Our Approach

All around the world, people who are passionate about protecting the environment are working together to share successful approaches and scale up new solutions. Environmental Defense Fund brings our own brand of pragmatic idealism to Europe, working to advance world-class science and align market forces to achieve ambitious environmental goals.

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Cross party working

Environmentalism doesn’t need to align itself with one particular political ideology – protecting the natural systems we rely on is common sense that people from all parts of the political spectrum can play a part in. When it comes to finding solutions we believe we can progress things most quickly when we align incentives for people to do the right thing and dissuade them from doing the wrong thing.

We focus on outcomes rather than any particular means to an end and believe in harnessing human creativity and capacity for innovation to deliver multiple solutions to problems.

We work with elected representatives and influencers from across the political spectrum in order to find practical solutions that can endure political winds of change.

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A positive vision

It is easy to become overwhelmed by a constant stream of bad news about the state of our natural world, however, there’s abundant evidence that progress is being made. Even on some of the most difficult global issues such as global climate disruption.

With increased wealth comes the capacity to care about and act on a wider range of issues. With increased connections and a better understanding of what is going on in the world, we are more empowered to call for and make changes to improve things.

We present positive solutions to the problems we focus on. We focus on understanding what is currently happening and why; and seek to inspire people with a vision of how much better things could be rather than alarm them with predictions of how bad things could get. 

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Science and data

We invest in original science and publish papers. We employ a team of scientists across a range of disciplines and actively engage with the scientific community on projects. These projects can be large – like launching our own satellite to detect methane emissions – or far more targeted such as measuring air quality in cities like London.

Data gathering and analysis is at the core of what we do. Cloud computing capabilities are vastly increasing our ability to ask and answer complex problems and the advent of machine learning and AI will introduce yet more opportunities to crack difficult issues. We are not blind techno-optimists but we do believe that human ingenuity and knowledge, when harnessed correctly, can deliver amazing results. 

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Law and economics

We employ lawyers and economists who provide us with crucial insights in to how best to win solutions. Our first campaign in the US in 1967 saw scientists and lawyers teaming up to take the fight to ban pesticide spraying into the court room and we’ve continued with that approach ever since.

We were the first NGO to employ a chief economist to help inform our policy analysis and advocacy. We continue to use economic insights to develop solutions that work with the grain of the economy, helping to align incentives to get results.

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Strategic partnerships

We take no money from the companies we work with but we have a long track record of working with companies to forge new solutions. In the United States we have helped McDonalds reduce its waste, FedEx to reduce emissions from its vehicles and the latest phase of our work with Walmart sees us working with them to remove 1 billion tonnes of greenhouse has emissions from their supply chain.

In the UK we are working in partnership with National Grid, University of Oxford Department of Computer Science and WWF UK, to develop the world's first Carbon Intensity forecast with a regional breakdown.

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