Robert Bernard

Global Head of Strategic Partnerships
National Geographic Society
Robert Bernard

Robert Bernard is the Global Head of Strategic Partnerships at the National Geographic Society. In this capacity, Bernard is responsible for building and cultivating sustainable alliances with organizations, foundations and corporations to increase the impact of the National Geographic Society and its partners as they work toward the organization’s vision of a planet in balance.

Bernard comes to the National Geographic Society from Microsoft Corporation, where he served as chief environmental strategist, defining and implementing the global technical, business and operational strategies for the company’s environmental work. Under his guidance, Microsoft transformed its approach to sustainability, restructured its energy sourcing strategy, achieved carbon neutrality through a first-of-its-kind internal carbon tax, and invested in and created breakthrough technologies and programs in resource efficiency. It also launched a $50 million “AI for Earth” initiative and created new engineering teams to pursue opportunities in energy efficiency, utility energy management and precision agriculture. 

Previously, Bernard ran Microsoft’s CityNext program, which helps cities around the world apply technology to realize safer, healthier, better-educated and sustainable places for people to live and work. Before that, Bernard was responsible for Microsoft’s relationships with more than 100 of the world’s largest independent software and managed programs serving over 70,000 software partners globally.

Before joining Microsoft, Bernard founded and ran a real estate development company.

He has held board and advisory positions with Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Corporate EcoForum, Freedom to Roam, the Bainbridge Schools Foundation, Green Grid, Advanced Energy Economy, and the University of California Davis Energy Efficiency Center.

A recipient of an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bernard earned an undergraduate degree in English from Columbia University.