Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is honored to be ranked by GreenBiz as one of the three trusted leaders among environmental nonprofits, along with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – truly excellent company.
In its inaugural NGO Report, GreenBiz asked hundreds of sustainability executives from large corporations to rate and rank 30 leading NGOs in terms of influence, credibility and effectiveness. GreenBiz charted the responses and grouped the NGOs in four categories:
- Trusted Partners – Corporate-friendly, highly credible, long-term partners with easy-to-find public success stories
- Useful Resources – Highly credible organizations known for creating helpful frameworks and services for corporate partners
- Brand Challenged – Credible, but not influential, organizations
- The Uninvited – Less broadly known groups, or those viewed more as critics than partners
GreenBiz’s survey participants ranked climate change the number one corporate priority for environmental NGO engagement. This is music to our ears, as EDF has been dedicated to working with business to mitigate climate change for over two decades.
We believe the results of our partnerships speak for themselves, and are the reason for today's ranking. EDF has a 25-year track record of working with major companies – AT&T, Citigroup, FedEx, KKR & Co., McDonalds, Walmart and others – to demonstrate that good environmental strategy is good business strategy. Over the years we've learned to design our partnerships for success, implement for results and communicate for impact.
EDF's goal is to work with companies to transform markets. That is why we work closely with business leaders and hold them accountable to ambitious goals while also celebrating their environmental gains to show other companies how to follow in step.
- Pioneering the partnership approach. Take our first corporate partnership with McDonald's in 1990, which resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the restaurant chain's waste and 300 million pounds of avoided packaging in the following decade. We worked with McDonald’s to trade foam clamshell boxes for more sustainable paper containers, which catalyzed an industry shift away from foam to recycled paper packaging.
- Developing the next generation delivery truck. Our project with FedEx to develop the first "street-ready" hybrid truck planted the seeds for hundreds of corporate fleets to adopt hybrid delivery trucks, from UPS to Coca-Cola to the US Postal Service.
- Leveraging the power of private equity. Our Green Returns program challenged private equity firms like KKR & Co., The Carlyle Group and Oak Hill Capital to improve the financial and environmental performance of the companies they own – to the tune of nearly $1 billion in financial benefit and 1.8 million metric tons of avoided greenhouse gas pollution, as of 2013. The result is a green race to the top with leading private equity firms hiring sustainability staff and building robust environmental, social and governance programs.
- Greening the global supply chain. Our partnership with Walmart has resulted in commitments to achieve zero waste, cut 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses from its supply chain and eliminate toxic chemicals from the products on the shelves of the world’s largest retailer.
- Inspiring the next generation of leaders. EDF Climate Corps started 6 years ago with a brainstorm that smart young professionals, armed with the right training and a laser focus on efficiency, could find huge opportunities to cut costs and emissions. To date the program has identified opportunities to avoid more than 1 million metric tons of carbon pollution, worth nearly $1.3 billion in energy savings for over 250 participating organizations. Just a few weeks ago, a 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow was the only environmental “hero” to join First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2014 State of the Union address. And in April, three EDF Climate Corps fellows will be featured in the upcoming Showtime documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously.
Where do we go from here? The work has just begun. EDF – along with colleagues in the environmental space like GreenBiz, WWF and TNC – have made tremendous strides in corporate sustainability strategy and operations over the past 20 years. But more aggressive private sector leadership is needed to fully protect our natural resources, clean up our energy system and turn the corner on greenhouse gas pollution in time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Meeting these challenges will require a fundamental shift in the role business plays in society. Fortunately several converging trends signal that this change is both needed and possible, including significant constraints on traditional government services, growing demand for shared value creation, increasing value chain and systems thinking, and a new generation of leaders with different expectations for business.
EDF stands ready to work with visionary leaders and companies to take our partnerships to the next level and lead the way to a new type of 21st century business leadership.