Sustainable Consumption & Production

The Overbrook Foundation’s Sustainable Consumption & Production program seeks out efforts that support innovative ideas in sustainability, particularly around the production and consumption of materials. Projects funded range from promoting EPR (extended producer responsibility) legislation to building sustainable paper markets to innovative recycling methods. Climate change, with a particular focus on energy efficiency and youth engagement, receives distinct but limited support.

Below are the Foundation’s 2014 grantees through its sustainable consumption & production portfolio.


General Operating Support - $40,000

350.org combines online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and creative communications to build a movement for climate solutions across the planet. The campaign is named after 350 parts per million, the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, according to the latest science (current CO2 are at just over 400 ppm). 350.org is training leaders and mobilizing the global public to pressure governments to make real progress on climate change. 350.org is inspired by the success of its fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has spread rapidly, and looks forward to expanding that work over the coming year to more campuses, churches, cities, and then to Europe and Australia—including a plan to start talking more about re-investment. It will continue creative communications and media work to gain more attention about the connection of climate change and extreme weather and around coal and fracking. 350.org is also going into Phase 2 of Global Power Shift, with projects from thirty countries already planned. These will include national summits around the world to develop lasting political power that will hopefully create the type of political transformation required for real climate progress.

ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York

Transform Don’t Trash - $30,000

ALIGN’s mission is to create good jobs, vibrant communities and an accountable democracy for all New Yorkers. New York City’s restaurants, offices, and businesses generate a staggering 5.5 million tons of solid waste each year, and bury and burn over 2 million tons of that waste in landfills and incinerators. The commercial waste industry is highly polluting, costly and inefficient, disproportionately burdensome on low-income communities and communities of color, and dangerous and exploitative for workers.

Through the Transform Don’t Trash NYC campaign, ALIGN is uniting labor, environmental justice, community and other advocates to transform NYC’s commercial waste system. By improving environmental standards, labor standards and corporate accountability, ALIGN aims to reduce waste and pollution, create cleaner and healthier communities for all New Yorkers, lift thousands waste industry workers and their families out of poverty, and create thousands of new, quality jobs in recycling and recycling-reliant industries.

Alliance for Climate Education

General Operating Support - $50,000

The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) was founded in 2008 to educate high school students about the science behind climate change and inspire them to take action. Not many organizations can say that their work has reached over 1.6 million people five years into their formation. Nor could many claim that they’re actually changing peoples’ minds on climate change. However, ACE is doing both. It recognizes that it is critical not just to raise awareness of climate change and its effects among youth, but to actively engage them in the debate and encourage them to take leadership roles. ACE’s mission is to fundamentally shift the attitude and behavior of a generation and build the will to solve the climate crisis. ACE achieves this through an education and action program that accelerates climate science literacy among teens, providing leadership training and opportunities, and inspiring students to become climate leaders and innovators in the green economy.

American Sustainable Business Council

General Operating Support - $25,000

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is the largest, most influential business organization in the country working to advance a sustainable economy and create systemic change. It does so by shifting markets, supporting the best policies, and changing the very natures of businesses by disseminating new business models, such as cooperatives and incubators. American Sustainable Business Council’s strategies are to aggregate business power, inform and advocate with policymakers and create a greater presence in the media in order to transform old dialogues and paradigms. The American Sustainable Business Council works simultaneously to address key economic, environmental, and social issues.

The American Sustainable Business Council and its members comprise more than 200,000 businesses and business entities, as well as 325,000 individual entrepreneurs, owners, executives, and investors in diverse industries across the United States, and it is growing rapidly. The American Sustainable Business Council’s ranks include trade associations, state chambers of commerce, social enterprises, microenterprises, sustainable business groups, community-rooted businesses, women and minority business leaders, economic developers, and business incubators.

As You Sow

Consumer Packaging and E-waste Recycling Initiatives - $35,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

Founded in 1992, As You Sow promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. In As You Sow’s report Unfinished Business, it estimates that $11 billion of recyclable materials are wasted annually. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a proven strategy in other countries that shifts the responsibility for post-consumer waste from taxpayers and municipal governments to companies that produce the packaging, creating incentives for producers, increasing packaging recycling rates, providing revenue to improve recycling systems, and reducing carbon and energy use. As You Sow is now engaging with 20 companies to develop plans for packaging that will lead to higher recycling rates and reduce environmental impacts. This shareholder advocacy initiative will integrate with ongoing corporate and grassroots efforts to pass EPR policy at the state level. As You Sow is also pressing electronic retailers to provide electronic take-back programs and large corporate technology users to pledge the use of “e-Steward” certified recyclers when retiring equipment.

