Report Emphasizes How Chief Resilience Officers Can Help States Address Growing Climate Impacts

EDF and partners release governance roadmap for establishing and supporting Chief Resilience Officers

November 3, 2021
Jacques Hebert

(TAMPA, FL – Nov. 3, 2021) As climate impacts intensify across the country, many states and municipalities have established Chief Resilience Officers (CRO) to provide coordinated statewide leadership to reduce risks and protect communities, businesses, vital infrastructure and the environment. As state legislators gather today for the annual National Conference of State Legislatures meeting, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) are releasing a report that outlines specific recommendations for how governors and legislatures can establish and support CROs to meet the challenges of a changing climate.

“States face a tremendous burden in keeping their communities, economies and vital resources protected from the ever-growing threats of climate change, but they are organizing themselves thoughtfully and strategically to tackle that challenge,” said Mark Rupp, State-Federal Policy & Affairs, U.S., EDF. “As global leaders meet in Glasgow to take collective climate action, they need only to look to the leadership and example of U.S. states that are working toward greater climate resilience, and Chief Resilience Officers are foundational to their success.”

“One of our main goals in Louisiana is to get more areas of state government thinking about how future environmental changes will affect their ability to carry out their missions and serve our people, and then work with them to find ways to adapt,” said Charles Sutcliffe, Louisiana’s Chief Resilience Officer. “The creation of the role of Chief Resilience Officer and the appointment of resilience coordinators at every agency have made those conversations possible.”

“State leaders must take proactive steps to reduce the risks from climate change and other disasters today,” said Trina Sheets, Executive Director, NEMA. “Chief Resilience Officers serve important roles in helping states plan ahead to keep people safe and reduce the costs of future disasters. This roadmap provides important lessons from states that have done this successfully.” 

“Addressing the threat of climate change requires a whole-of-government approach, and Chief Resilience Officers are vital to ensuring coordination and collective action,” said Carolyn Hanson, Deputy Director, ECOS. “We are grateful to the Chief Resilience Officers and experts who shared their knowledge to provide an incredibly valuable roadmap that state leaders can use to expand and support these vital positions within their governments.” 

Instituting Resilience is the result of an EDF-led collaboration that included active CROs as well as officials from states that have been exploring creating a CRO. In addition to recommendations for establishing and supporting these positions, the roadmap outlines how the role of CRO originated and how states have established these positions over time.

Access the full roadmap “Instituting Resilience: Recommendations for Governors and Legislators on Establishing and Supporting Chief Resilience Officers” here.

# # #

One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund ( creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 2.5 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund

The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) is the national nonprofit, nonpartisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders. The purpose of ECOS is to improve the capability of state environmental agencies and their leaders to protect and improve human health and the environment of the United States of America.

The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) association dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our nation’s security. NEMA is the professional association of and for emergency management directors from all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.