As anyone who regularly reads my Celebrating Eco-Progress installments knows, the series is meant as an experiment in positive reinforcement, to applaud big businesses when they adopt sustainable practices, communicating to them that sustainability is a win(business)-win(consumer)-win(planet) scenario.
Well, every sustainable business decision depends on many environment-minded individuals, from executives in companies trying to transform their business models from the inside, to consultants and non-profits working from the outside, trying to influence and assist companies to see light and make changes.
Today’s Celebrating Eco-Progress installment looks at an exciting, highly successful partnership between insiders and outsiders.
Seventy-eight companies, cities and universities identified $650 million in potential energy efficiency savings with the help of MBA and MPA students trained by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
The brilliance of this program is two-fold:
- Students: As a supervisor of university student employees, I can attest to their potential to bring crucial energy, enthusiasm, and innovation to projects like this. This EDF Climate Corps is doing nothing less than producing a generation of environmental heroes.
- Green is Good Business: As I’ve written before, marketing the cost-savings companies will experience by instituting sustainable practices is key!
So, you might ask, it’s one thing to identify the possible savings, but how effective is Climate Corps at actually yielding real action from the companies?
In the last four years the program has identified energy savings equivalent to the reduction of 1 million metric tons of CO2 and has reduced energy operating costs for the life of the businesses involved by $1 billion.
The fact that the Climate Corps started with just seven students and has grown to 96 is a very encouraging development.
And, in keeping with the Celebrating Eco-Progress mission, here’s a shout-out to all the companies rising to the Climate Corps challenge:
…this year the partners included Adidas, AT&T, Avon, Belk, Dunkin’ Brands, Facebook, Target, McDonald’s, New York City Housing Authority, Microsoft and REI.