Climate Corps 2011: Taking an HR Approach to Energy Efficiency at PwC

EDF Climate Corps

Climate Corps 2011: Taking an HR Approach to Energy Efficiency at PwC

Back in March, while I was searching for an MBA internship for the summer, my primary focus was to find something truly useful and rewarding. Having spent the last 8 years working in the oil and gas industry, I became familiar with the field and wanted to stay involved in energy. So when I saw an ad for EDF Climate Corps, I knew it matched exactly what I wanted to do. I would still be working in energy but at the same time I would be gaining experience in something fresh and relevant: sustainability and energy efficiency.

As an EDF Climate Corps fellow for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), my initiation into the world of sustainability began with a three-day training session at MIT's Sloan School of Management organized by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). I was impressed with the caliber of the speakers, organizers and fellows. I quickly realized that I was a part of something big.

Freshly trained, I was ready to hunt for energy efficiency opportunities at PwC. My challenges were twofold.

  • PwC is a financial services company with human capital as its main asset. It is therefore crucial to focus my efforts on behavior change among the staff.
  • PwC is ahead of its competitors in the race for sustainability. The company has come far in its efforts by conducting energy audits and lighting retrofits, as well as developing green teams and employee engagement efforts. In addition, PwC creates an atmosphere conducive to implementation, monitoring and change. In fact, PwC's Director of Environment and Marketplaces, Jeff Senne, boasts of solid experience in sustainability. Building on this solid base, my objective was to take PwC's energy initiatives to the next level.

Now halfway through my fellowship, I'm focusing on four main steps:

1. Build ideas and tools to engage PwC's 30,000 employees spread in 73 offices

2. Develop a better understanding of the office buildings and dynamics using a survey and analysis of the company's carbon footprint and the real estate database

3. Create an energy efficiency toolkit for the offices containing five "standard" or common projects that will be applicable to any PwC office

4. Grasp the higher hanging fruit in energy efficiency opportunities by engaging the right people to explore PC power management, space utilization, automatic mechanisms and setpoints.

In my ongoing efforts, I'm using every tool in the toolkit EDF provided us fellows: a shared resource library, our online discussion forum and, most importantly, the connections with other fellows at companies across the country. I've even organized regular meetings with some of them.

I'm looking forward to using the resources at my disposal to leave PwC with solid recommendations around the four focus points above.

Photo CC-licensed by stewf.