Suzanne Russo

Fellow; Director, Environmental Justice Initiative

Suzanne Russo is a fellow at Resources for the Future and the director of the Environmental Justice Initiative, focusing on equitability in the climate transition. Prior to joining RFF, Russo spent five years as the CEO for Pecan Street Inc.—a nonprofit organization working to advance data and technology solutions for the climate crisis—and held several other roles during her 13-year tenure. While serving as CEO, Russo expanded Pecan Street’s focus from distributed energy resources to include techno-socio-environmental research and solutions development for transit and climate-beneficial agriculture as well as founding the Center for Race, Energy & Climate Justice. She has PI’d research projects funded by DOE, NSF, USDA, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Previously, she served as Director of Sustainability for New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development where she led the creation, financing, and implementation of comprehensive green building and retrofit policies for the city’s affordable housing stock that are still used today.

Russo has served on several nonprofit board of directors and consulted for others, helping to increase the impact of under-represented communities in deciding how to mitigate climate change, improve local health factors, and transition to decarbonized systems. As an undergraduate and graduate student researcher, Russo conducted research in Africa, China, and India, and on Latin America. Her work explored the effects of community input through survey-based research and participatory mapping on policy development in the areas of gender, infrastructure, and indigenous rights.


  • MA in Community and Regional Planning, University of Texas at Austin
  • BS in Humanities with a focus on community-based natural resources management, University of Texas at Austin

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