EDF Climate Corps Continues to Drive Results for Private Equity Firms

The results are in. As my colleague Victoria Mills wrote recently, this year’s cohort of EDF Climate Corps fellows found $130 million in potential energy savings across 102 organizations.

Among the engagements, 12 fellows worked with private equity firms and portfolio companies on a diverse set of projects. Each engagement offers its own story, but we’d like to showcase a few examples demonstrating the value the Climate Corps program can bring to firms of all sizes and at all stages of understanding of energy management.

Energy audits and retrofits for a major manufacturing company

amiHellman & Friedman’s portfolio company Associated Materials, which specializes in exterior building products, hosted two fellows this past summer, its first year with the EDF Climate Corps program.

Fellow Karunakaren Muthumani Hariharan audited two of the firm’s 11 manufacturing locations to identify opportunities for energy efficiency, including lighting upgrades, process equipment upgrades and manufacturing process modifications. He suggested improvements with potential net present value savings greater than $1.4 million and reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,700 tons per year. Hariharan also proposed funding the energy efficiency projects through a new Green Energy and Sustainability Fund.

Krishna Chaitanya Vinnakota analyzed Associated Materials’ total expenditure on energy, over $15 million, and focused on energy saving opportunities in the company’s supply centers, including an approach that could result in energy expenditure savings of 20 to 50 percent in some supply centers. He also suggested strip doors as a simple but effective way of conserving energy during winter. It’s a project that could save the approximately half a million dollars per year if rolled out across the company’s 125 supply centers and 11 manufacturing plants.

Developing playbooks for the portfolio

kkr_logo_13932Like Associated Materials, KKR & Co. L.P. (KKR) also hosted two fellows this year, both of whom worked at the firm level primarily focused on KKR’s Green Portfolio Program. Sophia Luo developed playbooks and spreadsheets for portfolio companies to demonstrate the returns from key areas of energy efficiency improvements, focusing on HVAC systems and lighting.

Lana Zaman created a prioritization framework and questionnaire to identify the best opportunities for energy efficiency improvements within KKR’s private equity portfolio companies and real estate portfolio. She interviewed representatives from portfolio companies to understand barriers to taking action and the possible tools to address them.

Strengthening an existing sustainability strategy

Fellow Meaghan Krohn worked with IT provider Syniverse, a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, on achieving its 2015 Carbon Reduction Goals, conducting a materiality assessment to bolster the company’s sustainability strategy.

Surveying employees across Synverse’s global workforce, Krohn analyzed how various stakeholders prioritized the sustainability-related aspects of operations – information that can greatly inform the company’s sustainability strategy and reporting. She also assessed ways to design employee engagement programs aligned with the company’s perspectives on sustainability. Such a program could save more than $68,000 and 751,000 kilowatt hours annually at the company’s Tampa, FL headquarters alone, and could impact the company’s 2,700 employees around the world.

More and more stories to share

I recently had the opportunity to hear more stories about this year’s EDF Climate Corps cohort at an event hosted by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, the U.S. trade association for the private equity and growth capital industry, that focused on how firms approach the management of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The event included a panel featuring Beth Lowery, Principal at TPG Capital, whose portfolio companies have hosted five fellows to date, and Kevin Ruuhela, who served as a fellow this past summer at TPG portfolio company Avaya, as well as EDF’s Victoria Mills.

Beth and Kevin’s comments offered a high-resolution view of the value that EDF Climate Corps can offer a variety of stakeholders (read more about Kevin’s experience here). Ali Hartman, Vice President of ESG Strategy & Stakeholder Engagement at KKR, also contributed to the conversation insights into the kinds of projects fellows have tackled at the firm and its portfolio companies, including the two mentioned above.

These are always more great stories to tell and hopefully those highlighted here give a sense of the power of EDF Climate Corps to achieve measureable results for investors, companies, and the environment.

Also of interest: