By: Katie Ware, Marketing & Communications, Corporate Partnerships, EDF
This summer, Triple Pundit will follow three environmental change agents participating in the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program. EDF Climate Corps recruits and trains top-tier MBA students and places them in leading corporations to identify and develop practical, actionable energy efficiency solutions.
Now in its fourth year, EDF Climate Corps fellows to date have uncovered efficiencies in lighting, computer equipment and heating and cooling systems that can:
- Save $439 million in net operational costs over the project lifetimes,
- Cut the equivalent of 958 million kilowatt hours of energy use annually — enough to power 85,000 homes per year,
- And avoid over 557,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually — equivalent to taking more than 86,000 SUVs off the road per year
And it’s working. Companies report that projects representing 86 percent of the energy savings identified by EDF Climate Corps fellows are complete or underway.
This year, a group of 57 fellows is back on the hunt for energy savings at 49 companies to even further magnify the program’s impact. Over the next few weeks, Triple Pundit will follow three fellows as they report on their energy sleuthing experiences from inside Adidas, Kettle Cuisine and SunGard.
Dara Hourdajian, MPA Candidate at Columbia University (Focusing on International Energy Management & Policy)
Before pursuing her master’s degree, Dara focused on clean energy and climate change legislation at the National Wildlife Federation. The knowledge gained through this experience, supplemented by the curriculum of her energy management degree at Columbia University, prepared her well for her role this summer. Now that EDF Climate Corps has provided Dara with the training, real-world experience and strong network necessary to identify and implement cost-effective measures to combat climate change, she is ready to help adidas save both energy and money.
Future goals: The Climate Corps fellowship mirrors Dara’s ideal career to work directly with the corporate community, identifying ways to save money and help the environment. In 5-10 years, Dara hopes to be directing corporations on how to best achieve sustainable and energy efficient practices, on a national and global scale.
Jef Benbanaste, MBA Candidate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management
Jef has spent the past five years at Deloitte Consulting helping clients improve their operations through enterprise resource planning software. He is now pursuing an MBA to better understand sustainability in a business setting. Jef says the EDF Climate Corps fellowship program is a great opportunity to gain experience in this area.
Future goals: Post MBA, Jef sees himself either working in sustainability related consulting or on the sustainability team of a private company.
Jacob Shirmer, MBA Candidate at Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management
After working for environmental planning consultancy AKRF, Jacob says he joined Johnson for an MBA because he recognized the huge role the private sector has to play in solving the world’s problems. He says EDF Climate Corps will give him the tools he needs to make an immediate impact and is a substantial step forward in his career.
Future goals: Jacob feels the urgency to act and have an impact by implementing triple bottom line strategies and affecting big-picture strategy. To achieve this goal, he intends to work as a sustainability strategy consultant. Further down the line, he aspires to work as a company’s Chief Sustainability Officer or in a similar role.