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ERG - BLUE EARTH TEAM

Creating Sustainable Solutions

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Our team provides a range of services, including climate adaptation and mitigation, strategic planning, organizational development, monitoring, evaluation and learning, stakeholder engagement, and decision-making framework development. We support governments, inter- and non-governmental organizations, foundations, academic institutions, businesses, and investors to improve resource management, governance, and organizational capacity.

Our mission is to build resilient and sustainable frameworks and practices in a way that is environmentally and socially resilient across all sectors and scales. We specialize in developing sustainable and resilient solutions to complex social and environmental issues that our clients confront in urban communities and natural systems.

Services

  • service_climate

    Climate and Hazard Resilience Planning

  • Climate and Hazard Resilience Planning

    service_climate

    For over 15 years, our team has supported multisector adaptation and mitigation projects for federal, state, regional, local, and nonprofit clients. Our approach to resilience is built on equity and sustainability. We support our clients in developing innovative approaches that not only prepare communities for a changing world, but also build a more equitable society. We use a collaborative framework designed to increase capacity through engagement, involving working groups, stakeholders, and communities in each step of the process to identify strategies that enable our clients and their communities to thrive. We collaborate with experts in ERG’s other service areas to bring a powerful breadth and depth of experience and expertise to all our projects from climate science and data, to planning and policy, to implementation, including funding and financing strategies.

    • Design and implementation of plans and processes to promote climate resilience and equity
      • Climate policy and planning
      • Climate and environmental justice
      • Resilience plans and strategies
      • Vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans
      • Modeling and mapping
      • Climate action plans
      • Climate and hazard mitigation plans
      • Monitoring and evaluation
      • Decision-making frameworks
      • Integrated planning and policy documents
      • Stakeholder working groups
      • Multisectoral collaboratives
      • Community and stakeholder meeting series and events
      • Communication and engagement tools
    • Design of actions to reduce GHG emissions and build resilience and include just transition principles
      • Energy modelling and efficiency for all sectors
      • GHG measuring, reporting, and verification
      • Multisector, multisource GHG mitigation strategies
      • Multisector and single-sector expertise, including land use, transportation, water, and natural areas and open spaces
      • Integration of climate adaptation and mitigation assessments and solutions
      • Assessment of burdens and benefits, identification of actions to advance a just transition
      • Multisector assessments of the quantitative and qualitative costs of inaction and benefits of actions
      • Strategies to reduce risks associated with climate hazards, as well as other shocks and stressors
      • Green and blue infrastructure to reduce risks and foster ecological and community benefits
      • Collaboratively designed adaptation actions to increase benefits to community (including vulnerable communities), industry, and the environment
      • Adaptation and implementation pathways to support decision-making, prompt effective actions, and provide a path forward to adapt over time
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Strategic Communications

    Engagement and Communications

  • Engagement and Communications

    Stakeholder Engagement and Strategic Communications

    We believe that the best projects and the most effective solutions are founded in partnerships. We design public and stakeholder engagement and participation to directly inform the work and broaden the project team, rather than serving as a stand-alone task designed simply to inform. We work closely with our clients and their partners to develop engagement plans that detail opportunities for the public and stakeholders to participate at various points throughout the process. Our meetings and events emphasize exercises and activities that invite hands on involvement in a project’s work. Our services include a range of tools and strategies to engage and communicate at all levels and to all audiences with a focus on building trust, capacity, and transparency.

    Engagement and Participation

    • Develop strategies, engagement, and participation plans to build buy-in and foster productive relationships
    • Design approaches including compensation, translation services, and childcare to provide services for meeting participants
    • Build meetings on a foundation of equity and justice
    • Design and manage working groups and committees
    • Design and implementation of engagement exercises and small group break outs for deeper participation
    • Conduct stakeholder and community relationship and partner mapping exercises
    • Elicit and clarify community and stakeholder priorities
    • Develop strategies for engaging hard to reach community and stakeholder groups
    • Design and facilitate meetings that honor all areas of expertise and ensure that people’s input has a place to go
    • Support partner identification and recruitment
    • Design meetings to build trust, capacity, and joint problem identification and shared solution development
    • Support federal and state partnership programs, working groups, technical advisory committees, and boards and commissions

    Communications and Outreach

    • Design accessible branding and strategic communications materials based on client, community, and stakeholder input
    • Develop communication and outreach plans for the range of intended audiences
    • Identify inclusive approaches to communication and outreach, including educational, informing, inviting input or other purposes
    • Develop communications plans that are tailored to meet goals and internal capacities
    • Draft and create outreach materials and marketing collateral that reflect branding voice and visual style
    • Provide logistical outreach support and website and social media management
    • Communicate science and data in way that makes it understandable and actionable to improve science-based decision-making
    • Draft and execute integrated print and digital marketing campaigns, outreach materials, and social media strategies
    • Provide translation services as needed
  • Funding, Long-Term Financing, and Economic Analysis

    Funding, Long-Term Financing, and Economic Analysis

  • Funding, Long-Term Financing, and Economic Analysis

    Funding, Long-Term Financing, and Economic Analysis

    Organizations need diversified and scalable funding to achieve long-term goals and build resiliency against dynamic markets. We evaluate and develop sustainable funding models for varied organizations and goals.

