EDF's Work in China

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EDF has been working in China for over 25 years to help the country curb the upward trajectory of its greenhouse gas emissions as well as improve air quality and public health, while lifting millions of people out of poverty.

To this end, in collaboration with the Chinese government, industries, academic institutes, and individuals, our work focuses on three major initiatives: establishing an effective national carbon market that includes a rigorous cap on carbon emissions, accelerating cleaner energy alternatives to coal and slowing the growth of energy demand by greening the supply chain and promoting demand-side management.

What is EDF Climate Corps?

Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps is an innovative fellowship program that embeds trained graduate students in organizations to help meet their energy goals by accelerating clean energy projects in their facilities. In just one summer, fellows will get clean energy projects on the fast track to accomplishment – improving the organization’s bottom line and environmental impact at the same time. By working with over 400 organizations in the public and private sector, EDF Climate Corps has uncovered nearly $1.5 billion in energy savings opportunities.

Hiring an EDF Climate Corps fellow is a proven, low-risk way to advance your organization’s energy management program. Our EDF Climate Corps fellows provide immediate, hands-on help for your organization to cut costs and emissions by managing energy strategically.

Expanding EDF Climate Corps to China

China must transform its resource-intensive, manufacturing-based economy into a leaner and greener growth model driven by efficiency gains, technological innovation and clean energy. To help Chinese industries build capacity and identify energy saving opportunities, we launched EDF Climate Corps in China in 2014.

Since piloting and localizing the EDF Climate Corps program in China three years ago — with 22 China fellows embedded in 13 multinational companies’ operations throughout the country — we have seen growing success. The fellows’ work, from investigating the feasibility of renewable energy for local plants to analyzing sophisticated energy-saving solutions in manufacturing facilities, has helped “host” companies reduce their energy costs, optimize energy use in the production process and better manage the environmental impacts of their supply chains. EDF Climate Corps is a powerful tool to help China meet its national energy intensity targets and support EDF’s multi-pronged efforts to reduce the nation’s climate pollution.

Program History

2014: EDF piloted the Climate Corps China Fellowship program, placing six Chinese fellows from top U.S. graduate schools to work with Apple, Walmart, Cummins, Legrand and McDonald’s in China. Tens of millions of dollars in potential savings from energy efficiency improvements were identified.

2015: EDF expanded the program, sending seven EDF Climate Corps fellows to work in China at six companies, including adidas Group, Baxter and New Balance. Projects ranged from investigating the feasibility of renewable energy for local plants to analyzing sophisticated energy-saving solutions in manufacturing settings.

2016: Nine China fellows were embedded in eight multinational companies in China, including Walmart, IKEA and Coca-Cola. Project topics ranged from energy efficiency to carbon footprints, and from implementation scale-up to removal of coal in supply chain energy portfolio.

Explore more projects our fellows in China have tackled


In 2016, nine China fellows helped eight multinational corporations, including Walmart, New Balance and Coca-Cola, identified a total value of $20.7 million in energy saving opportunities, equivalent to saving nearly 28 million kWh and avoiding 22, 000 metric tons of CO2 emission.