Author: Katie Soroye

Katie serves as Vice President of Marketing, managing a team that is responsible for capturing customer insights and delivering high-quality marketing solutions to clients that drive awareness, engagement and impact.

Earth Day 2020: A Call to Equity in Climate Action

Earth Day 50th Anniversary

It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the 2020 theme is climate action. Today, much of the world is sheltering in place due to a global pandemic. While COVID-19 may change how we come together and demand climate action this year, it does not diminish the opportunity to raise our collective voices. In fact, it’s a perfect time to reassess and take a more holistic view of climate action.

As the impacts from the global pandemic highlight systemic inequities, Earth Day 2020 provides a moment for us to reflect on how climate change disproportionately impacts different groups of people. Our pursuit of climate action must acknowledge, explore, and advance equity.

The Climate Action Narrative Through an Equity Lens

First, we acknowledge that our company has a role to play in telling a more equitable story around climate action. 3Degrees supports organizations in reducing their climate impacts in a variety of ways. But how can we ensure that our day-to-day work advances our values around diversity, equity, and inclusion? How can we bring an equity lens to our climate work?

Our marketing team gathered for a virtual workshop last week to delve into these very questions. We learned new Zoom tips for virtual collaboration (annotate feature, anyone?) and discussed the importance of inclusive and equitable engagement, both internally and in our work with clients and partners.

Communications play a vital role in framing a narrative and engaging people to take action. I’m grateful to the amazing Vanice Dunn, Director of Equity at Provoc, who facilitated our workshop and highlighted the work of Open Society Foundations regarding the power of public narratives.

The stories we share and the content we consume advances or dismantles a narrative about how we view the world.

Examining the Dominant Narratives of Climate Change

Today, many of the headline-grabbing stories present a view of the world that is grounded in simplistic, either/or thinking. These narratives frame the discussion around a series of false choices: pandemic management or saving the economy; handling a global health crisis or protecting the environment; bolstering business or reducing emissions. These narratives present a false choice, enlisting us to choose a side. Perhaps just as problematic, this framing creates an artificial debate and distracts us from engaging with uncomfortable truths about broader systems and legacies of exclusionary policies.

On a personal level, I’ve been reflecting on the narratives I use to communicate climate action. The narratives generally celebrate progress by forward-thinking organizations. A few examples:

These statements are cause for optimism around climate action, as well as one marker of how far we’ve come since the inaugural Earth Day. While I am the first to applaud and promote these organizational actions, I’m noticing that I’m not always acknowledging the missing pieces of the climate action narrative. For example, the disproportionate impacts of climate change are not theoretical: people of color, Indigenous people, and low-income communities have already been adversely impacted by climate change.

As we rethink the narratives around climate change, some questions to consider:

  • Who is framing the problem?
  • What issues and people are not included in the framing process? Why?
  • How might another group of stakeholders frame the problem and potential solutions differently?

The answers to these questions reveal that there is a far more nuanced, complicated, and messy story about the uneven progress on climate change.

To honor an Earth Day focused on climate action, we must tell this story.

This Earth Day, I invite you to join us and begin your own journey to bring an equity lens to your climate action efforts. Not sure where to start? I encourage you to explore the environmental movement’s complicated history, as our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion business resource group reminded our employees during Black History Month this February. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, it is a unique moment in time for us to pause and consider the narratives we create, consume, and share. And, it’s a long-overdue opportunity for us to craft a new climate action narrative, one with equity at the forefront.

Urgency and Inclusion, Justice and Humanity in B Corps’ Fight Against Climate Change

Climate Justice Now

What can businesses do to counteract climate change? How do we ensure a commitment to climate justice, equity, and inclusion guides our action? And how do we persevere through difficult setbacks in this all-important fight? These are some key questions I considered with over 65 business leaders at the 2020 B Corp Climate Leadership Summit.

In February, representatives from U.S. and Canadian B Corp companies convened in Taos, New Mexico for the second annual Climate Leadership Summit. The Summit built on climate activism momentum across the B Corp community, while also elevating climate justice to the center of our collective efforts.

A historic moment for B Corp climate activism

Over the last year, the B Corp community has increasingly focused on climate action. Certified B Corporations like 3Degrees must consider the impact of business decisions on their employees, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. B Corps around the world are working on all of these areas of impact, but the clock is ticking on the environment. As we look ahead at the dire implications of global warming, B Corp leaders have agreed: we must prioritize climate leadership in the way we do business. 

