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Illinois Building Decarbonization Advocate

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Natural Resources Defense Council Published: February 13, 2020 (4 months ago)
Chicago, United States
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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. We use law, science and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our staff helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, and many of the implementing regulations; our water enforcement cases played a major role shaping current water policy throughout the country. Today, our staff of more than 500 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy and communications experts, and others, work out of offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing.

Position Summary

NRDC is seeking an Illinois Building Decarbonization Advocate to join the Midwest Region team of the Climate & Clean Energy Program, located in our Chicago office. This role requires a commitment to advancing NRDC’s Illinois (and Midwest region) priority to safeguard the climate and protect public health through equitable building decarbonization (i.e. cutting carbon pollution from building energy use primarily via switching from on-site use of fossil fuels to electrification, with an emphasis on placing low-income and vulnerable communities at the heart of this effort). The ideal candidate will have experience working collaboratively and in a team-based setting with both internal and external partners; the ability to represent NRDC in the media and other public forums with credibility and enthusiasm; an interest in cultivating relationships with state and local officials, the executive branch, agencies and staff; and a willingness to travel throughout Illinois, the Midwest region, and elsewhere to advance NRDC’s policy goals.

This is a full-time, two-year term-limited position (though there is the possibility that term could be extended subject to project funding).


  • Build support for state and local policies that advance low- and zero-emission buildings, with a focus on city government and elected officials, the Illinois legislature, the executive branch, and relevant state and local agencies/administrative offices (Illinois Commerce Commission, state and city building departments, etc.);
  • Strengthen, develop and nurture relationships with state and local decision makers and build durable partnerships with a network of allies that reach beyond the traditional environmental community;
  • Engage with and represent NRDC in broad coalitions of state and regional-based stakeholders (e.g. community groups, other environmental organizations, environmental justice and frontline groups, consumer advocates, affordable housing advocates, labor, utilities [investor-owned, municipal, rural power cooperatives], builders, equipment manufacturers, the business community, industry) to help ensure widespread access to low-emissions buildings including for low-income and affordable multi-family communities;
  • Conduct, lead, and/or support policy research and analysis of building decarbonization feasibility assessments and policy proposals;
  • Serve as the key spokesperson in the press for NRDC’s building decarbonization priorities in Illinois, including partnering with the Communications team to respond to media requests and to develop advocacy materials to amplify NRDC’s message;
  • Collaborate with a multi-faceted internal team of campaign, communications, public engagement, and policy experts at NRDC to further the organization’s state and federal policy priorities;
  • Be a central part of a strong and collegial team that is focused on collaboration, approaches advocacy with innovation and optimism, and is committed to using the full range of expertise within NRDC and among its partners to drive change.


  • Master’s Degree in a relevant discipline (energy policy, law, economics, science, or engineering), or equivalent experience in relevant field;
  • 3-5 years’ experience advancing environmental policy, ideally with a focus on building decarbonization, utility regulation and/or energy and climate change policy (demonstrated success cultivating relationships at the governmental, regulatory, or legislative levels, as well as demonstrated success managing projects and engaging in public advocacy may substitute for policy experience);
  • Strong written and oral advocacy skills, including the ability to communicate technical and analytical information in a clear and persuasive manner in a variety of public forums and in the media;
  • Strong technical research, analytical and quantitative skills;
  • Track record of success navigating diverse coalitions, building consensus on policy issues and driving toward equitable, positive outcomes within a team, in a coalition, and with other external partners;
  • A sense of mission and passion for public interest and environmental advocacy;
  • Ability to represent NRDC with maturity, judgment and professionalism;
  • Flexibility to travel within the state of Illinois, to NRDC’s regional offices, and to other U.S. locations as needed (approximately 30% of the time).

NRDC is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity and expression, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience. Consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.
To apply, please visit and upload your resume and cover letter through our online portal. We would like you to upload any additional papers or project work that you think would showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of resumes, only qualified candidates will be contacted. Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


If you are having technical difficulty while applying, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care by dialing 1-800-889-4422.

For further information about NRDC, please visit

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