Joyce Coffee named managing director of ND-GAIN

Author: William G. Gilroy

Joyce Coffee

Joyce E. Coffee, who has extensive experience working on climate change and sustainability — particularly in the government and corporate sectors — has been named managing director of the University of Notre Dame’s Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN).

ND-GAIN is the world’s leading index showing which countries are best prepared to deal with the droughts, superstorms and other natural disasters climate change can cause. ND-GAIN ranks countries based on how vulnerable they are to climate change, and how prepared they are to adapt to the storms, droughts and heat waves that scientists predict will increase in the coming decades. The index moved to Notre Dame from Washington, D.C., in April.

“We are thrilled that Joyce is joining the leadership team at ND-GAIN,” David Lodge, director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative, where ND-GAIN is housed, said. “She is a widely recognized environmental thought leader with extensive experience working with corporations, governments and nonprofits on climate change and sustainability. As managing director, she will be reaching out to all three of those sectors to raise awareness about vulnerability to climate change and the urgent need for countries to adapt.”

Coffee has 20 years of experience in environmental leadership, risk management, performance measurement and sustainability execution. Previously, she was vice president at Edelman where she provided strategic counsel to global companies on corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Before joining Edelman, she also directed the Chicago Climate Action Plan driving both climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. She also managed environmental codes as well as water and air resources in the City of Chicago department of environment.

Coffee started her career as an urban environmental consultant with the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership. She was a founding board member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency and a Great Lakes delegate to the Brookings International Young Leaders Climate Change Summit. She also is a Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leader.

Coffee has had global work assignments in such countries as the Philippines, Vietnam and Egypt.

She was awarded the Henry Luce Fund Scholarship to study at the University of Hanoi in Vietnam and received a dual bachelor of science degree in biology and environmental studies, with a minor in Asian Studies, from Tufts University and a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on June 28, 2013.