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Photo courtesy of Carbon War Room

Carbon War Room

Since its founding in 2009 as a global nonprofit by Sir Richard Branson and a group of like-minded entrepreneurs, Carbon War Room’s purpose has been to accelerate the adoption of business solutions that reduce carbon emissions at gigaton scale and advance the low-carbon economy.

In 2014, Carbon War Room merged with Rocky Mountain Institute, and RMI continues to use the Carbon War Room brand in many markets given its exceptional reputation.

Central to the approach of Carbon War Room programs is overcoming market barriers that prevent capital from flowing to sustainable solutions, or that prevent uptake of efficiency solutions. These programs engage directly with industry to generate business-led solutions with clear pathways to accelerate the deployment of profitable low-carbon solutions—even in the face of weak mandates.

Our vision is a world where market barriers will not prohibit profitable solutions to climate change, and where entrepreneurs who are passionate about preserving our planet’s resources are simultaneously tapping into the biggest economic opportunity of our generation.


In response to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Sir Richard Branson and a group of like-minded entrepreneurs founded Carbon War Room (CWR). The intent was to bring the best business minds together to deal with the climate challenge. Virgin Unite incubated Carbon War Room, and launched it in 2009. Its mission was to intervene in markets, remove market barriers, and help industry reduce carbon at gigaton scale. CWR set out to spur market demand for efficiency solutions in maritime shipping, buildings, aviation, and other sectors, and prioritized the flow of capital to low-carbon solutions as their metric of success. Since then, CWR has honed its bold approach to close information gaps, unlock latent efficiency, and get money flowing to efficient and renewable solutions. In 2014, CWR merged with Rocky Mountain Institute and now operates as part of RMI.

Core Historical Successes


CWR launched the world’s first free-to-access vessel efficiency index at Since then, 39 charterers transporting over 2 billion metric tons of cargo per year use the rating for vessel selection, including Rio Tinto, Hess, BHP Billiton, and Cargill. The entire group represents 20 percent of global trade.


CWR championed Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) with Lockheed Martin, Ygrene, and Energi, which together made a $650 million commitment in Miami-Dade county, Florida, and Sacramento, California.


CWR helped facilitate the country’s largest PACE project, in Sacramento at Metro Center Corporate Park, and the $230 million Green Energy Corridor in Miami, Florida, which funded hurricane protection, energy efficiency, and renewable energy for commercial and residential properties.


Twelve Caribbean nations signed up to work with CWR to reduce their dependency on imported fossil fuels.

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