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Meet the One Planet Advisory Council, a group of sustainability leaders supporting Insider’s special climate coverage

Insider's One Planet Advisory Council: Hervé Duteil, Cynthia Williams, Elijah McKenzie-Jackson, Omar Elmawi, Donnel Baird, Alyssa Gilbert, Abigail Ross Hopper, and Jacqueline PattersonHervé Duteil, Cynthia Williams, Elijah McKenzie-Jackson, Omar Elmawi, Donnel Baird, Alyssa Gilbert, Abigail Ross Hopper, and Jacqueline Patterson


  • Insider has convened an advisory council of experts to support our special climate coverage.
  • It comprises leaders from Ford, BlocPower, BNP Paribas, Chisholm Legacy Project, the SEIA, and more.
  • The advisory council is part of Insider’s One Planet initiative, the optimist’s destination for climate action.
  • For more climate-action news, visit Insider’s One Planet hub.

Insider’s newsroomwide One Planet project aims to report on progress to combat the climate crisis and surface tangible steps that every person can take to drive change — at home, in the workplace, and in their communities.

The One Planet destination features stories from around the world on topics from sustainable travel and products to environmental, social, and governance considerations in investing and large-scale transition.

At the center of the initiative is the One Planet Advisory Council, a group of sustainability and climate experts convened to offer industry insights and guidance on climate-action progress.

Among the council’s first members are global experts who’ve emerged as leaders in their fields and dedicated their lives to building the future of the climate — spanning technology, transportation, finance, startups, activism, policy, and nonprofits.

Check out the full council below. 

Donnel Baird, founder and CEO, BlocPowerInsider's One Planet Advisory Council: Donnel Baird, founder and CEO, BlocPower

Donnel Baird

Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a climatetech company in Brooklyn, New York, that analyzes, finances, and installs clean-energy and decarbonization upgrades in buildings in underserved communities.

In 2021, BlocPower teamed up with the city of Ithaca, New York, to decarbonize 100% of the city’s buildings — the first project of its kind in the US.

Baird spent four years as a political and community organizer and two years managing a national initiative to support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and energy-efficiency investments in underserved communities.

He serves on numerous boards of directors, including for the New York Federal Reserve Bank Second District, the Climate Reality Project, and the Coalition for Green Capital.

Hervé Duteil, chief sustainability officer, Americas, BNP ParibasInsider's One Planet Advisory Council: Hervé Duteil, chief sustainability officer, Americas, BNP Paribas

Hervé Duteil

Duteil is the first chief sustainability officer for BNP Paribas in the Americas, where he leads the regional strategy for sustainable finance, corporate social responsibility, and company engagement. His goal has been to make the finance industry more sustainable without sacrificing the optimization of funds.

In 2016, he led BNP Paribas’ efforts to close its first social-impact bond for Connecticut, followed by another with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2018. 

Duteil is part of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development task forces, as well as the Canadian Standards Association’s technical committee and Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance‘s advisory board.

Omar Elmawi, executive director, Muslims for Human RightsInsider's One Planet Advisory Council: Omar Elmawi, executive director, Muslims for Human Rights

Omar Elmawi

Elmawi is the executive director of Muslims for Human Rights, a Kenya nongovernmental organization that promotes and protects human rights through strategic accountability.

He’s the former coordinator of the StopEACOP movement, which works to prevent the expansion of the 900-mile-long East African Crude Oil Pipeline and promote sustainable alternatives for communities at risk. One of Elmawi’s strategies at the time, according to Sierra magazine, was to lobby banks and insurance companies to not finance the pipeline.

In 2013, Elmawi, a Lamu, Kenya, native, joined the Save Lamu coalition to prevent the construction of Kenya’s first coal-fired power plant in the oldest Swahili settlement in East Africa.

Elmawi’s work primarily focuses on energy, the climate crisis, and environmental laws. He’s dedicated his career to supporting marginalized communities to safeguard and enforce their rights against dangerous development projects.