The B Corp community recognizes it has a unique role to play in setting a new standard for how businesses operate. Consider that in December, more than 500 B Corps across 33 countries announced a commitment to Net Zero by 2030, which is 20 years ahead of the 2050 targets set in the Paris Agreement. As noted by B Lab colleagues, it was a historic moment for climate activism and for the B Corp movement. And the work is just beginning.

Centering action around climate justice

The 2020 B Corp Climate Leadership Summit focused on how much more work is needed, particularly to ensure that inclusion is at the core of how we address climate change. Simply put, when we take climate action, climate justice concerns must be at the forefront. But what exactly is climate justice? 

“Climate justice focuses on people,” said Dr. Ellonda Green, B Lab Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, in her presentation at the Summit. Green explained that climate justice is a human-centered approach that links human rights and development by recognizing the disproportionate impact of climate change on the the world’s most vulnerable people. The Summit highlighted the voices of climate leaders from underrepresented communities. These courageous leaders are pioneering a new model for transformational climate leadership, as noted by Dr. Katharine Wilkinson of Project Drawdown who shared her reflections with us. I am deeply appreciative of the wisdom and insights from these new voices who challenge us to reconsider how we frame the problem and the solution. 

Throughout the Summit, we discussed practical ways to assess our actions through the lens of climate justice, whether it’s big picture policy advocacy questions or the daily behavioral norms that create workplace culture. For example, while we feel an understandable sense of urgency to act, it’s critical that we take the time to cultivate inclusive practices and approaches that heal, rather than perpetuate systemic injustices. Otherwise, we’ve missed the opportunity to make  actual progress. Stay tuned for more in the coming months from the B Corp community on this topic.

Modeling gratitude

It’s intense to fully immerse yourself in discussions about the existential threat to all life on Earth posed by accelerating climate change and ecological breakdown. While attendees were deeply committed to this work during the Summit, there was also an underlying level of stress and fatigue. This is a lesson for any practice focused on supporting effective climate leadership. For any success we may see around galvanizing action to address climate change, there are other disheartening setbacks. Whether they occur at international, national, organizational, or personal levels, these setbacks can be challenging for even the most optimistic among us. That’s one (of many reasons) why taking time to be inclusive and demonstrate gratitude is so important.

Research has found that individuals underestimate the impact of expressing gratitude. It’s not just polite; it’s also good for your own well-being and the well-being of others. Throughout the Summit, the event organizers created space for people to express gratitude. And, we had an especially poignant opportunity to put that insight into action. 

Elementary school students from a neighboring town had been told that “important business leaders” were convening in Taos to talk about climate change. These first through fifth grade students created artwork to ask us to help protect the environment. It was both an uplifting and grounding reminder of the importance of the work we have to do. On one hand, it might have been easy to just look at the pictures and then get re-consumed with our own “busy-ness” in replying to inboxes that had filled in our absence from the office. Instead, attendees took a moment to write notes to each class to thank the students for their amazing artwork and to let them know that we hear them. It was one tangible action we could take. 

As we go forward in the weeks and months ahead, may all of us continue to heed this call to both focus on the urgency of the climate crisis and to ensure a deeply inclusive approach. Want to join the B Corp community in this crucial work to bring urgency, inclusion, justice, and humanity to address the climate crisis? Learn more about the B Corp Climate Collective.

Communicating Climate Action in the New Decade

Climate March

The start of 2020 provides a natural opportunity to contemplate what the future holds as well as reflect on the shifts that occurred over the previous decade. From my vantage point overseeing marketing at 3Degrees, here are some of the most relevant trends for anyone who plays a role in communicating climate action.

An Intergenerational Audience

Climate change poses many intergenerational challenges. First, there is the question of the responsibility any generation has to those that follow it. The headline-grabbing news about brush fires in Australia, historic flooding, and record temperatures are a clear indication that our environmental legacy is at risk, and this is not to be taken lightly. 

Another challenge is that we now have more generations coming together in the workplace as we confront these issues. For the first time in history, the workforce spans five generations, from the Silent Generation, in their 70s and 80s, to Generation Z, just entering their 20s. Alliances among generations – particularly on climate issues – are not necessarily easy. According to a 2018 Gallup analysis, there is a global warming age gap: 70% of adults age 18 to 34 worry about global warming compared to 56% of those 55 or older.1 This wide range in generational beliefs and concerns about the impacts seen in one’s lifetime can make for some pointed conflicts in the workplace, like in December when 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker Chloe Swarbrick retorted with “OK, boomer” to her older colleagues during her speech in support of a climate change bill.