    • Identify legacy and innovative funding sources
    • Design sustainable financing mechanisms
    • Conduct feasibility analyses of alternative revenue streams
    • Design philanthropic fundraising strategies
    • Formulate concept and cultivation strategies to connect with donors and funding streams
    • Provide training and technical assistance to enhance funding and financing strategies
    • Design institutional arrangements, effective governance models, and operational controls to maximize utilization of funding
    • Conduct natural resource and ecosystem service valuations
    • Assess program costing, willingness to pay, and financial feasibility
  • MEL

    Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

    MEL

    Organizations must continue to learn and evolve to create lasting success. We design and execute monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) frameworks to build organizational cultures of continuous improvement and evaluate programmatic impact. Our work includes an assessment of our client’s current organizational capacity, partnerships, access to resources, and relationships which are critical to the successful implementation of programs, projects, and other initiatives, and necessary to meet their objectives in community and environmental sustainability and resilience.

    • Develop frameworks, plans, and tools to assess and measure contribution, causality, and success/impact
    • Consider relevant stakeholders to engage in evaluation processes and design solutions for effective engagement throughout the evaluation process
    • Design MEL costing plans from local to global scales
    • Develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) metrics
    • Collect social and ecological baseline and routine monitoring data, including through conducting field visits and site surveys
    • Coordinate learning sessions for staff, funders, and partners on progress, best practices, and lessons learned
    • Design methods for improving performance and enhancing success through adaptive management
    • Define and assess economic, social, and environmental return on investment
    • Conduct developmental, formative, real-time, and summative evaluations of organizations, portfolios, programs, and projects
  • Organizational Design, Governance, and Institutional Arrangements

    Organizational Design, Governance, and Institutional Arrangements

  • Organizational Design, Governance, and Institutional Arrangements

    Organizational Design, Governance, and Institutional Arrangements

    Highly functional organizations need effective organizational designs, systems, and policies. We help our clients research, design, and implement organizational models that maximize utilization, efficiency, and impact.

    • Assess feasibility and alignment of organizational structures and institutional arrangements
    • Design governance structures, policies, and organizational frameworks
    • Develop operational plans to facilitate growth, enhance capacity, and prioritize needs
    • Conduct analysis and develop tools to support information and data-based decision-making
    • Facilitate executive and board transitions
    • Assess and improve performance and workflow
    • Create and implement human capital management tools, processes, and systems
    • Support organizational recruiting, training, and professional development
    • Facilitate mergers and organizational restructuring, including for-profit, nonprofit, and hybrid structures
    • Connect information from diverse sources and distill lessons learned to identify opportunities, needs, and generate solutions
  • Strategic and Business Planning

    Strategic and Business Planning

  • Strategic and Business Planning

    Strategic and Business Planning

    An effective organization, government program, or initiative needs vision, resources, and the capacity to act. We help our clients build strategies and implementation plans that align organizational objectives, market realities, and available resources.

    • Perform competitive market analyses
    • Develop feasibility and needs assessments
    • Conduct systems and landscape assessments
    • Build integration schemes for multi-sector, bilateral, and multilateral initiatives
    • Develop financial forecasting models and budgets
    • Execute political and demographic trend analyses, including power mapping
    • Design and facilitate strategic planning meetings and retreats
    • Develop comprehensive strategic plans
    • Design programmatic and sector exit strategies
    • Develop and improve climate change adaptation and mitigation programs
    • Build sustainable fisheries and protected areas plans
    • Develop partnership and joint venture strategies and agreements
    • Build innovation pipelines within organizations and help future proof programs
    • Conduct organizational and cultural equity assessments—e.g., staff surveys, 360 reviews, self-assessments
    • Develop diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, protocols, and toolkits
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Projects

Development of the California Biodiversity Initiative PilotSupport of the California State Wildlife Action Plan

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Support of the California State Wildlife Action Plan

Development of the California Biodiversity Initiative PilotChallenge

California’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) ensures a sustainable future for the state’s diverse plant and animal species. The plan’s success hinges on support from partners and on properly applying extensive institutional resources.

Solutions

Blue Earth Consultants helped the California Department of Fish and Wildlife draft SWAP and develop collaborative frameworks for working with partners and an operations strategy for implementing the plan. We produced nine sector-specific Companion Plans, facilitated meetings within each sector to align priorities and strategies for implementation, then built buy-in across stakeholder groups by managing an expert and public review process. We also developed a new, innovative operations strategy that specified project objectives, governance and staffing arrangements, an assessment of potential donor partners, and a plan for pilot testing a new implementation approach for SWAP and the Companion Plans.