Alyssa Gilbert, director of innovation, Grantham Institute — Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College LondonInsider's One Planet Advisory Council: Alyssa Gilbert, director of innovation, Grantham Institute

Alyssa Gilbert

Gilbert leads Imperial’s climate-change and sustainability-innovation activities.

She’s the director of Undaunted, a collaboration between Imperial and the Royal Institution that seeks to create a home for climate innovation in London, while supporting the successful creation and scale-up of businesses that tackle the climate emergency.

Gilbert is also a cochair of the UK Universities Climate Network, which brings together academic expertise on climate change for impact.

Previously, Gilbert was the director of policy and translation at the Grantham Institute. Before joining the university, she worked at a specialist energy and climate consultancy for nearly 12 years on various of climate-crisis-mitigation and -adaptation topics.

She’s a former member of the Natural Environment Research Council’s advisory network.

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO, Solar Energy Industries AssociationInsider's One Planet Advisory Council: Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association

Abigail Ross Hopper

Hopper is the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America’s solar-energy industries.

Before joining the SEIA, Hopper was the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, where she led the agency that oversaw the leasing and development of all offshore energy — from oil and natural gas to offshore wind.

She previously served as the director of the Maryland Energy Administration and the energy advisor to Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland.

Harper spent over two years as the deputy general counsel with the Maryland Public Service Commission.

Elijah McKenzie-Jackson, cofounder, Waic UpInsider's One Planet Advisory Council:  Elijah McKenzie-Jackson, cofounder, Waic Up

Elijah McKenzie-Jackson

McKenzie-Jackson is a cofounder of Waic Up, a nonprofit that focuses on elevating climate communication through charters, campaigns, and strategic disruption.

He combines his art with activism, hoping to create change online and in the streets. Since 2019, McKenzie-Jackson has organized climate strikes with the UK Student Climate Network and Fridays for Future

McKenzie-Jackson is the founder of the soon-to-be-launched civic-art collective called EMJ. He’s spoken at the European Parliament, UN Climate Change Conference, and House of Lords.

He began his career at 15, raising awareness about the climate crisis and intersectional issues such as LGBTQ rights and animal liberation.

Jacqueline Patterson, founder and executive director, the Chisholm Legacy ProjectInsider's One Planet Advisory Council: Jacqueline Patterson, founder and executive director, the Chisholm Legacy Project

Jacqui Patterson

Patterson is the founder and executive director of the Chisholm Legacy Project, a resource hub for Black frontline climate-justice leadership.

Before founding the Chisholm Legacy Project, Patterson served for 11 years as the senior director of environmental and climate justice at the NAACP. 

She’s worked on gender justice, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental justice with organizations including Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, IMA World Health, United for a Fair Economy, ActionAid, and Health GAP.

She serves on the boards of directors for the Institute of the Black World, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, National Black Workers Center Project, and Bill Anderson Fund. She also sits on the advisory boards for the Center for Earth Ethics and the Hive Fund.

Patterson is a cofounder of Women of Color Unite.

Cynthia Williams, global director, sustainability, homologation, and compliance, Ford Motor Co.Insider's One Planet Advisory Council: Cynthia Williams, global director, sustainability, homologation, and compliance, Ford Motor Co.

Cynthia Williams

Williams is the global director of sustainability, homologation, and compliance at Ford Motor Co. She’s responsible for sustainable business plans and policies, environmental negotiations with regulatory bodies, and reporting on the company’s environmental and social performance, among other things.

She previously served as Ford’s assistant director of the global automotive-safety office, where she led the safety-governance process on compliance concerns and coordinated responses to all government-agency investigations. 

Williams sits on the boards of directors for Calstart and Veloz, nonprofit organizations working to develop and promote clean, efficient transportation solutions. She also serves on the governor of Michigan’s council on climate solutions.


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