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City of Newark Names Nicole Hewitt-Cabral as Chief Sustainability Officer: 5 Things to Know

May 14, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Nicole Hewitt-Cabral has joined the City of Newark, New Jersey, as chief sustainability officer (CSO), Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced.

Here are five things to know about Hewitt-Cabral's experience and the city's sustainability strategy.

1. City of Newark, New Jersey - Overview: Newark, with roughly 305,000 residents as of 2022, is the most populous city in New Jersey, according to the Population Estimates Program (PEP). The city is an industrial center, transportation hub and home to a major shipping port -- closely located to New York City.

2. Sustainability Strategy: The Newark360 Master Plan will guide the city's resiliency to climate change for the next 10 years by "making neighborhoods more connected and accessible through public transit and pedestrian infrastructure, enabling more tree planting, green zone expansion, and affordable housing," Mayor Baraka said in his April 2023 State of the City address.

3. Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) Role: The CSO reports to the Business Administrator, and works closely with an interdepartmental Sustainability Team spanning staff from key City departments, the Newark Environmental Commission, Newark Green Team, and other community, university and private sector partners to implement policies and programs that create a healthier, greener Newark in all five wards, according to the CSO announcement. The work of the Sustainability Team builds on the framework laid out in the Newark Sustainability Action Plan, and is guided by principles of environmental and social justice, ensuring all members of the Newark community benefit from the city’s progress.

4. Nicole Hewitt-Cabral's Experience: Hewitt-Cabral is an entrepreneur and community builder. She previously founded and led Community Action Strategies, a "community building consulting firm committed to making the world more just by supporting frontline communities." Earlier, she was director of public engagement for Public Agenda, an organization that helps "communities discover and build on common ground."

Hewitt-Cabral has developed sustainability expertise since the start of her career. In 1999, she interned for the President’s Council on Sustainable Development for the White House . Later, while serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in Bolivia, she managed community-driven agroforestry and soil conservation projects supporting women farmers.

After earning her Master’s Degree, Hewitt-Cabral was a program officer for the Institute for Sustainable Communities, in Washington, DC and Gulf Coast, where she worked on supporting leaders and the community in rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, according to the CSO announcement.

Newark New jersey Mayor Ras J Baraka
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka

5. Leadership Perspectives: In a prepared statement, Mayor Baraka said: “We are proud and privileged to appoint someone with the professional credentials and proven track record of commitment to Newark and our residents like Nicole Hewitt-Cabral to the critical position of Chief Sustainability Officer. Ms. Hewitt-Cabral will provide our administration with the energy, determination, and leadership to take command of our sustainability office.”

Added Hewitt-Cabral: “It is an honor to serve in this role serving a city that I love as we work together to continue to shape our sustainability initiatives that increase our urban tree canopy, support our local growers to provide nourishing food to our residents, and invest in clean energy while preparing us for a hotter and wetter future."

City CSOs and Sustainability: Why Technology Partners Should Care

Newark is the second major city in New Jersey to name a CSO in recent months. The other involved the City of Hoboken promoting Jennifer Gonzalez to CSO.

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC. The figure will certainly be even higher for major cities -- many of which are working overtime to align sustainability goals with climate and environmental initiatives.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO customer needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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