Professor Thomas C. Heller founded Climate Policy Initiative on the idea that nations building low-carbon economies need support in developing and implementing effective climate and energy policies. Professor Heller, a veteran of climate mitigation efforts and negotiations, had paid close attention over the past decades to the needs of policymakers and the private sector. His vision was to create an independent, objective organization that would conduct world-class analysis to help policymakers make the best decisions for low-carbon growth.

Professor Heller launched CPI in the fall of 2009 with the support of financier and philanthropist George Soros, starting with a U.S. office and followed over the next year and a half by offices and programs in Europe, China, Brazil, and with India and Indonesia in 2012. Today, CPI’s more than 100 analysts and staff are working to answer the questions faced by policymakers: What climate and energy policies exist around the world? Do they work? Why or why not? How can a nation improve its policies and programs to achieve a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy?


CPI is an independent, not-for-profit organization supported by public and private sector partners around the world, including Open Society Foundations, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), and the U.S. Department of State. We welcome engagements with funders and policymakers, and offer a variety of services to a diverse range of clients and partners.

CPI is not a grant-making foundation.

Clients and Partners

We work with a diverse range of partners and clients around the world. Our services include advisory and convening, analysis and assessments, and design and implementation of new solutions. Select clients and partners include:

  • Asian Development Bank
  • Barclays Africa
  • Climate Investment Funds
  • ClimateWorks Foundation
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
  • Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany
  • Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
  • Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)
  • Indian School of Business
  • Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, The Netherlands
  • Ministry of Finance, India
  • Ministry of Finance, Indonesia
  • Ministry of the Environment, Brazil
  • National Bank for Economic and Social Development, Brazil (BNDES)
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
  • Palangkaraya Institute for Land Use and Agricultural Research (PILAR)
  • Planning Commission, India
  • PUC-Rio
  • Shakti Foundation
  • Sociedade Rural Brasileira
  • UK Department of Energy & Climate Change
  • UK Department for International Development
  • Unilever
  • University of Palangkaraya
  • U.S. Department of State
  • World Bank Group


“We applaud this, we want to see more of it and we are very happy to be part of this process.” Rachel Kyte, Vice President, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank speaking about The San Giorgio Group

“Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has consistently been reduced in the past few years. The empirical, analytical, and modeling work done by CPI has proven that the right combination of environmental policy, performance based credit to farmers, and forest monitoring technologies used by the Brazilian Government, has been effective in curbing deforestation. The Ministry of Environment will continue the partnership with CPI on measuring the effectiveness of public policy on deforestation, climate change, and land use intensification.” Izabella Teixeira, Brazilian Environment Minister

“I have repeated to many people who ask me about the progress of The Lab, that I went into it with uncertain expectations, but the well coordinated and focused processes with regular conference calls and the sub-group processes really improved the projects’ focus and quality in a meaningful and notable way. This is a really positive and measurable impact of the Lab’s work and I’m sure others who were active members of the project working teams would say likewise.” Peter Sweatman, Chief Executive and Founder, Climate Strategy & Partners

“[CPI’s] analysis will be very useful as we work with the [Indian] government to structure the next round of CSP [concentrated solar power] development in the country.” Aniruddha Patil, Senior Investment Specialist, Private Sector Operations, Department, Asian Development Bank

“I have admired the work of CPI – and especially the San Giorgio Group – for a number of years and I find the initiative very important. Their work is of a very high standard and not made anywhere else.” Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO PensionDanmark

“The San Giorgio Group is an innovative and inspiring place for policymakers to get insight on how to scale up climate finance, and in particular, on how to attract private finance.” Dr. Karsten Sach, Deputy Director General European and International Environmental Policy, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany


As an institution dedicated to helping nations achieve low-carbon development, CPI seeks to lead by example by reducing the impact of its own operations worldwide. Our global headquarters are located in a LEED Platinum Certified office in the historic Russ Building in downtown San Francisco. The office features renewable building materials, natural lighting, cross-ventilation, and the latest energy and resource efficiency technology. Our international offices are also committed to low-carbon practices. CPI recognizes the potential carbon impact of day-to-day operations and encourages all employees to utilize mass transit when commuting to and from work. We emphasize sustainable printing practices, recycling, and minimal energy usage in all of our offices. Wherever we can, we offer retirement investment options that are sustainable and socially responsible, and make a conscious effort to track and reduce carbon emissions that are a result of CPI travel.


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