Big brands drive change in China’s manufacturing hub

In just a few days I, along with EDF+Business’ Xixi Chen, will be traveling across China to talk with companies and students about corporate energy management. The trip comes one week after China’s “Golden Week”—the country’s eight-day-long national celebration. Each year, the holiday marks the largest week for tourism, bringing in over 700 million tourists at home and abroad to the nation’s streets and roughly $87 billion in revenue.

But while the streets are bustling, China’s industrial and manufacturing powerhouse comes to a standstill. This is a mandatory national holiday for all citizens, which means, for the entire week, almost everyone is off of work, businesses and factories are shut down, shipping lines are put on pause, and companies with suppliers in China are busy preparing for a week of silence.

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From energy efficiency to clean energy: 10 years of EDF Climate Corps


Ten years ago, EDF found itself head-on with a challenge: how to effectively jump-start corporate energy efficiency initiatives. We started EDF Climate Corps, a summer fellowship program, with the theory that a small, intense injection of effort could catalyze investment in energy efficiency, giving companies the opportunity to capitalize on the associated cost and energy savings. That was ten years ago.

Since then, more than 800 fellows have been placed in over 430 organizations to advance corporate energy management.

Liz Delaney, Program Director, EDF Climate Corps

We have seen companies use their help to go beyond single-site projects and scale energy efficiency across their entire portfolios of facilities. This growth is representative of a vibrant and growing industry. Deploying energy efficiency has become a mainstream practice, and an entire ecosystem of service providers has cropped up to support these efforts. Employment in this market has skyrocketed and energy efficiency now represents the largest source of clean energy jobs in the country.

But the corporate energy challenge doesn’t stop there.

While energy efficiency continues to be an important way for companies to reduce carbon emissions from electricity, it can only get them so far. Alongside scaled-up efficiency efforts, holistic, strategic energy management plans that include clean energy generation (onsite and offsite) must be developed–and many companies are stepping up to the plate to do so.

Today we observe companies asking fellows to explore clean energy procurement options, dig through various state and federal incentive structures and effectively build the business case for investing in new, clean generation sources.

Today, clean energy is where energy efficiency was for companies a decade ago.

Building on the success of 10 years of fellowships, we are excited to announce that this summer over 100 new EDF Climate Corps fellows from top universities in the U.S. and China will help companies such as McDonald’s, Boston Scientific, JPMorgan Chase and Walmart meet their carbon and energy reduction goals. Fellows will scale energy efficiency, deploy clean energy technologies (1/3 of our class of over 100 fellows will work on clean energy solutions!), help companies set strategies to achieve science-based GHG goals, and even dig into carbon reductions in supply chains. They’ll also set themselves up for lasting careers in clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainability, alongside four million other Americans. We know that our network of over 1500 sustainability-focused professionals will help them along the way.

Corporate commitments for reducing carbon emissions are only getting stronger. Despite federal rollbacks in environmental protections, companies are continuing to navigate clean energy innovation, and we’re excited to see how the next 1o years of EDF Climate Corps will help drive this momentum.

Follow Liz on Twitter, @lizdelaneylobo

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How helping a multi-billion dollar company (aka Walmart) is like raising a child

When it comes to Walmart meeting its greenhouse gas goal, parenting and sustainability have more in common than you think.

Notes from the Nursery/Eco-Business Nexus

I’m proud to say that Walmart just announced that they’ve not only hit but surpassed a goal that was, at the time, considered nothing short of audacious: to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20 million metric tons (MMT) in just six years.

So why am I proud? Two reasons.

First, I’ve worked alongside them every step of the way. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been Walmart’s lead partner throughout this process, and as a Supply Chain specialist for EDF, I know first-hand the massive amount of research, measurement, innovation, collaboration and communication that has gone into bringing this goal across the finish line.

Second, I’m a brand new mother – and as I stare down into my 5-month-old daughter Helen’s eyes, there’s nothing I care more about than ensuring she grows up in a world that is on course to thrive—both economically and environmentally.  Walmart’s achievement gives me hope for both.Helen and Jenny

So, yes, I’m proud. Because while it may seem that my two unique perspectives—one from the nursery, one from inside the halls of the world’s largest retailer—are worlds apart, they actually have a lot in common. Read more

EDFix Call #15: Fuel choices for today’s lower-carbon companies

Mike Millikin

The fuel choice for a vehicle is a critical factor determining its greenhouse gas emissions. The potential of low-carbon fuels has driven a lot of attention to the space over the past several years. As more vehicles that can operate on alternative fuels become available, companies are exploring which ones make sense for their companies. Additionally, much effort is going into making the next generation of these fuels.

