San Francisco, CA. Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) tapped energy and environmental partner Alison B. Torbitt to serve on its board of directors. Alison also serves as co-leader of Nixon Peabody’s Legally Green initiative, which takes a holistic approach to sustainability issues, transforming corporate culture, decision-making, and operations internally, while supporting Nixon Peabody’s clients’ sustainability objectives externally.
During Alison’s leadership of Legally Green, Nixon Peabody deployed $3.7M worth of pro bono legal services toward sustainability-focused nonprofits and for-profit startups over the last two years and created a first-of-its-kind resiliency hub for low-income people developed through forming a nonprofit known as New Partners Community Solar.
“I am honored and thrilled to join the Friends of the Urban Forest Board and deepen my commitment to helping improve the environment and push back against the devastating impacts of climate change,” said Alison. “I look forward to working alongside colleagues and neighbors to bring better tree equity to San Francisco, a city I love and work in. As temperatures continue to escalate in our cities, trees can cool neighborhoods by as much as 10 degrees, not to mention lower air conditioning needs, saving electricity and emissions. This impact can be life-saving, especially as California’s drought escalates to extreme levels across the state.”
Alison focuses her practice on environmental due diligence, compliance advice, and renewable energy, counseling a large range of manufacturers, developers, and financing parties to find solutions and mitigate and allocate risk associated with all aspects of environmental laws. She strives to help clean up the “dirty dirt” to allow businesses to sell, buy, or redevelop under-utilized properties. Alison is also active in maritime matters and serves as co-leader of Nixon Peabody’s Food, Beverage & Agribusiness team. In addition, Alison is the vice chair for the San Francisco Bar Association’s Environmental Law executive committee and the legislative chair for the international Water Environment Federation.
With a technical background as an aquatic ecotoxicologist, she has firsthand knowledge of the science and business repercussions of environmental laws, including those regarding water, air, vapor intrusion, hazardous materials, and spill response. She has also developed a distinguished reputation for advising clients on utility-scale, community, and residential solar energy, assuring adequate protections are in place for tax credit investors and consumers.
Alison is especially excited to support FUF’s environmental justice work. FUF regularly plants trees in neighborhoods where there are less green spaces due to, among other factors, discriminatory police practices, institutionalized racism, and economic inequality. FUF has been and remains an ally for BIPOC and LGBTQ+, planting trees and being an ally where it matters.
Friends of the Urban Forest brings neighbors together to plant and care for San Francisco’s ideal urban forest. This green infrastructure improves the city by beautifying neighborhoods, cleaning the air, and reducing polluted stormwater runoff. Since its founding in 1981, FUF has brought communities together to plant more than 60,000 trees, totaling over half of the city’s current street tree canopy.