CSR & The Job Hunt: What 51 MBA Students Can Accomplish In One Summer
"Consider these numbers: $350 million in net operating savings over the projects' lifetimes. 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. More than 650 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year." -- Victoria Mills, EDF's Managing Director for Corporate Partnerships
These are the savings identified this year by the 51 MBA students who participated in Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) Climate Corps internship . "Finally, an internship program that gets sustainability" was my reaction back in May when I heard about the program that encourages companies to seek out sustainability efforts by focusing on energy efficiency solutions.
These are real numbers and carry a real ROI for companies' sustainability efforts. As Mills succinctly points out: "If MBA students can come up with results like these in a 10-week summer fellowship, what could happen if businesses all across the country got serious about energy efficiency."
Celebrating the fellows that allowed us to be a part of their summer internships this year, here are a few examples of what they accomplished with companies like PepsiCo, News Corp, eBay, RBS/Citizens Bank and Yahoo!:
Jonathan Stone, Stern School of Business, New York University: Identified savings of 942 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year
“Is this thing on?” – Yes it is. The entire building is...ON. And quite bright! This from Jonathan Stone's first post succinctly puts his experience with News Corporation this summer. Stone spent the summer at Dow Jones' Bronx Printing Plant where he worked to identify and implement energy efficiency projects that would decrease the company's carbon footprint and increase its bottom line. His main project in this regard was spearheading a $230,000 lighting retrofit that could improve the plant's lighting quality and worker productivity while simultaneously decreasing their energy costs and associated carbon footprint.
In total, Stone identified projects that could reduce annual energy costs by approximately $179,524, saving 899,903 kilowatt hours of energy per year and reducing 942 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Jay's Intern Diary:
Peter Petropoulos, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago: Identified savings of 1,200 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year
"Walking into PepsiCo for the first time and realizing that its LEED Gold certified headquarters is just up the street from my project was a bit intimidating for a student searching for environmental opportunities."
Peter Petropoulos spent his summer immersed in the LEED rating system at PepsiCo in its ‘business information solutions' headquarters in Plano, Texas. Petropoulos performed a gap analysis between the facility and LEED certification. Energy intensity, measured by the buildings Energy Star rating, was a critical hurdle to overcome during the analysis. This hurdle represented opportunity for PepsiCo to invest in energy efficiency and get a return on its LEED investment.
His projects can result in a total reduction in annual energy consumption by approximately 1.9 million kWh for PepsiCo, reducing operating costs by $195,000, and avoiding 1,200 metric tons in CO2 emissions. These investments have a net present value of $1.2 million of their respective lifetimes.
Peter's Intern Diary:
Megan Rast, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley: Identified savings of 4,857 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year
"When it comes to computers, a higher-performing machine uses more energy. For example, while it is true that a laptop consumes less energy than a desktop during the use stage of its lifecycle, the performance capability of a laptop may be insufficient for certain IT environments, particularly those that run 24/7 and are heavily used for multimedia and programming."
As an EDF Climate Corps fellow with eBay, Megan Rast took the challenge to make the business case for energy efficiency and carbon reduction initiatives this summer. Rast worked out of eBay's headquarters in San Jose providing valuable expertise as a sustainability expert, calculating energy and cost savings of seven energy efficiency projects for computer power management and lighting, as well as engaging external and internal stakeholders on renewable energy opportunities.
The recommended energy efficiency projects when fully implemented, could result in 6,996,549kWh of annual electricity savings, more than $1.5 million NPV of cost savings, and 4,857 metric tons of CO2 emissions reductions, and have an average simple payback period of 1.16 years.
Megan's Intern Diary:
Jim Wilson, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University: Identified savings of 17,145 metric tons of CO2 emissions
"What do you get as a gift for the person who has everything? Though most of us won't have to face this dilemma until the holidays, I find that being an EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Yahoo similarly stretches my creative limits because I'm being asked to uncover energy efficiency opportunities at an already very green company."
Jim Wilson spent his summer at Yahoo! Inc. evaluating its current power consumption metrics for both domestic and international data centers to determine the company's current carbon footprint as well as scouting prospective future sites.
Wilson also worked on a project studying the Japanese Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) air conditioning model, investigating whether certain components at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters could be retro-fitted with this technology.
Since these systems are designed to be installed using tiny piping that requires little additional drilling, Wilson’s plan could reduce HVAC Load in Yahoo's Headquarters by 10% – which could cut Yahoo’s electric bills by almost $400,000.
Jim's Intern Diary:
Stuart DeCew, Yale School of Management and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University: Identified savings of more than 2,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year
"Simply put, better data on an investment means a stronger case. With these numbers, RBS/Citizens will have the necessary information to determine exactly how future capital expenditures could reduce the operating expenses of a building and give the company a competitive advantage."
This from Stuart DeCew's first couple of weeks at RBS Citizens Financial Group. DeCew spent this summer at the bank's headquarters identifying a number of opportunities to reduce operating costs and energy consumption throughout the company's portfolio of properties. Throughout the summer, DeCew focused his attention on identifying and analyzing a variety of energy efficiency projects at seven facilities that account for almost 20% of the company's total energy use in the US.
With the support and guidance of RBS Citizens employees at these seven facilities, DeCew developed a comprehensive business case for significant financial investments in a number of energy efficiency initiatives. These initiatives have the potential to save the bank over $620,000 in annual energy and operating costs, reduce energy consumption by over 4,670,000 kWh and eliminate an estimated 2,338 metric tons of CO2 – the equivalent of removing almost 390 SUVs from the road.
His other projects could save an estimated $75,000 annually in energy costs, almost 550,000 kWh of energy use and eliminate 220 metric tons of CO2.
Stuart's Intern Diary:
And finally, a chance to put some faces to these incredible Fellows: Faces of Climate Corp 2010 video.