Environmental issues are best solved in collaboration. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) partners with businesses, governments and communities to find practical solutions to environmental problems. Beth Trask focuses on developing corporate partnerships at EDF. In this interview she shares the latest activities and resources available to businesses. EDF started 20 years ago with the first corporate collaboration with McDonalds on phasing out their signature polystyrene packaging. Companies that partner with EDF gain a first mover advantage because they innovate new sustainable practices. The business community benefits because these innovations are shared with the wider business community to accelerate the adoption of sustainable business practices.
For the last several years, Trask has been working with Walmart on a large portfolio of activities such as lowering toxicity, increasing energy efficiency in supplier factories, reducing packaging, increasing operational efficiency, testing out thin film solar, and reducing waste streams. She has also worked with private equity firms to drive environmental performance through their investment portfolio. Green Returns provides tools and resources for private equity firms.
EDF provides several established programs for companies to whet their appetite on sustainability. A program called Climate Corps has matched trained students with over 80 companies to provide sustainability assessments. EDF has also teamed up with InnoCentive, a firm that specializes in crowd-sourcing innovation, to accelerate sustainable innovation in business through their Eco-Challenge program. Companies can tap into a world of innovative eco-solutions using InnoCentive’s online solution bidding system.
Connie Kwan is a GreenTech Marketing professional based in Silicon Valley, CA. She is pursuing an MBA in Sustainability at Presidio Graduate School and blogs about sustainability and business at Sustainable Thinking: Applied. Follow her on Twitter @ConnieMKwan.