EDF Climate Corps descends upon the Net Impact Conference: 2020: Vision for a Sustainable Decade

Sitar Mody | November 10, 2010

Our vision for a sustainable decade is for companies across America to incorporate energy efficiency as standard operating procedure into all their business. Low-hanging fruit always grows back with new innovation on the horizon, and we hope to see sustainable business practices that acknowledge that fact.

Let's start with 2010. To continue the momentum of the energy efficiency movement, EDF Climate Corps attended the Net Impact Conference at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business at the end of October. We talked about the outstanding outcomes of the program since just 2008. The caliber of the MBA student attendees was very high and their interest in participating even higher. We also met with many engaged company representatives all excited to participate in the 2011 program.

Not only did we focus on engaging prospective fellows and companies, but we wanted to spend time with our alumni as well. On Thursday night in the sustainable farm-to-fork restaurant, the Grange, we hosted a dinner with alumni host companies to hear more about their summer experiences.


On Friday at the Net Impact Expo the EDF Climate Corps booth was inundated with interested first-year students. We collected over 150 business cards and email addresses. We even met some graduating students interested in our full-time Walmart Project Manager position in Bentonville, AR.

Later that evening we invited alumni fellows and prospective fellows to a reception and filled up the Bubble Lounge at Vinology with over 100 guests. Our alumni gave candid advice and information about their experiences over the last two summers. And, from what we overheard, our alumni had access to VIPs in their host companies and got a lot of on-the-ground experience that students in other internship programs didn't. As a bonus, Majora Carter, who gave a keynote speech on Saturday, and her husband James Chase joined us for the first part of the reception. We're inspired by what you do, Majora; keep up the great work! Check out Majora's TED Talk, Greening the Ghetto here.

Whew. Friday was a whirlwind!

We started Saturday off with a panel discussion with four alumni fellows from 2009 and 2010 – Dylan Hedrick, Julia Li, Ryan Mallett and Ryan Whisnant. Our alumni fellows shared details about their experiences challenging barriers to energy efficiency and making the business case for their recommendations with an audience of 75 prospective fellows. We can only imagine that the audience was as inspired as we were hearing from Dylan, Julia, Ryan and Ryan.

Interestingly, a recent survey of students from University of Michigan's Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise indicated that only nine of the 24 Erb students (38%) who reported receiving full-time job offers received them through internships. In the past two years, EDF Climate Corps has received feedback from students who declined our program that the lack of a guaranteed full-time offer was the reason they chose a different internship. The reality is that in the field of sustainability, non-traditional internships and networking remain the main avenues to landing your dream sustainability job.

Compare that to EDF Climate Corps – this past summer, 50% of our fellows had a conversation with their host companies about continuing on with the company and 31% of those folks did get an official offer. You can read more about where 2008 and 2009 fellows are now on our blog.

Rest assured, you will get the tangible and transferrable skills you need through EDF Climate Corps for a future career in corporate sustainability, energy, consulting and/or finance.

Our weekend in Ann Arbor was an overall success for EDF Climate Corps, and we can't wait until Net Impact 2011 in Portland!

Learn about becoming a fellow on our website and be sure to apply for EDF Climate Corps by January 11, 2011.