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EDF’s Climate Corps Identifies $54 Million in Savings at Leading Corporations

MBA recommendations could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100,000 metric tons per year

Submitted by: Environmental Defense Fund

Categories: Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Oct 14, 2009 – 10:00 AM EST


WASHINGTON D.C., Oct. 14 /CSRwire/ - This past summer, 26 MBA students from across the country joined Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) Climate Corps program to help Fortune 500 and other leading companies uncover energy efficiencies that represent net operating savings of more than $54 million over the lifetime of the projects. These projects could also reduce energy use by more than 160 million kWh a year - enough to power 14,000 homes - and avoid more than 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

"Our Climate Corps fellows bring to life the powerful business case for energy efficiency," said Gwen Ruta, vice president, corporate partnerships at EDF. "As the next generation of business leaders, they are demonstrating first-hand that cutting costs while cutting carbon is a win-win proposition."

Launched in 2008, EDF's Climate Corps trains business students to analyze energy efficiency opportunities at their host companies. The inaugural class of Climate Corps fellows identified projects that could save 120 million kWh of energy - to date, projects that account for 97% of that potential energy savings have either been completed or are in implementation at the 2008 host companies.

This year's cohort of fellows from top-tier universities including Duke, Stanford, Cornell and Yale spent their summer fellowships working at leading companies such as Cisco Systems, Dell, eBay Inc., EMC, Genzyme, HP, Sodexo and Sony Pictures Entertainment. With support from EDF, the fellows developed detailed energy efficiency investment and implementation plans for each host company.

"The Climate Corps program provided 10 months of value to eBay in 10 weeks," said Bence Oliver, senior manager, operational sustainability, eBay. "Our fellow Cindy Chen was crucial to eBay's effort to articulate its carbon emissions reduction target and chart a course to meet it."

The fellows found efficiency gains from improving lighting, computer equipment and heating and cooling systems. Some highlights include:

  • Mark Braby spent the summer at Raytheon's Network Centric Systems division in Dallas, where he identified $3.4 million in operating cost savings, 2.6 million kWh of energy use reductions and 1,500 metric tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions from virtualization and other energy efficiency projects.

  • At Cisco, which also hosted a Climate Corps fellow in 2008, Sarah Shapiro concluded that small increases in the ambient temperature of the company's large data labs could save the company approximately $1.8 million and 18 million kWh of electricity annually, without harming laboratory equipment.

  • Trish Kenlon found ways to reduce energy use in TXU Energy's two main office buildings by 10% and 30% respectively, which could save the company over $200,000 and 2.3 million kWh of electricity annually, while avoiding over 6,500 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • At the IT services company SunGard, fellow Ryan Whisnant developed a plan to cut energy use in the company's headquarters by 25% through lighting retrofits and HVAC upgrades. If replicated across the company's 7 million square feet of office space worldwide, the plan could cut SunGard's energy bills by over $5 million annually.

"Our Climate Corps fellow provided excellent analysis of our sustainability programs that has allowed us to focus on energy efficiency enhancements that are both strategic and financially advantageous," said Jeff Hargleroad, executive vice president of corporate operations for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

To identify and select exceptional fellows, EDF partners with Net Impact, the preeminent network of students and professionals using the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.

"In addition to helping companies cut costs through energy efficiency, Climate Corps is creating a new generation of 'green' business leaders to spearhead corporate environmental innovation in the years to come," said Liz Maw, executive director, Net Impact. "The strong student interest in the program is a promising trend for the future of responsible business."

For more information on Climate Corps and details on how to host a fellow in 2010, visit

Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 700,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. Environmental Defense Fund has a 20-year track record of success in partnering with business. To maintain its independence and credibility, EDF accepts no money from corporate partners; generous individuals and foundations fund its work. For more information, visit Follow our blog at We're also on Twitter:

Net Impact is a global organization of students and professionals using business to improve the world. We offer a portfolio of programs and initiatives to educate, equip and inspire more than 15,000 members to make a tangible difference through business. Spanning six continents, our membership is one of the most influential networks of students and professionals in existence today and includes current and emerging leaders in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development and environmental sustainability. For more information, please visit

2009 Climate Corps program hosts include: Accenture, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), Ahold USA, Biltmore Farms, Cisco Systems, Dell, eBay Inc., EMC Corporation, Genzyme, Grubb Properties, Houston Rockets/Toyota Center, HP, Inuit Inc., National Instruments, North Carolina Central University, Raytheon Company,, Savvis, Shorenstein Realty Services L.P., Sodexo, Sony Pictures Entertainment, SunGard and TXU Energy.

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For more information, please contact:

Melanie Janin Marketing Director
Julie Stofer Marketing Manager

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Environmental Defense Fund


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