Clean Production Action

General Operating Support - $30,000

Clean Production Action (CPA)’s mission is to design and deliver strategic solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials and environmentally preferable products. The organization’s unique role is to translate the systems-based vision of clean production into the tools and strategies that NGOs, governments and businesses need to advance green chemicals, sustainable materials and environmentally preferable products. Projects include GreenScreen, currently the leading application for identifying safer chemicals, and BizNGO, which is at the center of cross-sectoral efforts to transform the chemical and material economy into a more sustainable frame.

Dogwood Alliance

The Paper Campaign/Carbon Canopy $15,000

Dogwood Alliance mobilizes diverse voices to defend the forests and communities of the Southern U.S.—the largest paper producing region of the world—from destructive industrial forestry. For over 10 years, Dogwood Alliance has been on the leading edge of catalyzing a shift in the U.S. paper market toward greater use of post-consumer recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper. Through its efforts, Dogwood Alliance has already transformed the practices of some of the largest corporations in the world, increasing protection for over 90 million acres of forests across the South. Dogwood Alliance will manage three campaigns in 2014: The Paper Campaign focused on protecting forests from destructive logging caused by the paper industry; The Bioenergy Campaign focused on stopping the unregulated expansion of wood-based biomass energy production; and The Carbon Canopy Project, a collaborative of corporations, landowners and conservation groups working to advance forest conservation and improve forest management practices in the South through developing ecosystem service markets, beginning with carbon, in the Southern US.

Environmental Paper Network

General Operating Support - $20,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

Environmental Paper Network was formed by non-profit organizations in 2002 as a project to accelerate macro-level transformation in the paper industry and foster strong collaboration among organizations working toward this common goal. In 2014, EPN will focus on three areas: creating strategic opportunities for collaboration among member organizations; managing collaborative projects and resources that increase the adoption of sustainable solutions, including the Paper Calculator, PulpWatch.org, WhatsInYourPaper.com, and the Paper Steps/Eco-Paper Database; and providing capacity for participation in critical product standard rule-setting processes for the paper sector. It is also supporting the EcoPaper Database, which lists over 440 of the leading eco-papers in North America.

Food Tank

General Operating Support - $25,000

Food Tank is a new organization created to re-frame the current policy conversation about the food system. Food Tank seeks to align agricultural systems with nutritionally sound and environmentally responsible production, and connect sustainable growth for farmers with healthy food for eaters. Food Tank publishes original content several times daily and seven days a week, including video, articles, columns, reports, and investigative journalism. In 2014, Food Tank will continue to strive to become the go-to resource and convener on food and agriculture issues. It will focus on innovative, environmentally sustainable approaches to alleviate hunger, obesity, and poverty by highlighting emerging research, and global stories of success in agriculture. Food Tank is also partnering with the James Beard Foundation to create a rigorous and interactive rankings system of the top 250 sustainable food organizations.


ForestEthics: OilNet and Business Ethics Network - $55,000

ForestEthics’ mission is “to protect endangered forests, and wild places, wildlife, and human well-being.” It tackles environmental challenges brought on by the destruction and pollution of natural areas through irresponsible corporate practices and fossil fuel development. By reforming companies that produce and consume paper, wood, and fuel on a large scale, ForestEthics is protecting forests that are crucial filters of air and water and represent a powerful defense against climate change. In response to an unprecedented scramble by huge fossil fuel corporations in North America to export as much coal, oil, and tar sands as possible to world markets, ForestEthics is galvanizing a network—OilNet—to prevent increased refining and transport of these fuels to the West Coast, the quickest and cheapest path to Asian markets. ForestEthics also became the new home of Business Ethics Network (BEN) in 2013. BEN is comprised of 700 individual campaign activists and over 150 campaign organizations. The BEN project provides numerous trainings to its members, as well as consulting, networking opportunities, and other resources to help strengthen their work.

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

GAIA U.S. & Canada Program - $50,000

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) works to promote and assist in the shaping of local environmentally sustainable economies and creative zero waste solutions in communities around the world. GAIA’s U.S. & Canada Program coordinates and supports a vibrant network of more than 250 regional members. It is building a national movement that challenges new and existing waste incinerators, advocates for zero waste with justice, and participates in broader sustainability organizing. GAIA believes that zero waste goes hand in hand with democracy, transparency, and economic and environmental justice, a vision called “zero waste with justice.” It uses this framework to link the apparently apolitical issues of recycling and composting with “new economy” networks and transformative visions of social and economic organization, especially in urban contexts and in urban-rural connections around food systems.

