EDFbiz Brief: Highlights of our recent work

Understandably, hectic schedules and information overflow makes it easy for news to sometimes slip through the cracks. This is why we want to recap some of the exciting things we’ve been working on over the last few months at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

EDF CLIMATE CORPS

As we gear up for the summer, we’ve closed the recruiting season for this year’s participants of EDF Climate Corps.  We’ll have 57 fellows working at 49 companies across the U.S.  About half are “repeat customers” – companies that have already participated for at least one year.  This is consistent with our strategy of moving companies beyond the “low-hanging fruit” and expanding program impact through a combination of growth in numbers and deeper change.

Also, in less than a month EDF Climate Corps 2011 will be officially launched with our annual fellow training. We hope you stay tuned to more information on the training and this summer’s program over the next few weeks.

WALMART

On the retail side of things, Walmart recently announced it has diverted 80% of the waste generated by its stores in California from landfills through a combination of recycling and reuse (the national average is 45%). The company plans to roll out the program to its 4,400 stores and distribution centers across the nation.

In late February, The Washington Post reported that Walmart will start testing products to ensure they do not contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), chemicals commonly used as flame retardants in furniture, toys and other products.  PBDEs are believed to impact the nervous and endocrine systems in humans.  In consultation with EDF and others, the retailer asked suppliers to stop using PBDEs several years ago; testing will reinforce that supply chain mandate.

Also this year, EDF joined with a group of organizations including Walmart, Target adidas, JC Penney, Levi Strauss and the U.S. EPA to launch the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The coalition intends to develop lifecycle impact information on apparel products, leading toward a sustainability score for garments.  This process complements the sustainability consortium’s efforts to develop measurement and reporting systems for the life cycle of consumer products in other categories, including Food, Beverage, Toys, Electronics, Clothing, Textiles, Home and Personal Care and Paper.

INNOVATION EXCHANGE

If you’ve been following our blog, then you know all about the Solutions Labs we hosted last year. What came out of those, you ask? Well, we worked with Alta Terra to publish a Summary Report on this series of “unconference” events produced through our Innovation Exchange. These meetings, or Solutions Labs, took place in nine U.S. cities in 2010 and provided more than 700 thinkers and doers from 300 organizations the opportunity to network, share new innovations and inspire further progress.

Also through our Innovation Exchange, we announced an exciting new collaboration with InnoCentive – a “crowdsourcing” platform for innovation – we hope will accelerate environmental performance in business.  We are now recruiting companies to use the web-based platform to access 250,000 entrepreneurs, inventors and scientists around the world to solve environmental challenges with real benefits for business.

As always, you can stay tuned to what is going on in our exciting world of green business by subscribing to our EDF Business blog.