Environmental Justice Advisors Charter

In Spring 2021, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) launched an inaugural group of Environmental Justice Advisors (EJ Advisors) to advise the Commission as it develops best practices to better engage meaningfully with frontline communities at risk of rising sea levels, as well as new tools and resources to support the successful implementation of the Commission’s Environmental and Social Equity Policies.

The EJ Advisors group is composed of representatives from communities across the Bay Area including, but not limited to, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and low-income populations that have faced decades of environmental injustice and social inequity.

EJ Advisors foundational values

To mitigate the projected disproportionate impacts climate change will have on already vulnerable and historically marginalized frontline communities, public agencies are beginning to learn how to address historic and systemic inequities. Doing so requires agencies to develop stronger relationships with underrepresented communities that have been the subject of such discrimination. Ultimately, these changes will result in new policy systems and processes, advocacy, policy actions, and leadership pathways that will change deeply embedded practices. These significant and often uncomfortable shifts in deeply embedded cultural and bureaucratic norms will require each participant to respect each other’s ideas and histories, a great deal of patience, and a commitment to collaboration.

Each individual who will engage in the EJ Advisors program must take the time and space needed to reflect on their unique positions in society, including the advantages or disadvantages they may have earned or have been given, and to find opportunities to make space for a shared diversity of perspectives. The Bay Area will prosper in the face of rising sea levels only if we act as a single large community comprised of many smaller ones and work together to embrace our shared and individual histories to ensure a healthy and equitable Bay Area for future generations.

Our values are:

  • Respect and protect communities whose voices have not been, and still are not, included in policy conversations;
  • Ensure that decision-making processes are robust, meaningful, and equitable;
  • Prevent harm before it starts; and,
  • Honor the work that has been accomplished and learn from previous mistakes.


  • Advance and recommend to the Commission how best to embed equity and environmental justice principles throughout BCDC’s programs, policies, and processes.
  • With BCDC staff and the Commission develop metrics to track the implementation of such changes.
  • Encourage Commission appointing authorities to select Commissioners and Alternates who reflect the diversity of Bay shoreline and inland communities.
  • Increase strategies for a more diverse workplace at BCDC.
  • Develop a permitting and planning model that that better incorporates meaningful and robust community engagement during development and permitting processes, especially in areas most vulnerable to rising sea levels

Members shared principles

Members of the BCDC EJ Advisors will provide independent and objective advice, and have committed to the following principles:

  1. Lay a solid foundation for successful future EJ Advisors by doing the early steps right and ensure long-term sustainability of BCDC’s commitment to EJ work.
  2. Elevate voices and advocate for communities who are not currently being represented or heard.
  3. Build a deep, authentic, and mutually accountable relationship with BCDC.
  4. Help BCDC value, actualize, and institutionalize EJ principles throughout all BCDC’s practices.
  5. Be recognized as absolute partners in the fight to define how we mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  6. Use influence, expertise, and privilege to protect our communities.
  7. Identify missing avenues for deep, well-compensated opportunities for BIPOC, underrepresented community-led decision-making.

Terms of service

The EJ Advisors commit to performing one year of service, which may be renewed for a second and/ or third term. 

Commissioner EJ working group meeting logistics

In addition to their internal meetings, EJ Advisors are encouraged to participate in existing Commissioner EJ Working Group meeting, which take place on a bi-monthly basis, usually on the third Thursday of the month from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. Commissioner EJ Working Group meetings are open to the public and will continue being conducted virtually until further notice. The public meeting notices are available 10 calendar days prior to when they occur.


Roles are assigned on a month-by-month rotating structure. Each month, an EJ Advisor will act as that month’s Chair, including serving as the meeting facilitator. The Chair’s responsibilities include a check-in meeting with the program manager and secretary to set the meeting agenda and accomplish pre-, and post-meeting tasks, such as delegating follow-up action items.


The EJ Advisors receive an annual stipend of $10,000 thanks to the generous contributions of The Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) and the State Coastal Conservancy  (SCC). Advisors’ time commitments are not to exceed 80 hours annually