EDFix Future of Green Podcast Series: "Have You Ever Heard of Environmental Defense Fund?"

20 Years of Business Partnership Lessons at EDF
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Bob Langert, vice president of corporate social responsibility at McDonald’s, explained that it all started with a letter from Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to McDonald's president at the time, Ed Rensi, essentially saying, “Hey, we could help you out!” EDF was reaching out to McDonald’s at a time when environmental groups didn’t typically collaborate with Corporate America. Langert recalled Rensi asking, “Have you ever heard of Environmental Defense Fund?” Langert responded that he hadn’t, and that environmental opportunities were “all new to us.”

And that’s how EDF's first corporate partnership began 20 years ago. Today, EDF continues to build on its experience from a generation of working with business, and explore the future of corporate environmental sustainability.

To help define the next generation of sustainable business, EDF hosted the "Future of Green" call series with Stanford’s Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation. The first podcast from the Future of Green series features Bob Langert of McDonald’s and Gwen Ruta, EDF’s vice president for corporate partnerships, interviewed by Jerry Michalski. Listen to the podcast to hear Langert and Ruta discuss some of the lessons learned from partnering together, including:

  • What it was like for these “unlikely bedfellows” to work together;
  • How McDonald's went "from the outhouse to the White House" following the partnership;
  • How EDF developed its partnership model today based on its work with McDonald’s;
  • Looking forward to a “new frontier” of multi-stakeholder initiatives involving multiple companies and non-profit organizations; and
  • “Going beyond compliance” for advancing sustainability goals.

Additional resources on environmental sustainability are also available from Stanford's Center for Social Innovation: