World Resources Institute
Recognized as a top National Climate Change nonprofit in the following years:
Andrew joined WRI from the World Bank, where he served as Special Envoy for Climate Change since 2010. In this role… See full bio.
In response, 21 forest products companies and nine leading environmental organizations, together with Canadian First Nations, signed an historic agreement in 2010 to protect a large swath of this forest and its species at risk, such as the Boreal caribou. The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement suspends new logging in 29 million hectares of forest land until 2013, and calls for the highest environmental standards of forest management within an area of 72 million hectares – twice the size of Germany. Additional forest will be added as the agreement broadens.
WRI and its Global Forest Watch network first put the issue of Canadian old-growth forest loss on the map – literally. We produced a ground-breaking set of maps documenting old-growth forest loss and areas of surviving intact forests. Global Forest Watch Canada’s maps were accepted as objective, accurate, and credible by activist groups, government officials, and companies. They supported advocacy efforts by explaining the global significance of the forests at stake. And they provided key data for the development of the Boreal Forest Agreement, part of an ongoing effort among environmental groups to fully protect 50 percent of Canada’s boreal forest from industrial development.
Expert Reviews of World Resources Institute
Evidence of Impact Summary:The World Resources Institute (WRI) supports climate change work domestically and internationally through a variety of strategies. They have played a key role in negotiation processes, particularly related to climate finance. They have aided several states in developing an emissions strategy, as well. The organization’s research and analysis has been a vital part of increasing understanding around the topic. They have helped clarify the emissions implications of particular legislation, highlighted the long-term outcomes for resource exploitation, and more. Their solid analysis and recommendations are trusted by policy makers, and they work hard to make their information accessible to the public.
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Organization Strengths Summary:The World Resources Institute (WRI) has built a solid reputation in the climate change community. Their work is grounded in great research, and experts consistently point to the quality scientific analysis that goes into WRI’s work. The organization has a highly knowledgeable staff in all areas of their work. The organization is known to engage many stakeholders, and to hold their concerns in mind while advocating for change. WRI has great strategists who develop highly effective tactics for global organizations and campaigns. Not only that, but the organization is equally thoughtful about their internal structure.
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Areas for Improvement Summary:Many experts believe that the World Resources Institute (WRI) should work on their strategies and interactions in the domestic climate change arena. They could improve by increasing their efforts to educate members of Congress on international climate change mitigation strategies, or by reaching out to include state and local agencies in the dialog. They may also have displayed poor judgment on a specific strategy involving the private sector and other NGOs. Some experts believe WRI could improve by focusing more on direct intervention strategies that involve work “on-the-ground”. WRI should work to build the capacity of their staff by bringing on more leadership skills to compliment the knowledge base and by more tightly managing lower level staff communications.
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Expert Comments: Evidence of Impact
Research and Analysis
|They produce a lot of intellectual capital necessary for moving forward.|
|WRI is actively providing data and information about climate change related issues, and is leading efforts to seek acceptable policy solutions.|
|WRI's research and convening work has a strong impact on corporations and policy makers.|
|They do excellent analysis on emissions, finance, verification, and other international and domestic climate issues. They have strong relationships with governments and international institutions, and their analysis and recommendations are taken seriously by policy makers. They have helped lead the development of climate action plans in a number of states, providing both consensus-building facilitation and technical analysis of emissions reduction options.|
|WRI released helpful analysis of climate bills when legislation was active. They compared the levels of reductions achieved by the different bills. WRI also helped convene groups of states interested in taking action on climate.|
|Their impact comes from the way information on their website is used and from presentations by WRI experts.|
|The World Resources Institute's efforts to document global trends in resource exploitation, especially human and environmental conditions and actual or predicted consequences of resource exploitation, has been central to global understanding of emerging issues, especially climate change. Their work is evidence-based, credible, and accessible, with publication in multiple languages and modes (e.g. books, magazine, and web).|
Engaging Various Stakeholders
|They have breadth of experience across the organization. Among other things, this includes work to develop methods for estimating emissions inventories, facilitating solutions with nations and states, and their international work and messaging about climate change.|
|WRI was fundamental in pulling together the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) coalition three years ago to advocate for climate legislation. While they were not successful in that particular effort, they remain influential with both industry and government.|
|WRI's impact is their programs to engage the private industry in measuring and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.|
|I have seen WRI work through several initiatives in the U.S., including the Climate Registry efforts.|
|WRI has an impact on policy.|
|WRI staff has played key roles in official negotiating processes. In particular, their work on climate finance has been vital to bring new ideas, develop coalitions, and offer viable options.|
|They are a key player in international and national climate change negotiations. Many of their former staff people are in key positions in the Obama administration and in the private sector.|
Expert Comments: Organization Strengths
|Their staff is very knowledgeable and often produce useful documents and reports. They are well funded.|
|Their strengths are leadership, staff, and expertise.|
|They have top-notch staff who have deep expertise in their issue areas, as well as understanding of the policy making process. They have built strong relationships with other research and policy analysis institutions in key countries. They provide leadership on some of the key technical issues in the international climate negotiations, such as measurement, reporting, and verification of countries' actions on emissions reduction and climate finance.|
|They have very knowledgeable staff. They also have a reputation as an honest broker rather than as lobbyists.|
|WRI has high quality staff and inclusive processes.|
|Strengths of this organization include a top-notch staff whose analytical skills are equally matched by their ability to communicate complex issues in accessible ways.|
|WRI offers practical, impartial solutions. They have a broad vision and interesting choices on issues and integration of issues. Plus, they have a great reputation. I loved working with them when Jonathan Pershing was there; he was amazingly helpful to me. I also enjoyed when Franz Litz worked there. They don't have anyone there now of that caliber, but it is still a good group. This is a very fine organization. It is a little hard to talk about them in a way that's relevant because they cover SO MUCH ground, but when they align on something, WRI can be very powerful. Their staffers are among the best.|
|WRI understands and acknowledges the constraints and realities of business. They keep that understanding while advocating, with a foundation in science, for change that is required.|
|Their strengths are their research, focus on market-based solutions, and their collaborative, multi-stakeholder engagement.|
|The staff and management’s work on governance extends not just to global institutions, but also to the organization itself to ensure that it maintains the highest standards and independence. On climate finance, the staff brings a long developed relationship amongst a wide range of governments.|
|This is a generally well run organization that focuses on results, not publicity|
|They have strong policy development capacity and strong finances. They also have an outstanding international perspective on issues.|
|They have excellent quality material and are a wide-ranging organization.|
|WRI is very well managed. They are a strong fundraiser, and they are a great combination of a think tank with gentle advocacy.|
|WRI brings strong research teams to bear on projects and issues, and has a significant reliance on hard science that strengthens its arguments.|
|They have a strong research base on several sub-issues.|
|They have strong communications and scientific expertise.|
|They are great at providing data needed to address climate.|
|WRI does an excellent job, particularly in developing and supporting carbon accounting mechanisms. They also have credibility and a voice in the international community.|
Expert Comments: Areas for Improvement
Build Staff Capacity
|They need to manage their interns and lower level staff better, as they have little grasp of the real world or diplomacy, and this undermines the quality of their work and partnerships.|
|They need to hire a few more people who are strong leaders and have good political sense, as well as technical capabilities.|
Changes in Leadership
|WRI has been a bit quieter on the climate front over the last year or so. Perhaps this is a result of change in leadership at the top, without a permanent replacement in place.|
|Some people are anxious because they are in a leadership transition at the CEO level.|
|They could improve on outreach and communication.|
|Sometimes they come across as too infallible, which I think causes unnecessary resistance.|
|They need to make their data more accessible.|
More Focus "On-the-Ground"
|They have limited work on the ground.|
|They could work on dot-connecting. I recommend stepping back from their research focus in favor of increased practical, on-the-ground application. They possess some, but could benefit from more.|
Re-think Domestic Strategy
|They could complement their strong insider communication strategies with more effective work to reach the public and constituency leaders with the results of their analysis. They should ramp up their work to inform and educate members of Congress and their staff about international climate issues, particularly the positive actions that developing countries are taking.|
|It would be great if they reached out to state and local clean air agencies for ideas on research that would be helpful. A different organization, Resources for the Future, did that.|
|They could work on convening more public policy dialogues at the national, regional, and local level.|
|On the domestic front, I believe WRI displayed poor judgment in developing a private sector/NGO strategy. It backfired on U.S. climate legislation and left the organization in a difficult position among developing country colleagues and U.S. policy makers.|
|On occasion they hire contractors who are not competent or who have a bias that can hurt WRI's credibility. They should be cautious and assume as unbiased a position as possible.|
Andrew joined WRI from the World Bank, where he served as Special Envoy for Climate Change since 2010. In this role he guided Bank Group efforts on climate change in more than 130 countries, oversaw the $7 billion Climate investment Funds, and led the World Bank’s engagement on international climate negotiations. He was a member of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High Level Panel on Sustainable Energy for All and on the B20 Board on Green Growth.
From 2007 to 2010 he served as Director General and Member of the Management Board at the UK Department of International Development (DFID) in London. In this capacity he was responsible for overseeing the development policy analysis and research for the UK Government.
Prior to joining the UK Government, Andrew held several senior posts at the World Bank, including Director of the Environmental Department, where he oversaw a major expansion of the Bank’s environmental program, and a number of important innovations, including natural capital accounting and the introduction of carbon trading at the World Bank. For a decade (1997-2007) he was resident in East Asia, where he directed World Bank operations in Vietnam and Indonesia. In earlier years he was Head of the Bank’s Country Risk department, and was also Director and chief author of the 1992 World Development Report on Environment and Development, the Bank’s Flagship report to the Rio Earth Summit.
Andrew was educated at St Andrews University, Scotland, the University of Pennsylvania, and at Cambridge University. He has a PhD in Economics, has written widely on sustainable development issues, and has taught at several universities.
He is married to Dr. Liesbet Steer, and has two children, Charlotte (11) and Ben (10).