Senior Fellow on Global Cities
Chicago Council on Global AffairsKaren 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.