each of the sector-focused webinars will feature an experienced lender, a community-based organization or policy advocate, and a key industry player such as a developer, installer, or technical advisor. Each conversation will be informed by the findings and recommendations in the equitable strategy guides developed through a "sprint" design lab process led by the Center for Impact Finance and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), grounded in deep, hands-on expertise shared through focus groups of community development lenders and clean energy industry players. 

Click here to register for webinars in this series or to view recordings of webinars you may have missed.

Our Goal:

to ensure that all communities—especially communities of color, Native Nations, and those that are economically disadvantaged − build resilience and fully realize the benefits of the clean energy revolution, resourced by their fair share of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund capital as well as equal access to other sources of responsible capital, on terms that they can afford, propelled by the opportunities of the Inflation Reduction Act generally. 

The inflation reduction act includes unprecedented funding and opportunities to fuel greenhouse gas reduction for low-income and disadvantaged communities. 

To maximize equitable greenhouse gas reduction and "co-benefits" such as economic development, quality jobs, resilience, affordable housing, sustainable food systems, and more, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), community development banks and credit unions, Minority Depository Institutions, Green Banks, and other mission lenders must join together with other organizations across the project development, financing, and implementation ecosystem. If we coordinate, cooperate, and collaborate, each contributing our expertise, experience, trusted relationships, and other strengths and leveraging those of others, we can achieve rapid, impactful deployment of clean energy investments to low-income and disadvantaged communities. That ecosystem—community development finance entities, their investors and partners, project developers, contractors, and workforce development entities—are well-positioned to leverage the Federal opportunities into real estate development and revitalization, business expansion, community facilities, and every other community-based project that has or is seeking financing. 

Together, we can develop a new type of value engineering—one that seeks to increase the impact of every loan, every building, and every business by identifying opportunities to reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions and build equitable resilience.

Business as usual is no longer enough.

Communities of color, Native communities, and those that are economically disadvantaged are disproportionately impacted by the risks and realities of climate change. Homes and farms are damaged. Workers and businesses face the impact of on-going economic shifts. Lives and livelihoods are at stake. We need to reinvigorate the community development field through deep commitment to resilience and climate change mitigation and begin to structure investments to ensure that resilience and greenhouse gas reduction are engineered into every investment, every building, every business, every project, everywhere, for everyone. 

The Center for Impact Finance is working to maximize benefits to communities through coordination, cooperation, and collaboration across the project delivery and financing ecosystem.

By activating and supporting the strong existing community development networks and helping build relations with other key market players, we hope to achieve rapid, impactful, and equitable implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and other key climate programs. Here, we describe the opportunity, the challenges we aim to address, and our plan to support interested stakeholders. We will continue to update this webpage with new information and resources as they develop.  

Since late 2022, in partnership with the natural resources defense council (NRDC), we have been developing "equitable strategy guides" to inform equitable greenhouse gas reduction through traditional lending lines of business in key market sectors.

Through this "sprint design lab" process, supported by UNH / NRDC staff and consultants, expert teams have been sharing knowledge and developing recommendations for community development, Green Banks, and other mission lenders on how to (1) integrate and normalize greenhouse gas reduction into development services, financing, and asset management and (2) coordinate/collaborate on the most impactful ways to deploy Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) dollars to scale clean energy financing in low-income and disadvantaged communities. Recommendations are grounded in deep, hands-on expertise, developed through working groups of relevant market participants and stakeholders who together will estimate the investment opportunity in each market sector, identify barriers and potential solutions to scaling the particular lending line of business, build collaborations necessary for project development, and discuss funding priorities.  

Check out the equitable strategy guides and share your feedback:

Each design lab has engaged a cohort of experienced lenders, developers, and thought leaders reflective of the project development and finance process for that market sector to develop an "Equitable Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy Guide." The design labs have produced these working papers to inform lending lines of business in the key market sectors. To download a particular strategy map working paper, click the link provided. Your insights and expertise are much appreciated—please send feedback to Tina Poole Johnson, Deputy Director.

We will continue to build on these strategy guides as we learn more information about GGRF funding opportunities. Further, we will continue to update this webpage with new information and resources as they develop—so check back regularly and follow us on LinkedIn for updates!

Our pitch to you:
  • You are needed—every deal, every building, every business, everywhere makes a difference.
  • Your organization has unique abilities, strengths, and community relationships to bring to the table, critical to an equity-centered approach to GHGR.
  • The most sustainable and impactful play requires coordination, cooperations, and collaboration with other organizations across the project delivery and financing ecosystem—don't waste time and resources on unproductive competition.