Karen Weigert

Senior Fellow at Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Karen Weigert is a senior fellow on global cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She focuses on climate, energy and sustainability. Weigert served as the first Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago from 2011 to 2016. As Chief Sustainability Officer she worked to guide the city’s sustainability strategy and implementation, bringing innovative, practical solutions throughout Chicago. Her writings have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune and Real Clear World and her media appearances include CBS This Morning, WBEZ and Chicago Tonight. She has addressed topics including carbon emissions and cities, cyber threats to energy infrastructure, and climate change in the competitiveness of cities, among others. Specific examples of her work with the city of Chicago include: developing and delivering the Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda; launching the Greencorps Chicago Youth Program; introducing, passing and implementing Energy Benchmarking legislation; leading Chicago Solar Express and Solar Chicago; launching Retrofit Chicago and creating partnerships to deliver. Chicago was selected as the “Earth Hour Capital of the US” by WWF; Citi/Economist ranked Chicago #1 in US for environmental governance and risk; and Chicago was selected as the “Most Sustainable Large Community” by Siemens and the US Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center. Prior to her appointment she served as senior vice president of ShoreBank (later Urban Partnership Bank) where she built a national consumer group that generated deposits to support environmental sustainability and community development in low to moderate income urban neighborhoods. Before her work in community banking, Weigert was a strategy consultant at McKinsey where she served clients on topics including transportation, finance, energy, and land use. She began her career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and later served as an appointee in the Clinton administration focused on global environmental issues and agriculture.