by Andrew Himes, Director of Collective Impact
In October I happily joined the Carbon Leadership Forum staff in a new permanent position as Director of Collective Impact. Some of you may know that I have worked with Kate and the Carbon Leadership Forum for a few years now, first as a volunteer, then in a part-time and temporary position, and now as a full-timer.
In 2017 I helped CLF develop a roadmap to identify key actions needed across the industry to decarbonize construction and materials. In 2018, I coordinated Carbon Smart Building Day at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco to help the industry unite on a common vision and purpose to radically reduce both operational carbon and embodied carbon. In 2019 I helped develop a communications plan to support the launch of the EC3 tool, helped convene the first meeting of CLF’s NGO Roundtable, and developed a CRM database to manage CLF’s growing network of professionals, companies, partners, communications, and projects. In 2020, I developed the online CLF Community and implemented the CLF’s new website and monthly newsletters.
When you do a web search for “collective impact,” you learn that collective impact “brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. It starts with a common agenda. It establishes shared measurement. It fosters mutually reinforcing activities. It encourages continuous communication. And it has a strong backbone.”
This not a new or particularly complicated idea. It just means you invite everybody who claims a common purpose to unite in common action. It means that true social change is about equity, sharing and collaboration. Social change is about listening well, and offering your passion, resources, energy, and expertise to achieve a future you could not possibly reach without allies and friends.
You may have never heard the term “collective impact initiative” until now. But it is a strategy for creating change as well as a core philosophy that shapes everything we do. Exactly three years ago – on November 7th, 2017 — at a CLF planning meeting at Greenbuild in Boston I heard Kate Simonen articulate collective impact in three simple, memorable words: “Farther, faster, together.” That day, I wrote down those words on a piece of paper and when I got home to Seattle, I taped it to the wall of my office.
Collective impact has been the core methodology and strategic framework for all major social change movements in US history, from the struggle to end slavery to the fight for women’s right to vote, from the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s to our current effort to address the climate challenge in the context of economic inequality and structural racism.
Our mission is to eliminate embodied carbon in buildings and infrastructure by inspiring innovation and spurring change through collective action. But it is not the mission of a small group of people at the University of Washington. It is your work and ours, an aim and purpose claimed and shared by friends around the world working to create a planet that works for everyone.