Results

SWAP is the top guiding document for the California Biodiversity Initiative (PDF), a September 2018 executive order signed by former Governor Jerry Brown.

Client

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Related Publication

Partnership Strategy for a Sustainable African Forestry FundPartnership Strategy for a Sustainable African Forestry Fund

Global Environment Fund

Partnership Strategy for a Sustainable African Forestry Fund

Partnership Strategy for a Sustainable African Forestry FundChallenge

The Global Environment Fund invests in companies and endeavors that return measurable social and environmental benefits in addition to financial ones. To help maximize the impact of its sustainable forestry fund, GEF called on Blue Earth Consultants to identify, reach, and engage partners across nine African countries.

Solution

Blue Earth Consultants conducted market research and audience analysis to identify strategic partner organizations, then built a database to categorize each organization by country and by sector (e.g., biodiversity and conservation, health, etc.). We then worked closely with GEF to craft an outreach strategy and marketing materials for recruiting target partners and drafted a best practices document for building strong partnerships. We also drafted a document that outlined best practices and recommended next steps to build strong partnerships.

Results

GEF launched the Africa Sustainable Forestry Fund, a 12-year investment fund targeting $150 million in commitments for investment in Sub-Saharan Africa and formed partnerships to address the most significant environmental and social issues in the region.

Client

Global Environment Fund

Related Publications

Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) underwater with the sun on the surface casting light rays down.Enhancing Management of California's Marine Protected Area Network

California Ocean Protection Council

Enhancing Management of California's Marine Protected Area Network

Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) underwater with the sun on the surface casting light rays down.Challenge

In 2012, California officials and nonprofit partners completed an ambitious redesign of the state’s marine protected area (MPA) network. The California Ocean Protection Council asked Blue Earth Consultants to develop guidance and governance to help the state’s resource managers, funders, and stakeholders make the most effective use of the multifaceted network.

Solution

Our team played a crucial role in both the design and implementation of the state’s strategic plan for its MPAs. We interviewed and surveyed program participants and stakeholders to develop a shared vision and goals for the partnership between the state, MPA Collaborative Network, member collaboratives, and MPA Statewide Leadership Team. We managed the MPA Network’s small grants program, which helps fund member collaboratives. We worked with a state-appointed grant review committee to develop a request for proposals, review and approve grant requests, document project results lessons learned from grants, conduct technical assistance, and monitor the effectiveness of the program.

Results

Twenty-six entities formally signed on to the shared vision for advancing management of California’s MPA Network. In addition, MPA Collaborative Network Small Grants Program awarded $210,000 in grants ($140,000 in state funding and $70,000 in match from anonymous foundation).

Client

California Ocean Protection Council

Related Publications

Strategic Business Plan and Revenue Model for a New Marine Sciences InitiativeStrategic Business Plan and Revenue Model for a New Marine Sciences Initiative

University of California, Davis - Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute and Bodega Marine Laboratory

Strategic Business Plan and Revenue Model for a New Marine Sciences Initiative

Strategic Business Plan and Revenue Model for a New Marine Sciences InitiativeChallenge

The Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute and Bodega Marine Lab at the University of California, Davis support world-class research and teaching in coastal and marine sciences and policy. When CMSI and BML decided to create a collaborative initiative to address the economic, ecological, and social challenges of the rapidly changing land-sea interface in California, they turned to Blue Earth Consultants to chart the way forward.

Solution

We conducted extensive research on existing university institute and lab partnership models, documenting both the competitive landscape of multi/interdisciplinary degree programs and the market for such efforts. In addition, we compiled a database of potential donors to the partnership, combing through our existing academic and donor databases, and gathered insights and buy-in on governance and strategy through focus groups, online surveys, and individual phone interviews. Finally, we combined this information into a strategic business plan that included both a 30-year vision and a 5-year strategic business plan.

Results

CMSI and BML officially merged and launched this year with a new website, logo, and approval for three new academic hires. They now have over 150 students and this academic year received a $3 million graduate training grant from the National Science Foundation.

