Matt Petersen was appointed as the first ever Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles by Mayor Eric Garcetti.
As L.A.'s first CSO, Petersen is the chief architect of the Sustainable City pLAn which is a roadmap for a L.A. that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all. Working with his colleagues in the Mayor's office, City departmental heads, and 27 Departmental CSOs, Petersen is responsible for the implementation of the pLAn's outcomes and targets set for 2017, 2025, and 2035.
Prior to becoming CSO, Petersen co-founded Global Green USA and led the organization for 19 years as President and CEO. The organization was a pioneer in the greening of affordable housing (literally writing the book on the topic), schools, and cities. The organization achieved enormous strides in advancing solar, in particular on low income housing.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Petersen put forth a vision and mobilized resources to green the rebuilding of New Orleans, including schools, the Lower 9th Ward, and more. One of the more prominent campaigns the organization created under Petersen's leadership was the "Red Carpet, Green Cars" that aimed to transform the marketplace by putting celebrities into fuel efficient cars to the Oscars.
Petersen is a board member of Global Green USA, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, and the Sir Edmund Hilary Institute for International Leadership. Petersen is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as having served as an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative on energy and the environment while a CGI member for 10 years.
Petersen has lectured around the world and appeared on Good Morning America on ABC, This Morning on CBS, the TODAY Show on NBC, CNN, and interviewed in the NY Times, LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, and dozens of other publications.