What We Can Learn from George Washington about Successful Climate Partnerships

“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.” — as written out by George Washington, ca. 1744

On this President’s Day, it seems fitting to reflect upon one of the most important political partnerships of the Founding Era – the friendship between George Washington and James Madison and its role in the creation of the American Constitution and the American Republic.

Climate change and its impacts on our communities presents one of the most difficult challenges of our time. But we’ve faced difficult challenges throughout our history as a nation, and we intuitively understand the power of collaboration, partnership, collective action – and persistence – to overcome and make progress toward a better future for all.

In this C2ES blog, Amy Morsch describes six best practices for successful partnerships, which are as applicable to meaningful friendships as they are to organizational relationships. We hope that you will be inspired to apply these rules of thumb as you think through the partnerships that you may create to affect the climate solutions that we critically need. We thank our society’s leaders – past and present – for both their inspiration and for the crucial role that they have played in achieving transformational change for our nation and for future generations.

6 rules for happy climate partnerships

By Amy Morsch | C2ES | 02/11/2015

One city, company, state or nation can’t solve our climate and energy challenges overnight. Meaningful progress requires a variety of approaches by multiple actors, and that’s why partnerships are critical.

The benefits, indeed, the necessity of partnering and collaborating on climate action is increasingly being recognized.

The MIT 2014 Sustainability Report notes that “a growing number of companies are turning to collaborations — with suppliers, NGOs, industry alliances, governments, even competitors — to become more sustainable.” Collaborating with non-traditional partners was the focus of this month’s National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ (NACWA) Winter Conference, where C2ES President Bob Perciasepe touted the benefits of water and energy utility partnerships. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will recognize the importance of innovative partnerships for the first time in the upcoming 2015 Climate Leadership Awards to be announced Feb. 24 in Washington D.C.

Successful partnerships on climate and energy challenges, like successful relationships, take work. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, we offer the following six rules for strong partnerships:

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