Client

University of California, Davis - Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute and Bodega Marine Laboratory

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News & Publications

NFWF caseMay 3, 2022

NEWS: Blue Earth Team Helps Gather and Share Best Practices and Transferrable Strategies for Coastal Resilience Practitioners

NEWS: Blue Earth Team Helps Gather and Share Best Practices and Transferrable Strategies for Coastal Resilience Practitioners

NFWF caseMay 3, 2022

Coastal resilience strategies are crucial for protecting and enhancing shorelines, communities, and ecosystems—and adapting to a changing climate. ERG recently supported the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF’s) yearlong effort to gather and share best practices from coastal resilience practitioners, with the goal of enhancing coastal resilience efforts across the United States. ERG reviewed more than 100 grantee reports and peer-reviewed articles and conducted interviews with 60 resilience practitioners. ERG used the findings from this research to develop Coastal Resilience Success Stories, a series of case studies documenting exemplary coastal resilience projects throughout the country. The case studies describe key challenges and highlight transferable strategies for resilience practitioners, providing an important foundation for future resilience efforts. Featured strategies range from conducting ongoing monitoring of the project site to leveraging resources to build local capacity to testing novel approaches. NFWF and ERG’s work will help enhance the technical capacity of resilience practitioners and decision-makers, in addition to strengthening the overall human and ecosystem impacts of coastal resilience projects.

Client

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Blue Earth Consultants Write Report Assessing Coral Reef Conservation StrategyDecember 28, 2021

NEWS: Blue Earth Writes Report Assessing Coral Reef Conservation Strategy

NEWS: Blue Earth Writes Report Assessing Coral Reef Conservation Strategy

Blue Earth Consultants Write Report Assessing Coral Reef Conservation StrategyDecember 28, 2021

Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems that function as a habitat for many species and provide crucial services to communities across the globe. ERG’s Blue Earth team recently produced a report for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Vibrant Oceans Initiative (VOI) assessing the impacts of coral reef conservation efforts and investments inspired by the 2018 50 Reefs study. The 50 Reefs approach evaluates key threats to corals and prioritizes conservation of coral reefs worldwide that have the greatest potential to survive climate change and repopulate surrounding reefs. Blue Earth’s report for VOI found that the 50 Reefs approach helped organizations and conservation investors prioritize 60 coral reef ecosystems across more than 40 countries—and that it is a successful approach for guiding conservation efforts of coral reefs in the future. To compose the report, Blue Earth reviewed documents related to 50 Reefs-inspired conservation efforts, in addition to conducting interviews with 28 informants representing conservation organizations and investors. The strategies highlighted in the report will pave the way for further coral reef conservation in a rapidly changing world.

Client

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Vibrant Oceans Initiative

RCIIMSFebruary 22, 2021

NEWS: Development of a Regional Coastal Integrated Information Management System (RCIIMS)

NEWS: Development of a Regional Coastal Integrated Information Management System (RCIIMS)

RCIIMSFebruary 22, 2021

There is an urgent need to scale up investments in climate risk and resilience measures for highly vulnerable Caribbean countries and give resource managers and practitioners the tools necessary for incorporating resilience into their planning and development models. To respond to this need, the University of West Indies, Mona – Pilot Program for Climate Resilience hired ERG’s Blue Earth Consultants division to develop the Regional Coastal Integrated Information Management System (RCIIMS). The RCIIMS is an online platform of coastal and marine metadata and supports ongoing national Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) programs in the six Caribbean PPCR countries (Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines). The RCIIMS provides centralized access to climate-related metadata, informs research and climate analysis, promotes education and awareness, and fosters development of a community of data producers and users across the region. The Blue Earth/ERG team conducted a review of existing datasets and led stakeholder interviews and virtual beta tests to determine requirements for the RCIIMS. The RCIIMS is the first project ERG has implemented using the open Open-Source Data Portal Platform CKAN, which has rich features for open data, data and file stores, geospatial data, metadata and data search, discovery, and visualization.

Client

University of West Indies, Mona - Pilot Program for Climate Resilience

FINAL_Public_Report_Builders_Initiative_Landscape_Analysis_coverAugust 10, 2020

Workforce Development in Aquaculture & Fisheries: Landscape Analysis of Ocean-Related Career Pathways for Leadership & Career Development

Workforce Development in Aquaculture & Fisheries: Landscape Analysis of Ocean-Related Career Pathways for Leadership & Career Development

FINAL_Public_Report_Builders_Initiative_Landscape_Analysis_coverAugust 10, 2020

An educated and trained workforce is critical to ensuring that the aquaculture and fisheries sectors can sustainably adapt to ongoing changes and increasing demand. This workforce must be able to tackle emerging challenges and possess the requisite knowledge and skills to enhance industry sustainability. To better understand career pathway options for the aquaculture and fisheries sectors, the Builders Initiative hired Blue Earth Consultants, a Division of ERG, to complete a landscape assessment of North American (including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Greater Caribbean) aquaculture and fisheries education and training programs. Blue Earth conducted web-based research and qualitative interviews with representatives from ocean-related businesses and developed recommendations the Builders Initiative could use to strengthen training and career development opportunities. This report, “Workforce Development in Aquaculture & Fisheries,” summarizes findings from the assessment.

Client

The Builders Initiative

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About Us

We specialize in developing sustainable and resilient solutions to complex social and environmental issues that our clients confront in urban communities and natural systems.

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