Green Press Initiative

General Operating Support - $25,000

The Green Press Initiative works to reduce the environmental and social impacts of the pulp and paper industry by shifting large paper-consuming sectors to recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified papers and through efforts to accurately account for the greenhouse gas impacts from harvesting trees. In 2014, Green Press Initiative (in partnership with the Environmental Paper Network) will build awareness and broad-based support for a new methodology for forest carbon accounting that challenges the notion that harvesting trees for paper is carbon neutral. In addition, support will be utilized to advance continued measurable recycled fiber and FSC gains in the US book and newspaper industries, and continue advocating for US book publishers to cease purchasing paper sourced from endangered forests in Canada and Indonesia.


General Operating Support - $40,000

Groundswell’s mission is to unlock communities’ shared economic power to grow sustainability and expand prosperity on the local level. Groundswell’s work is based on the innovative idea of Civic Consumption, which theorizes that communities can leverage their collective purchasing power to drive social and environmental change and reward businesses that deliver the deepest social benefit. By organizing communities into collective purchasing groups and negotiating discounted rates for clean energy, Groundswell makes clean energy accessible to families and organizations for the first time. This expands the clean energy economy and reduces the carbon footprint of energy consumption. Through Groundswell Energy, the organization partners with mission-focused institutions and individual families to help them purchase clean electricity at a reduced price. In 2014, Groundswell will deepen its reach across its sites, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, and will implement its model in additional sectors and locations.

Health Care Without Harm

Healthier Hospitals Initiative - $50,000

The mission of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is to transform the health care sector, currently a major polluter, and to reduce harm to human health and the environment. For over 18 years, HCWH has done groundbreaking work in researching best practices, testing them and providing implementation tools for hospitals. Yet, this agenda has been put into practice unevenly through the healthcare system. The Healthier Hospitals Initiative was created to challenge hospitals to better practices in six areas: Smarter Purchasing, Safer Chemicals, Leaner Energy, Healthier Foods, Less Waste and Leadership. The leadership of HHI comes from twelve large U.S. health systems representing over 500 hospitals with more than $20 billion in purchasing power.

In Our Backyards (ioby)

General Operating Support - $50,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

ioby, a New York based conservation organization, is building a national system of civic leaders, citizen philanthropists, and volunteers who create, fund, and implement urban sustainability projects in their neighborhoods. With a focus on Generation X, Millennial leaders of color, and leaders from low-income communities, ioby leaders are primarily served through ioby.org, a crowd-resourcing platform that blends crowd-funding and community organizing. ioby.org delivers meaningful opportunities for participation to neighbors, and stitches together stories of innovation, change, and community building into a larger narrative on the importance of urban revitalization and conservation as a tool to build political will for social and environmental issues. After a successful pilot in NYC, in 2012, ioby launched nationally and continues to refine its products and services.

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy

Don’t Waste LA Campaign - $35,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) is a leading advocacy organization dedicated to building a new economy for all, grounded in good jobs and a healthy environment. Its “Don’t Waste LA” (Waste and Recycling) project aims to systematically transform the waste and recycling industry in the city of Los Angeles and other cities in LA County and create a national model for resource management. In 2010, LAANE began its campaign to push for an exclusive franchise system of hauling, where recycling regulations could be strengthened, standardized, and enforced. After a hard-fought campaign by LAANE’s team and allies, the City Council voted in November 2012 in favor of converting to a franchise system. LAANE continues to be active in the development process and in ensuring that the competitive franchise policy will maximize recycling and reuse, establish safety, labor and environmental standards for hauling and processing facilities, and will be implemented in the most sustainable manner.

Move NY

Traffic Pricing Campaign - $20,000

Move NY’s mission is to implement a transportation plan for the New York Metropolitan region, which would achieve the objectives of creating a substantial and permanent new MTA revenue stream to finance sustained transportation system improvements and upkeep across the region. This plan would also serve to balance the region’s tolling system to make it fairer for all area drivers and significantly reduce traffic congestion in and around New York City’s central business district. The Traffic Pricing plan creates an equitable tolling system while also providing substantial benefits for drivers, which is both fair (since they’re paying the new tolls) and politically astute.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Promoting Extended Producer Responsibility and Sustainable School Food and Packaging - $70,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

Founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has become one of the nation’s largest environmental advocacy organizations. NRDC lawyers helped write some of America’s bedrock environmental laws. Today, the NRDC staff of more than 300 attorneys, scientists and policy experts works out of offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing. NRDC is also working to advance replicable models of product stewardship—putting the burden on producers to make sustainable choices in packaging their products and take responsibility for the waste they create—by advancing extended producer responsibility legislation in Rhode Island and California. Recently, NRDC has been asked to advise six of the nation’s largest school systems—including New York City—on procuring antibiotic-free chicken and phasing out the wasteful, antiquated Styrofoam lunch trays still used in school cafeterias.