Shifting Perceptions and Expectations

Fortunately, there is some good news when it comes to transcending differing intergenerational perceptions and spurring climate action. While previous research found that younger adults were slightly less engaged than older adults on climate issues, this trend seems to be shifting, according to recent studies from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications. In September 2019, the passion of the global youth climate strikes resulted in the largest single event for climate action – with adults in 185 countries rising to the demand of the young strikers to join them in solidarity. As they come of voting age and join the workforce, these passionate youth will continue to shape expectations about the need for urgent climate action. 

The fact that 67% of Americans believe climate change is happening has impacted how organizations of all sizes are approaching their own plans. As many clients have shared with us, the era of viewing corporate sustainability efforts as a “nice-to-have” is over. No longer are companies tiptoeing around the topic of climate change. According to State of Green Business 2020, 90% of companies now report senior management level ownership of climate-related issues, up 45% for U.S. companies and 35% globally.2 The pressure is coming from their customer base, as well. For example, 59% of consumers now expect companies to take a stand on climate change (up from 39% in 2018).3 From our standpoint, we’ve seen clients not only take bold steps when it comes to climate commitments, but fully embrace sharing those actions in a very public manner — such as Etsy’s announcement around the launch of its carbon neutral shipping initiative

This next decade will shape the kind of world future generations will inherit. While some of the shifts discussed here will help, we need to hone our skills at how to effectively galvanize climate action. Now, more than ever, we must communicate the urgency of the situation and motivate clients, colleagues, family, friends, and government leaders to take climate action. Will you join me?

 1. Global Warming Age Gap: Younger Americans Most Worried 
2.  State of Green Business 2020 is GreenBiz Group’s annual assessment of the corporate sustainability performance of major global companies listed on the S&P Global 1200 index and major U.S. companies listed on the S&P 500® index for the State of Green Business Index.
3.  FleishmanHillard Fishburn launches 2019 Authenticity Gap Report

Lights, Camera, Action: Rolling up our sleeves at the B Corp Champions Retreat in LA


Last week, I attended the 2019 B Corp Champions Retreat in Los Angeles, an opportunity to connect with people from B Corps in the United States and Canada whose companies, like 3Degrees, are united in using business as a force for good. The setting provided a backdrop ripe for discussing the power of storytelling — how that power has historically been used and whose voices have been underrepresented or even ignored. As we considered the current and future state of the B Corp movement, it also provided a reminder — both sobering and inspiring — that the B Corp movement is on its own journey to ensure that we are building an inclusive economy that works for everyone and protects the planet. So as we continue to write B Corps’ evolving story, here are some recent “takes” from the retreat to capture the work ahead.


The B Corp movement continues to shine the light on how business can be a force for good. Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Indeed, the retreat noted that there are 1,200 American “B Corporations” certified by B Lab and 35 states plus the District of Columbia certify so-called benefit corporations. 

The broader B Corp movement is also spurring additional efforts to redefine the role of business. It was groundbreaking in August when 181 CEOs in the Business Roundtable, which represents some of the largest companies in the world, signed on to a new definition of a corporation akin to the B Corp model.

This was a historic acknowledgment that the economy is not working for everyone. Businesses (and government leaders) need to take on a new level of leadership to address the problems they have helped foster.


In the age of selfies and influencer vlogs, where do we direct our collective attention? The B Corp Champions Retreat was unequivocal that we MUST focus on climate action. For the past year, B Lab, together with B Corps around the world, has been working on a range of actions to galvanize action across the B Corp community, including plans to update the certification standards to more fully address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, policy advocacy, and employee engagement. I am especially excited about the upcoming B Lab launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Manager, in partnership with the UN Global Compact – another tool to help organizations quantify their impact on SDGs #7 (affordable and clean energy) and #13 climate action.

Last Friday, more than 4 million people around the world took to the streets in what was likely the largest climate protest in world history. Internationally, B Corps are standing together with the youth climate strike in demanding government action. Climate change requires our unrelenting attention in the weeks, months, and years ahead if we are to truly fulfill the demands for real action – from governments, businesses, and individuals.


At the core, the B Corp community recognizes that how a business operates and who is included are critical. More than ever, we need an economy that works for everyone (inclusive) and heals the planet (regenerative). For example, we cannot effectively combat climate change (or any issue) if we do not also take action to dismantle institutional and individual biases that perpetuate inequities. It’s a tall order. And one that inspires us to do better.

