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The Climate Trust

Championing Good Land Stewardship for a Better Climate Future

For the past 25 years, The Climate Trust has used land stewardship and leveraged the power of carbon markets to conserve America’s forests and grasslands. As one of the oldest and most trusted names in carbon markets, in 2022, The Climate Trust developed a new strategic plan that would build on their rich history in the space, elevate their DEI commitments, and advance climate resiliency. With a new plan in tow, the team at The Climate Trust partnered with Constructive on their journey to realize the goals of their bold strategic plan through their new website and brand.

Brand & Website Assessment

Understanding the Opportunities at Hand for The Climate Trust

For two decades, The Climate Trust has been building relationships with landowners who pledge to conserve their land in perpetuity—and when they do, The Climate Trust sells carbon offsets and hands the revenue right back to landowners. The relationships are solid, but the process is a bit more abstract, especially at first. To understand the brand’s strengths and weaknesses as well as their website’s triumphs and pain points, we created surveys, led workshops, and conducted interviews with key stakeholders. When we did, we learned about the intricacies of their website, its core needs, and goals for engagement. And on their brand, we learned about the real, tangible value that The Climate Trust provides to landowners, offset buyers, and communities’ climate resiliency.

Brand Strategy

Charting the Strategy & Theory of Change for an Impactful Brand

A compelling theory of change is foundational to a nonprofit’s impact—especially when a nonprofit is embarking on a new strategic plan. For The Climate Trust, we learned in our research, interviews, surveys, and workshops that the organization’s greatest strength lies in their ability to leverage the power of carbon markets to do two things: to build a climate resilient future and to unite communities in land stewardship. To accelerate that impact, we charted a brand strategy that understood The Climate Trust as playing a critical role in bridging landowners and carbon markets, as well as bridging rural America and the creation of climate resilient communities.

Brand Messaging

Creating a Branded Language that Spurs Nature-led Climate Action

With our brand strategy assessment and our research to guide us, together with The Climate Trust team, we co-created a new system of language for articulating the organization and its impact. As part of our brand messaging, we created a new mission statement, vision, brand principles, beliefs, and more. By connecting to the deep history and passionate expertise of the organization, the organization’s new brand positioning and messaging was designed to help the team better embody all that The Climate Trust stands for and unite their stakeholders in a shared vision for the world—one where good land stewardship leads the way for a climate resilient future.

Visual Identity

Demonstrating Good Land Stewardship for a Better Climate

Before our partnership, The Climate Trust’s brand failed to reflect the timelessness that comes with protecting land in perpetuity. To bring The Climate Trust’s new verbal brand principles to life, we created a refreshed visual identity for the organization that emulated the brand’s timelessness, elegance, and organic roots. We created a new hexagonal logo to reflect the structure of carbon, but we did so with rounded edges to give the logo a more natural look. We paid special attention to the imagery for The Climate Trust’s new brand, using real photos of stakeholders to emphasize the organization’s relationships to people and land. The colors and gradients were also nature-inspired and meant to reflect a sunset. To balance authority and urgency, the typeface uses a serif and a condensed, capitalized sans-serif for headlines.

User Experience & Content Strategy

Engaging Landowners, Buyers, and Climate Experts Alike

Oftentimes, The Climate Trust is tasked with teaching people who are completely new to carbon markets and land trusts how to navigate the process that the organization facilitates. To design the user experience and underlying system that catered to buyers, landowners, and climate experts alike, we led workshops to identify the different ways the website can help people achieve their goals, then organized dozens of pieces of content to engage them online. The result tells a clear brand narrative of the core programs and values that define The Climate Trust’s work; delivers resources and stories that deepen understanding; and then drives action from landowners and buyers.

Website Design

Carrying The Climate Trust’s New Mission & Vision Forward

With The Climate Trust’s website, we translated our strategy, branding, and UX into an online brand experience to represent the organization’s values, programs, and impact. We started the design process by establishing a new design system that introduces a new system of typography, colors, imagery, and visual elements. Once the system was in place, we applied design concepts and branding elements that set the tone for the brand experience. Working closely with The Climate Trust’s team, we iteratively reviewed and extended our website design in stages, discussing and refining as we built a comprehensive design system of styles, components, and templates that carry throughout the website. Together, we delivered a strongly branded website experience that elevates the organization’s deep commitment to expanding access to carbon market solutions.

Website Design & Development

Demystifying Carbon Offsets to Advance Climate Resiliency

The Climate Trust believes that community-led land stewardship and climate action are critical for all of our futures. To make sure that communities can understand and access the tools they needed to advance their climate resiliency, The Climate Trust’s website prioritizes accessible language to describe their work, key impact statistics, case studies, and issue area-specific glossaries. Focusing in three key areas—grasslands, forest management, and reforestation—The Climate Trust brings their theory of change to life through their visually rich hubs under “What We Do” on their website. Throughout, the imagery and brand is meant to demystify, or make clear “what was once smoke and mirrors” according to a landowner.

Website Design & Development

Elevating the Impact of Landowners in Climate Action

A core part of The Climate Trust’s new strategic plan included an elevated commitment to working with often marginalized communities, particularly with Indigenous communities in the American West and Black landowners in the South. To demonstrate their commitment and their trustworthiness, The Climate Trust’s website draws on the organization’s existing strong ties to landowners across the country. Our strategic understanding of The Climate Trust as a bridge between landowners and carbon markets played a key role in articulating the organization’s value propositions, process, and potential to landowners. Across the website’s new “Who We Work With” section, we told the story of the partners that make The Climate Trust’s critical work possible.

Branded Resources

Accessible Information to Spark Understanding & Action

Carbon markets can be confusing. And to many, they might even signal “green washing,” but The Climate Trust is different. As one of the few nonprofit organizations in the carbon market space, The Climate Trust makes good on its promise to advance land trusts—conserving land in perpetuity—and returns the revenue from the carbon offsets created by trusts back to the land owners. The result is more climate resilient communities, expanded conservation, and a trustworthy force in carbon offset markets. To paint a clear, comprehensible picture of The Climate Trust’s impact, we worked with the organization’s team to create infographics that succinctly demonstrate the cycle of work in turning croplands to protected grasslands, improving  forest management, and restoring forest ecosystems.

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