NRDC works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.
NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council) combines the power of more than 3 million members and online activists with the expertise of some 700 scientists, lawyers, and other environmental specialists to confront the climate crisis, protect the planet's wildlife and wild places, and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.
History & Victories
On January 1, 1970, New York–based lawyer John H. Adams came together with other like-minded litigators to set up an organization they called the Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC was the first national environmental advocacy group to focus on legal action, and we committed ourselves to protecting the environment for generations to come. Learn more about some of our major achievements, among the hundreds of victories we’ve achieved to make good on that founding goal.
“We are in the fight of our lives. If we fail, the consequences will be like nothing human civilization has ever seen. But NRDC has the arsenal we need to win this fight. We combine rigorous science, policy advocacy, and legal expertise with millions of supporters providing political and lobbying muscle. And this place is full of energy.”
Manish Bapna, NRDC president & CEO
How We Work
How We Work
From mayors’ offices to Congress to international negotiating tables, we work at every level to persuade decision makers to adopt solutions for lasting environmental change. We mobilize strategic coalitions and the grassroots power of millions of activists to urge elected officials to put the public interest ahead of polluting industries.
We are pursuing an integrated approach to addressing persistent and connected threats of environmental inequality, racial injustice, and socioeconomic insecurity. We work with frontline groups to advance community-driven solutions, to help build power in communities most harmed by inequities, and to push for long-lasting change.
We aim to increase awareness and advocacy for our priority environmental issues by partnering with a wide range of media, brands, celebrities, musical and cultural festivals, art institutions, and social media platforms.
We have worked internationally for decades in select countries as well as global forums. We use scientific, economic, and policy expertise to spearhead crucial environmental breakthroughs around the world.
We litigate across a broad range of environmental and public health issues, often working closely with NRDC’s subject-matter experts. Our attorneys may also represent other nonprofit organizations, community groups, and individuals.
Our Science Office bridges the gap between science and the people, wildlife, and ecosystems it serves. We aim to harness science as a tool to support a greater environmental movement that centers communities most harmed by environmental and climate impacts.
Where We Work
WHERE WE WORK: UNITED STATES & INTERNATIONAL
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We are working to ensure that our internal culture reflects and embodies principles and practices of equity and inclusion. After establishing NRDC's Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in 2020, we have been, among other initiatives, developing organization-wide strategic plan for DEI, evaluating and improving our hiring, retention, and promotion processes, and helping staff to form Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that create support and community for our staff with similar backgrounds, experiences, and/or interests. In September 2022, NRDC committed to Green 2.0's pay equity pledge to close the wage gap in the environmental movement.
Annual Report & Financials
Reimagining the Future: Check out NRDC's annual report for an overview about what we've accomplished in 2023.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, incorporated under the laws of the State of New York in 1970. The top watchdog groups for charitable organizations annually recognize our commitment to transparency and efficiency, with a four-star rating on Charity Navigator and an A- grade on Charity Watch.
For nearly 40 years, NRDC has relied on a robust direct-mail program to recruit and maintain the large Membership that gives us standing in court to bring legal action in defense of our environment. We communicate by postal mail—and other channels—not only to generate income but also to mobilize the public in direct-action campaigns that have produced millions of petitions to corporations and government agencies, thereby advancing our environmental mission. As a result, in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) guidelines, NRDC allocates a portion of our direct-mail costs to program services and to fund-raising.
NRDC is committed to leading the green-building industry through action. We leverage widely respected sustainable building standards to ensure we are at the cutting edge of sustainable building practices across our global operations. These standards drive progress toward our visions. In all of our offices, we strive to reduce resource consumption and increase resource production. Since 2012, we have achieved:
Decrease in carbon emissions
Decrease in water consumption
Decrease in waste to landfill
- E2: We partner with this national, nonpartisan group that advocates for policies that are good for the economy and the environment.
- NRDC Action Fund: The Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of NRDC whose mission is to build political support in the United States for protecting the planet and its people.