Throughout the retreat, there were examples mentioned on stage and within side conversations that highlighted the capacity of the B Corp community to push us to a new standard for inclusion. During the opening plenary, James Anderson from the Yerba Mate Co. highlighted the challenges for system affected individuals such as those returning home from incarceration who encounter barriers to finding employment, a critical step for rebuilding their lives. Yerba Mate is focused on providing 10,000 living wage jobs to system affected individuals throughout the world. The harder truth to acknowledge, as fellow attendees and I discussed afterward, is how system affected candidates might fare in our own companies’ application process. We have work to do.


The B Corps Champions Retreat was an intense experience: a place to reflect on what it means to be a B Corp, to deepen commitments to address climate change, and to make new connections about how to build a more inclusive economy for everyone. My marching orders are to transform these “takes” from the Champions Retreat to help to craft a new narrative here at 3Degrees and beyond.


High altitude reflections: Three insights from the B Corp Leadership Summit on Climate Change


In February, representatives from 35 B Corporations gathered in Taos, New Mexico for the second annual B Corp Leadership Summit, which focused this year on climate change. The topic is my personal passion given my role at 3Degrees, a company whose mission is to make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change.  B Lab, who convened this event, hoped that the natural beauty and culture of Taos Ski Valley, which is impacted by climate change, would inspire deep conversation, connection, and collaboration. Indeed it did. Here are three key insights I drew from this experience.

Here are three key insights I drew from this experience:


Humbled by our collective responsibility: the 12-year window for action

As part of the pre-read materials for the summit, we were encouraged to watch Greta Thunberg’s address at the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. This sixteen-year-old Swedish student began a strike outside the Swedish Parliament to demand governments honor their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. Her words provide a chilling call to action as we think about the intergenerational responsibility to address climate change.“I don’t want your hope,” Greta said. “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

As Greta noted, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report provides a sobering case for mobilization within the next 12 years to avoid the likely impacts if the world warms by 1.5°C.  Already, we have witnessed alarming impacts from the current 1.1C of warming, including the extreme heat, storms, floods, and wildfires that ravaged communities around the world in 2018. Future generations will bear the brunt of our collective inaction. It is a humbling reminder of this tremendous responsibility and renewed my personal and professional commitment to galvanize action.


The case for interdependence

Throughout the time in Taos, we focused on the importance of both company action and broader community-wide efforts. The attendees came together with a shared conviction that we need to do more. And we also recognize that we cannot do it alone. As our organizations committed to each other in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence,

We act with the understanding that we are dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”

Hours of conversation and hundreds of post-its notes later, we created a six-month plan with five action groups and a 10-year vision to accelerate climate action. These commitments span company-specific plans, community-wide action, cross-sector collaboration, and public advocacy. And it is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more in the coming months from the B Corp Climate Action Collaborative.


Focus on where you want to go – not the obstacles

During the summit, we had the chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Taos, and I clipped into downhill skis after a 12-year hiatus. I went out by myself the first day. Truthfully, it was pretty miserable, especially when it started snowing. My mind and body stopped cooperating. Caving to panic, I gracelessly made pizza pie ski marks down the easiest trails.

The breakthrough came the next day when I had the chance to ski with fellow summit attendees. We had a guide, Christine, who offered an insider perspective on the trails and how to navigate what lay ahead. She also provided small, yet priceless, tips as we regained our ski legs. I started trusting myself and the support I had. Christine inspired all our “Green Trail” team to take on some tougher runs than we might not have explored on our own. “Don’t focus on the obstacles,” she counseled us. “Focus on where you want to go.” The progress was exhilarating.

Back at sea-level, the enormity of Greta’s challenge continues to ring in my ears,  especially as I look at my own kids and wonder what kind of world they will inherit. Determining how to tackle the “mountain” that is climate change is daunting. May we heed the sage advice of Christine, though, as we seek to move from panic to action. Together, let’s focus our attention on where we want to go as we take bold steps to reverse global warming.

Photo courtesy of B Lab

Photo courtesy of B Lab



If you build it (and market it) well, they will come

UP Whitepaper

The residential renewable energy market is primed for rapid growth. A confluence of market factors is increasing choices for residential customers. Utilities in particular are eager to provide more choices and enhanced customer engagement. 

3Degrees recently released a white paper that discusses the challenges for utilities in designing and delivering meaningful products to satisfy growing customer demand.

The white paper covers topics such as:

  • Program attributes that are most desirable to residential customers
  • Comparison from a customer perspective of three program options
  • Case studies with tips and tricks for successfully marketing each option

Want to learn more? Check out our white paper.