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Most companies add business consultants to their rosters. But Aclima’s mission is split between economic and social good, and today the company announced that it is adding climate and environmental justice leaders to its advisory board.
Aclima uses sensors in its own fleet of vehicles to measure global pollution block by block and apply this data to tackle climate change. Businesses and governments can subscribe to Aclima to assess the environment and take action to reduce pollution. But Aclima has also stated that it is a not-for-profit organization, which means that its charter is to serve the common good through business – maximizing impact, not just profits – CEO Davida Herzl said in an interview with VentureBeat.
“As a technology community, we’ve barely scratched the surface of technology potential to really help solve big problems and serve people and the planet,” said Herzl. “If you look back on 2020, it showed us the problems that we need to solve. It’s about public health, about climate change and about the things that are really existential for society. And technology really does play a big part. “
She added, “One of the things that came to a head in 2020 was definitely the issue of racial and social justice. When we think of our technology, we want to be sure that we are building it and delivering it in a way that actually promotes the social welfare of society. We bring these voices to the table and bring them into our process. Our board of directors is a brain trust that ensures that the science and technology we develop are truly tailored to the needs of society. “
Photo credit: Aclima
I spoke to the company last summer when California was on fire and smoke colored our skies orange.
Herzl believes that the air we breathe is a critical infrastructure. Access to clean air is a human right, but 90% of us don’t have it, she said. Systemic racial injustices have placed disproportionate environmental burdens on color communities. And the same emissions that harm our health are changing the climate, she said. These converging crises challenge each of us to pool our collective resources, energy and ingenuity to innovate for environmental justice.
Herzl said places like West Oakland are among the most polluted in the Bay Area, and it’s no coincidence that the area has such a high concentration of color communities. In the US, blacks are three times more likely to die from air pollution, she said.
“The data we generate shows where technologies need to be used to not only reduce emissions, but also to advance these really critical issues of environmental justice,” she said.
Photo credit: Aclima
Herzl wants the company to be a beacon for talents who take care of the root causes. Aclima is hiring interns, and Herzl noted that this crew of graduates who dropped out of college not only survived a pandemic, they “look down the barrel of a climate crisis.” And there are a growing number of companies in the “social capital” market doing good and making money at the same time.
Herzl said her team includes the many talented engineers, scientists, and programmers who built the network and sensors to measure pollution. But the common thread is that they are building technology for a good cause. The company is also hiring drivers for its vehicle fleets in the polluted communities and creating a path for these drivers to rise in the company.
Aclima aims to catalyze bold climate action that protects public health, reduces emissions and promotes equity. The company works with environmental leaders across industries to diagnose air pollution sources, achieve emissions reductions and interventions, and measure progress.
Photo credit: Aclima
“We connect very different worlds with our advisory board,” said Herzl. “Our consultants are delighted that technological innovations are being applied to the problems they have been fighting for for years.”
The company’s Advisory Board reflects these values and includes the following new members:
- Peggy Shepard, Managing Director of We Act for Environmental Justice. She is a pioneer in the environmental justice movement and has played a catalytic role in breaking law in New York State. She is a national leader in promoting environmental policy and the environmental justice perspective in urban communities. She was recently appointed to the White House’s first environmental justice advisory board.
- Sacoby Wilson, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland. Wilson is an environmental health scientist and environmental justice advocate with expertise in exposure science. Environmental justice; and community-based research, including community-based participatory research (CBPR), the built environment, geospatial visualization tools, environmental health differentials, air pollution and water quality studies, climate change and community resilience.
- Margaret Gordon, Co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. It has defined new models for local advocacy, organization, politics and collective action in the area of environmental justice. Under her leadership, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project led to the creation of the groundbreaking Owning Our Air emissions reduction plan as part of the implementation of California’s 617 Assembly Act. Your organization has been a key community partner in Aclima’s groundbreaking 2017 poll on pollution varies from block to block by up to 800%.
- Gloria Walton, CEO of the solution project. Your work supports climate protectors, innovators and solvers at the grassroots level. Previously, she was CEO of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a community organization in South Los Angeles widely recognized as a leader in developing innovative strategies to ensure that black and brown, and poor and working-class communities, have one another Vote in the democratic process.
- Heather McTeer Toney, Climate Justice Liaison with the Environmental Defense Fund. She served as the first black, first female, and youngest female mayor of Greenville, Mississippi. In 2014 she was appointed by President Barack Obama as Regional Administrator for the Southeast Region of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she served until 2017. Her work has made her a national figure in public service, diversity and community engagement.
- Christine Harada, Vice president of government affairs for clean energy company Heliogen. She is a nationally recognized climate and sustainability expert and was previously President of i (x) investments, Partner at Ridge-Lane LP, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer of the Obama administration and Chief Acquisition Officer of the US GSA.
- Kerry Duggan, Principal at SustainabiliD. She is currently a member of the State of Michigan Council on Climate Solutions. In 2020, Dugan was appointed by Biden to the Biden-Sanders Unity Climate Change Task Force. She served in the Obama-Biden White House as assistant director of politics for then Vice President Joe Biden for energy, the environment, climate and communities in need.
Photo credit: Aclima
Aclima methods have been developed by leading scientists and validated by research institutions for over a decade. This newly expanded advisory board will build and strengthen connections with committed researchers.
Herzl assumes that climate protection measures in the USA will change fundamentally and that investments in environmental justice will be necessary in all sectors.
These new members of the Aclima Advisory Board, which was originally formed in 2015, will join existing advisors Bill Reilly, Martin Goebel, Luc Vincent, Nick Parker, Greg Niemeyer and David Sherman.
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