Our Work: What We Do

The Pacific Institute, a global water think tank, carries out independent research and outreach to improve how threats to sustainability are perceived and solved. We work with a broad array of interests, including communities, civil society groups, private sector organizations, and governments through participatory research models, collaborative platforms, and formal partnerships. We broaden decision-making processes so that outcomes reflect meaningful involvement of affected stakeholders, recognizing the critical need to achieve socially, environmentally, and economically beneficial results.

We do this by working directly to:

-Improve understanding, providing decision-makers and communities with information they need. We actively help key actors to understand problems, use our research and tools, and carry out recommended solutions, and we also engage communities in action research that advances innovative, cross-cutting solutions developed by impacted residents. We provide reports, briefings, fact sheets, curricula, tools, convenings, and materials and trainings designed to answer specific sustainability challenges, and we provide an independent voice shaping the opinion of multiple audiences.

-“Release trapped knowledge,” turning information that previously circulated only among academics and technical experts into data, ideas, and tools that decision-makers can use, and creating opportunities for community knowledge and wisdom to come to the fore. We work to strengthen community capacity to address environmental and economic equity issues, and help reshape how an issue is understood, defined, and tackled.

-Partner with a broad array of organizations and coalitions, working to overcome the common root causes to economic, environmental, and community health and equity challenges from the global scale to the local scale and in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Our partners range from grassroots communities to business groups, and from NGOs to governments and the United Nations.

-Develop practical innovative solutions, management incentives, and economic drivers for private or public entities with social goals, and monitoring systems. We document and spread innovative “best practices” through recommendations, standards, and case studies.

-Initiate and participate in multi-stakeholder processes to develop practical solutions to complex or contentious issues. We lay out approaches for building consensus across groups with strongly polarized opinions.

-Promote justice and democratic decision-making, bringing new voices to the table and securing the participation of multiple, diverse stakeholders. We document distributional inequities in environmental and economic burdens and benefits and make a compelling case for implementing sustainable outcomes that benefit everyone.

-Conduct extensive outreach, because simply publishing data, analysis, and recommendations accomplishes little; we work to make the research available and to get it into the right hands, at many levels, to make change.

“The Pacific Institute is one of the most dynamic and effective policy research organizations I know … the work of the Pacific Institute is among the most innovative, relevant, and effective in the area of the environment and international development … If high-quality, non-partisan research and policy analysis can be made available to us from groups like the Pacific Institute, the chances for good legislation and good public policy improve dramatically.”

Former Congresswoman Claudine Schneider (R-RI)