Finding Gold in the Value Chain

By: Victoria Mills, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of EDF Cli­mate Corps

chinafellowblogphotoEnergy efficiency is a goldmine, but not everyone has the time or resources to dig. That’s why for the past seven years, over three hundred organizations have turned to EDF Climate Corps for hands-on help to cut costs and carbon pollution through better energy management. And every year, the program delivers results: this year’s class of fellows found $130 million in potential energy savings across 102 organizations.

But this year we also saw something new. In addition to mining efficiencies in companies’ internal operations, the fellows were sent farther afield – to suppliers’ factories, distribution systems, and franchisee networks. What they discovered demonstrated there is plenty of gold to be found across entire value chains, if companies take the time to mine it.

Here are three places where EDF Climate Corps fellows struck gold:

  1. China. Five multinational companies – AppleWalmartMcDonald’sCummins, and Legrand – enlisted EDF Climate Corps to uncover efficiencies in their Chinese operations, with some focusing on suppliers’ factories. The fellows’ analysis highlighted how best practices in energy management could be scaled across hundreds of suppliers, saving tens of millions of dollars.
  2. Distribution systems. When moving goods, costs and carbon are highly correlated metrics: improve one and you will improve the other. The fellow at Ocean Spray Cranberries identified a ten percent reduction in transportation emissions by shifting a portion of the company’s shipments from trucks to rail.
  3. Franchise networks. Dunkin’ Brands brought on two fellows to reduce carbon emissions associated with franchise operations. One of them developed a green construction program for new restaurants; the other set emissions reduction targets for franchisee-owned baking facilities.[Tweet “Looking beyond the fence line for energy savings is critical to achieve cost savings & emission reductions “]

Looking beyond the fence line for energy savings is critical to achieve cost savings and emission reductions at scale. It’s also evidence of an evolution in corporate social responsibility, from compliance to eco-efficiency to value chain optimization. Ultimately, where this continuum leads is to constructive engagement in public policy, as businesses help to shape the incentives and regulations needed to protect public health and the economy from the worst impacts of climate change.

The companies in EDF Climate Corps are at the forefront of this evolution. We look forward to continuing to help them dig for gold throughout their value chains, and reap the rewards in profits, innovation, and a healthier planet.

Interested in how an EDF Climate Corps fellow could provide hands-on help at your organization? 

This post originally appeared on our Climate Corps blog.

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