Leading Companies Sign Up for Big Energy Savings in 2011

January 25, 2011
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Today Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) welcomed the first round of companies committed to cutting carbon emissions through the EDF Climate Corps program. New program participants this year include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Dunkin' Brands, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Microsoft. They will join returning companies such as adidas, Carnival, McDonald's and P&G.

Heading into its fourth year, EDF Climate Corps places top MBA students in companies to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans that cut costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Over thirty companies have already enrolled in EDF Climate Corps for the summer of 2011. The final deadline for companies to apply is March 18, 2011.

"With their specialized training and laser focus on energy efficiency, EDF Climate Corps fellows deliver real results for the climate and the bottom line," said Victoria Mills, managing director for corporate partnerships at EDF. "The companies already enrolled in EDF Climate Corps recognize that big savings are at stake. We encourage others to get on board in the coming weeks."

Since its inception in 2008, EDF Climate Corps has uncovered opportunities for 66 Fortune 1,000 companies to save a total of $439 million in net operational costs and avoid 557,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year—equivalent to taking 86,000 SUVs off the road. Participating companies are making these energy efficiency opportunities a reality: to date, projects accounting for 84 percent of the energy savings identified by 2008 and 2009 fellows are either complete or already underway.

"One of the keys to environmental responsibility is to live and work as efficiently as possible, which is why Facebook is focusing heavily on efficiency technologies for our operations," said Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of technical operations for Facebook. "We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the experts at EDF Climate Corps to find new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency."

Many companies that have hosted EDF Climate Corps fellows in the past are back again in 2011. Reasons for energy-wise companies to engage a fellow for a second or third year include:

  • EDF Climate Corps fellows provide a fresh perspective and an extra set of skilled hands that complement the work of an in-house team. John Schinter, executive director of energy at AT&T, hired an EDF Climate Corps fellow to work on an existing lighting project. In her lighting project, Jen Snook, Duke MBA, identified steps that if implemented could result in an 80 percent savings in energy use across more than 100 million square feet of space.
  • EDF Climate Corps fellows have the time and expertise to look beyond the typical "low-hanging fruit" of energy efficiency. While Hospital Corporation of America (HCA, Inc.) had already initiated energy efficiency projects before Nick Fassler, Michigan MBA, got there, he was able to identify further upgrades that could reduce lighting costs by 30 percent. When rolled out to most of HCA, Inc.'s more than 160 hospitals, the company could save $7.8 million in electricity costs and avoid 52,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.
  • The return on investment for an EDF Climate Corps fellow is enormous – every fellow to date has identified energy savings that pay back his or her salary many times over. Jonathan Stone, NYU MBA, spent 10 weeks spearheading a lighting retrofit at the Dow Jones printing plant for News Corporation. Stone identified projects that could reduce annual energy costs by nearly $180,000 and avoid over 900 metric tons of GHG emissions.

This year's applicants to EDF Climate Corps include students enrolled in top-tier MBA programs at Columbia University, Duke University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, The University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, University of Virginia and Yale University.

The list of 2011 Climate Corps host companies to date includes: adidas, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, CA Technologies, Carnival, CSX, Cummins, Diversey, Dow Jones (News Corporation), Dunkin' Brands, Eaton, Facebook, Firmenich, Gaylord Entertainment, Genzyme, Hospital Corporation of America, Humana, Ingersoll Rand, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kettle Cuisine, McDonald's, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, RBS/Citizens Bank, REI, Shorenstein, SunGard, VivaKi (Publicis Groupe), Washington Gas, Quality Technology Services (QTS)

For more information on EDF Climate Corps and details on how to host a fellow in 2011, visit edfclimatecorps.org.

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