For the next call in the Environmental Defense Fund series exploring opportunities to cut greenhouse gas emissions from corporate fleets, we will survey the current and near-term landscape for fuels. Leading this discussion will be Mike Millikin, founder and editor of Green Car Congress (GCC), who was also our guest for Electrifying Corporate Fleets. From his perch at GCC, Mike observes the daily developments of this market.

The call is on June 28th at 12pm ET.  To join, call:

* Phone number: +1 (213) 289-0500
* Code: 267-6815

We look forward to having you join us in this conversation.

EDFix Call #10 Afterthoughts: Developing a Vision for Greener Fleets

EDFix Call #10 – Summary (11 min.)
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EDFix Call #10 – Full (52 min.)
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We hit the road April 12 with a series of open conference calls regarding a pressing matter in greening business – truck fleets and logistics in general. We had a fodder-filled discussion on the issue co-hosted by Jason Mathers, who leads Environmental Defense Fund’s work to promote greenhouse gas management in corporate fleets. We talked through two particular sectors of interest for fleets – light-to-medium-duty vehicles and heavy-duty on-road tractor trailer vehicles.

Already having conducted a considerable amount of work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from light-to-medium-duty fleets, our current challenge is to maintain the momentum EDF has created in this area while shifting our focus to heavy-duty fleets. On the lighter side of fleet vehicles we have found a number of opportunities to reduce greenhouse gases including right-sizing vehicles, but are faced with the challenge that these options do not work for the heavy-duty vehicles which are responsible for 80 percent of emissions from corporate owned-vehicles. Read more

New Online Calculator for Fleets Measures GHG Emissions

The crux of our work with corporate fleets is getting them to consider greenhouse gas emissions as one variable when making vehicle purchasing and use decisions. Relatively minor decisions, when multiplied over hundreds of vehicles traveling 20,000+ miles a year can add up to significant differences in emissions. Being able to understand what decisions impact emissions and to track emissions over time are important skills for the 21st century fleet manager.

Tracking emissions of hundreds to thousands of vehicles dispersed across the country is easier said than done. Medium-to-larger fleets that use a national fuel card typically have good information about the type and volume of fuel their vehicles are consuming. With this information, they can calculate the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from their vehicles. The data required to calculate emissions of the other greenhouse gases from vehicles – nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) {most commonly HFC 134a}- are a different story.

For N2O and CH4, fleet managers need to know the emissions control technology used and miles traveled for each unit. Unfortunately, mileage data is notoriously unreliable for fleets because relying on drivers to code in correct mileage information adds human error. Matching each unit with its specific emissions control technology, such as EPA Tier II or California LEV, is possible. But as they’ve never had a reason to track this before, most fleets don’t have this information readily available. As for HFC emissions from air conditioner leakage, most fleets have no way of tracking these emissions. Getting this information from a dispersed fleet is a data collection nightmare.

Fleets with good fuel data face their own version of the infamous 80-20 rule, except in their case it’s more of a 95-5 rule. Carbon dioxide accounts for about 95% of greenhouse gases from passenger vehicles (on a CO2E basis). With good fuel consumption data, it’s straightforward to calculate emissions. The other three gases account for about 5% of the emissions, but – as they are vastly more complex to track – it can take 95% of the effort to track them.

To help fleets overcome this paradox, we created a fleet GHG emissions calculator that estimates total fleet greenhouse gas emissions from fuel consumption data alone. The fuel data is directly used to calculate emissions of CO2. Emissions of N2O, CH4 and HFCs are estimated based on their prominence among greenhouse gas from transportation source as reported in the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006, Table 2-15.

We worked with NAFA Fleet Management Association to develop this calculator and unveiled it at the annual NAFA I&E held in New Orleans in April. Over the two days EDF had the calculator on display, we were visited by a few hundred fleet managers from a wide cross-cut of private and public fleets. An additional fifty fleet managers joined our seminar on measuring greenhouse gases. Based-on the conversations we had in New Orleans and since, it appears that the calculator is filling an important niche.

We encourage fleet managers that have good fuel data to use our tool. For the few fleets that have the more complete data needed to measure non-CO2 emissions, they might want to follow the more complex calculation protocol put forth by the EPA Climate Leaders program. At minimum, we encourage all fleets to start to create data collection systems

If you have thoughts on ways we can improve on the calculator, we’d love to hear them. The calculator can be found at: A technical background piece [pdf] is also online.