Environmental Defense Fund Kicks Climate Corps into Overdrive

What do you get when you take top MBA students who possess knowledge of sustainability and place them in companies for a summer? The answer: Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps. (Full disclosure: we’re proud to have EDF as an affiliate here at 3p, but think the Climate Corps is a great program all on its own). On January 21, 2010, EDF began the third year of the Climate Corps program.

The Climate Corps program places MBA students in companies to develop energy efficiency plans that cut costs and greenhouse gas emissions. More than 20 corporations have signed on to host students this summer. EDF partnered with Net Impact (a network of sustainably minded business leaders) to develop a pool of over 200 applicants, meaning the companies are sure to get some strong talent on board.

Climate Corps plans to place 50 applicants this year. Last summer, 26 fellows helped 23 host companies identify net operating savings of more than $54 million with projects that could reduce energy use by more than 160 million kilowatt hours a year and save 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a year.

Some of the companies include returning ones such as eBay, Genzyme, Savvis, SunGard and Yahoo! Others include new participants such as Bloomberg, Carnival Cruise Lines, McDonald’s, PG&E, Staples, Target and Verizon.

“The rapid growth of Climate Corps speaks volumes about the value it delivers to companies, and the real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions it achieves,” said Gwen Ruta, vice president, corporate partnerships, EDF.

“eBay is eager to participate once again in EDF’s Climate Corps program,” said Bence Oliver, eBay’s senior manager for operational sustainability. “Our 2009 fellow Cindy Chen was crucial to eBay’s effort to articulate our carbon emissions reduction target and chart a course to meet it. Cindy provided 10 months of value to eBay in 10 weeks.”

Sadly, the deadline for applying has just passed, but MBA students who are just starting out should mark their calendars for the fall when the application process will begin again.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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