Deadline Nears for Corporate Recruits in EDF's 2009 Climate Corps Program

Deadline Nears for Corporate Recruits in EDF's 2009 Climate Corps Program

The Climate Corp, the program the Environmental Defense Fund started last summer to build tomorrow's environmental leaders by having them tackle energy efficiency challenges at companies today, is looking for a few more firms to serve as corporate hosts for this summer.

The organization plans to close its recruitment period for corporate partners in mid-March after what has been a strong strong campaign to enlist companies for an expanded program this year, said Rachel Beckhardt, EDF's project manager for corporate partnerships. The fellowship application period for MBA students has already closed.

Last summer, the pilot program by EDF
sent seven MBA students to Cisco, Crescent Real Estate Equities, Intuit, KKR, NVIDIA, Salesforce.com and Yahoo!, where the Climate Corps fellows identified 120 million kilowatt hours of electricity savings -- about enough to power 10,000 homes and the equivalent of saving $35 million in net costs over a five-year period. The savings also could help the reduce GHG emissions by some 57,000 tons annually, according to EDF.

This year, EDF is partnering with Net Impact to conduct the program and is planning to send fellows from universities across United States to 15 to 20 firms located in five broad regions of the country: the metro Boston area, the North Carolina research triangle, Texas, Los Angeles and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Courtesy of EDF
Each fellow's mission for the 10- to 12-week Climate Corps program will be to conduct a detailed analysis of energy reduction opportunities in lighting, computer equipment and HVAC systems -- and then produce an actionable investment and implementation plan that helps the fellow's host company reduce costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

"These are the energy efficiency gurus of today and tomorrow" Beckhardt said. "In a down economy, to precisely identify not only ways to reduce carbon footprint, but also to precisely identify way to save money through efficiency -- that's what going to help companies rise to the top."

Sustainability leaders from Intuit, Cisco and Yahoo! praise their experience with Climate Corps in a video posted on the EDF site. Some of the fellows share their experiences as well.

Responsibilities for fellows and host companies are detailed on the site, and there is an added point for host companies this year. They are being asked to help pay the salaries for the fellows; EDF paid the salaries last summer, said Beckhardt. Although the sum was not disclosed, Beckhardt said the amount was comparable to compensation typically offered to interns from MBA programs at prestigious universities.

"Based on our experience last summer, we're confident that the interns will generate much, much more than that in cost-saving opportunities," said Gwen Ruta, vice president for corporate partnerships at the Environmental Defense Fund.

More information about the Climate Corps program is available here. Companies interested in serving as hosts should email Rachel Beckhardt.