Green Ribbon Commission man speaking

Green Ribbon Commission

Many cities have plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but few have enlisted the support and leadership of the local business community as effectively as Boston.

A group of Boston’s top executives and community leaders are helping lead the city’s fight against climate change. Climate change is an urgent issue. Yet addressing it requires sustained, long-term vision and leadership. A city can make big strides with strong leadership in city hall. But how far could it progress if its business and philanthropic leaders sign on to address climate change and lead by example in their sectors? In Boston, we’re starting to find out.

The Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) brings together diverse Boston leaders to collectively address climate change. Using the City of Boston’s Climate Action Plan as its guide, the GRC strives for change sustaining beyond any term in City Hall. This long-term perspective is one of Barr Foundation’s core values and inspires Barr’s ongoing support of the GRC.

Barr Foundation trustee Amos Hostetter teamed up with former Boston Mayor Tom Menino in 2010 to rally more than 30 top executives in real estate, health care, higher education, and finance to join the GRC, and financial support from Barr and six other foundations to fund the group’s operations. Now led by Amos and co-chair Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the GRC plays three important roles; it:

  • Provides input to the City’s climate plan and accountability for performance.
  • Organizes key sectors to align their goals with the climate plan’s goals.
  • Celebrates and spreads examples of success.

While the GRC maintains expansive goals, it executes in targeted ways. Members encourage their industry peers to adopt clean-energy practices. They do so by initiating green practices at their own enterprises and then promoting best practices among peers. This industry-focused approach has yielded significant results in several sectors:

The City of Boston still has a long way to go to reach its climate goals, especially considering its growing energy needs. But, recent progress on carbon reductions is largely attributed to the GRC, praised by Menino as “the biggest team effort in our city’s history.” In addition, four recent reports from the GRC offer guidance for how to continue moving towards these goals while addressing energy needs.

Learn more about the GRC report series

Read the Washington Monthly's Successes in Philanthropy Profile of the GRC

See the GRC Case Study: A City at Work

Recently awarded grants

Innovation Network for Communities

To support the Green Ribbon Commission, a convening of Boston's business and civic leaders helping the City achieve its Climate Action Plan goals.

  • Award Date: 3/ 2/2015
  • Amount: $1,160,000
  • Term: 24 months
  • Program: Climate

Innovation Network for Communities

To support the Green Ribbon Commission’s Transportation and Climate Preparedness working groups.

  • Award Date: 12/ 4/2013
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Term: 36 months
  • Program: Climate

Innovation Network for Communities

To support the Green Ribbon Commission, a convening of Boston's business and civic leaders helping the City achieve its Climate Action Plan goals.

  • Award Date: 3/ 7/2013
  • Amount: $700,000
  • Term: 24 months
  • Program: Climate

Search all Climate grants

The Boston Green Ribbon Commission is a group of business, institutional, and civic leaders in Boston working to develop shared strategies for fighting climate change in coordination with the City’s Climate Action Plan.