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

Recommendations for delivering equitable resilience and greenhouse gas reduction through coordination, cooperations, and collaboration by community development financial institutions (CDFIs), community development banks and credit unions, minority depository institutions, green banks, and other mission lenders; community development corporations; environmental advocates; contractors; community groups; and others committed to a just, resilient future.
Make your voice heard on the greenhouse gas reduction fund:

The Inflation Reduction Act amended the Clean Air Act to create the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a new program that will provide competitive grants to mobilize financing and leverage private capital for clean energy and climate projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions - with an emphasis on projects that benefit low-inclome and disadvantaged communities - and further the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to environmental justice. For more information, see the EPA's Greenhouse Reduction Fund.

Responses to EPA Request for Information: Greenhouse gas reduction fund due december 5:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public comment on core design aspects of the the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. This notice will be open for 45 days, until December 5, 2022. EPA encourages all written feedback about the program to be submitted in response to the RFI. Feedback about the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund should be submitted in writing to Docket # EPA-HO-OA-2022-0859.

Read the center for impact finance's ghgrf rfi response:

Our response is available for download here.

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 CDFI's, 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—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 deal, 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.  

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. 

Over the last month, in partnership with the natural resources defense council (nrdc), we have been developing "equitable strategy maps" or 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 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 (GHGRF) 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.  

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 Map. Please review the draft strategy maps below and send us your feedback by December 15, 2022. Your insights and expertise are needed. The design labs have produced draft guides to inform lending lines of business in the following key market sectors. To download a particular strategy map, click the link provided. NOTE: these drafts may be incomplete or contain errors.

We will continue to build on these strategy maps as we learn more information about GHGRF funding opportunities. 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.