The New York Harbor Foundation

Billion Oyster Project - $35,000

The New York Harbor Foundation’s mission is to prepare New York City students for careers in marine science and technology by learning about and exploring issues of sustainable ecosystems, including the New York Harbor. To further this mission, the Foundation supports The Harbor School, a public high school on Governor’s Island with a mission to provide a college-preparatory education built upon New York City’s maritime experience. The Billion Oyster Project (BOP), a project of the New York Harbor Foundation, is a long-term, large-scale plan to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor over the next twenty years, and in the process train thousands of young people in New York City to work within and care about their local marine environment. BOP is a partnership of schools, businesses, nonprofits, and volunteers all working together to grow oysters, restore the estuary, and make our city a healthier and more resilient place to live.

Product Policy Institute/UPSTREAM

Campaign for Sustainable Products and Packaging - $15,000

The Campaign for Sustainable Products and Packaging aims to prevent marine debris, plastic pollution, climate change emissions, and natural resource depletion through sustainable packaging and product policies. It builds stakeholder literacy and political power to achieve Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) packaging policy in the public’s interest and mobilizes citizens to put public pressure on brands through the Make It, Take It market campaign. It also continues to develop the CRADLE2 Coalition into a powerful national network to build political support for EPR for additional products.

Product Stewardship Institute

Building Capacity to Pass EPR Legislation for Packaging, Batteries & Mattresses - $20,000

Founded in 2000, the Product Stewardship Institute’s mission is to pursue initiatives to ensure that all those involved in the life cycle of a product share responsibility for reducing its health and environmental impacts, with producers bearing primary financial responsibility. Just one year after the organization’s founding, it created the nation’s first cohesive, published set of goals for product stewardship in the United States, to spur a change in the way products are designed so that manufacturers, retailers, governments and consumers share the responsibility for minimizing the product’s health and environmental impacts. PSI’s work includes initiating and leading national negotiations in over 18 industry sectors, resulting in the development of model legislation for—and the passage of—25 state electronics laws, 10 state thermostat laws, 4 state paint laws, and 3 state lamps laws. Furthermore, PSI has laid the groundwork for the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility laws for mattresses, batteries, and other products that it has assessed have the greatest likelihood of passing. PSI takes a collaborative approach that brings together divergent parties to develop joint product stewardship solutions.

The Story of Stuff

General Operating Support - $40,000

The Story of Stuff Project was founded in 2008 to change the way we make, use, and throw away Stuff to be healthier, sustainable, and just. The Project’s animated movies have garnered more than 42 million online views worldwide and motivated viewers to support hundreds of environmental campaigns and projects. In 2014, the Story of Stuff Project will launch a new YouTube series called “Ask Annie,” inviting the audience into a kitchen table conversation with founder, Annie Leonard. It will also continue to be a standout provider of popular education materials for schools, houses of worship, businesses and governments, presenting at more than 40 events, providing high quality serial content for a series of media outlets, and securing a deal to publish a Common Core standards-aligned, middle grade version of The Story of Stuff book. Its Boot Camp will provide basic training in civic participation for 1,000 of its community members and will implement technology enabling community members to set up and manage their own campaigns.

Sustainable South Bronx

Recycling and Green Jobs: Taking it to the Next Level - $15,000

The mission of Sustainable South Bronx is to address economic and environmental issues in the South Bronx – and throughout New York City – through a combination of green job training, community greening programs, and social enterprise. The organization’s Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Academy (BEST) prepares unemployed and underemployed South Bronx residents for jobs in the green sector, and its SmartRoofs social enterprise employs program graduates as it undertakes environmental and ecological projects throughout the city. Community greening initiatives reduce energy waste and bring people together to beautify the South Bronx. The Recycling and Green Jobs initiative will focus on: (1) the development of a marketing campaign that highlights how Sustainable South Bronx’s social enterprise has successfully saved building owners both money and staff resources by conducting activities that aim to promote recycling; and (2) the outreach efforts necessary for the social enterprise to obtain new contracts pertaining to recycling work in the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. This program will combine a solution for a long-term environmental problem—very low rates of recycling in the South Bronx—with an opportunity to demonstrate the potential of a new kind of environmental workforce.

Urban Green (U.S. Green Building – New York Chapter)

General Operating Support - $40,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

Urban Green Council’s mission is to lead the advancement of sustainability in the urban built environment and to serve as a model for other cities through education, advocacy, collaboration and research. It helmed the Green Codes Task Force, which released 111 proposals to green New York City’s codes in February 2010. More recently, and in response to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, it released the Building Resiliency Report. Through the Council’s advocacy, 35 proposals have been adopted, with more under consideration. Urban Green also provides a wide range of educational and networking events for its members and the green building community at large, conducts research, and advocates for change that will make cities more sustainable.

Grantees by Year:  2015  |  2014  |  2013