MBA Students Save 400,000 Metric Tons Of Pollution

MBA students in the EDF Climate Corps fellowship program spent their summer working for leading companies like Dow Jones, EBay, Xerox and Pepsi working to improve energy efficiency. The result was enough energy efficiencies to save 400,000 metric tons of pollution and $350 million!

Bloomburg Businessweek called them “Energy Detectives.” They are a top group of MBA students chosen for the EDF program through Environmental Defense Fund and Net Impact. The 51 students in the 2010 program each worked at Fortune 1000 companies throughout the United States. Since the program began in 2008, fellows have found $439 million in potential savings and cut the equivalent of 958 million kilowatt hours of energy use per year — enough to power 85,000 homes.

The Vision
EDF’s Managing Director Victoria Mills explained the concept behind the program to Bloomburg Businessweek:

We find that companies know there are opportunities to save money through energy efficiency, but it is finding the time, having the resources, and making the business case that often gets in the way. The Climate Corps fellows are specially trained and have a laser-like focus on energy efficiency, because that is all they do for the summer. By making a compelling business case for energy efficiency at companies, they can help overcome organizational barriers, cuts costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Big Success StoriesThe success of the fellows has landed them in magazines and newspapers across the country. The Arizona Republic reported:

As CEO of Sunrise Preschools Inc., which has 27 campuses across metro Phoenix, Randall Gusikoski knew he could use energy rebates to save money. But he just didn’t have the time to research rebates himself.

At Sunrise, intern Jessica Berger, an MBA student in the business school at Rice University in Houston, identified projects that could save the company $1.14 million.

“The results at Sunrise are not uncommon for the Climate Corps,” said EDF project manager Emily Reyna. “This is just money laying on the table that companies haven’t gotten around to doing. Managers are overburdened or fighting everyday fires and don’t have time to look at these issues.”

Fellow Ryan Mallett spent his summer working at Verizon. According to the EDF blog, during one of the hottest summers on record, Mallett evaluated the installation of a thermal ice storage system at Verizon’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. The investments Mallet recommended could save the company a total of $9.16 million over the project lifetimes, while avoiding over 8,700 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Become A Fellow
Companies in the 2011 program will include JPMorgan Chase, Procter & Gamble and REI.  Applicants to the program must have demonstrated oral and written communication skills, presentation skills, project management experience, and a graduate-level background in financial analysis, among other Climate Corps criteria.

Photo by TerryJohnston on Flickr


Lorraine C.

Well done to these students. I sincerely hope that the lessons they have learned and taught these big businesses will stay with them throughout their lives and careers, so that they continue to make a difference.

Colin Hope
Colin Hope5 years ago

Excellent work!!

Sundeep Shah
Sundeep Shah5 years ago

good job

Sundeep Shah
Sundeep Shah5 years ago


Sundeep Shah
Sundeep Shah5 years ago


Emma S.
Emma S.5 years ago

Really heartening!

Beverly L.
Beverly L.5 years ago

Kudos and thanks for the inspiration!

Kunal A.
Past Member 5 years ago

Finally! An MBA put to good use! Normally, I abhor such BS-spewing people, but for the first time, they may have actually thought about something else other than their wallets.

Luke Keagy
Luke Keagy5 years ago

Wooo! Good stuff!

David N.
David N.5 years ago

Thanks for the article. Great news. We need more of this.