American Red Cross

At a Glance



Project Types

Financial Evaluation and Planning, Zero Emission Vehicles, Freight and Logistics, Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy




Fairfax, VA


Adam Despang calculated the American Red Cross fleet emissions baseline and analyzed current energy management practices to address internal barriers and recommend best practices.


The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization, engaged Adam Despang as its second EDF Climate Corps Fellow to recommend an energy management strategy, identify opportunities to reduce emissions and calculate a baseline emissions inventory of the fleet.


Despang interviewed key American Red Cross staff to understand current energy management practices and locate needed data. To increase effectiveness, he recommended that current energy reduction efforts be formalized and centralized. 

After understanding Red Cross processes and structures, Despang also identified opportunities to empower teams with energy efficiency expertise. Despang recommended financing mechanisms to support continuous improvement and defray additional spending on energy efficiency. 

To formalize its commitment to energy efficiency and emissions reductions, he recommended that the Red Cross develop and announce an energy policy and set a science-based emissions reduction target.

Lastly, Despang recommended that the organization hire a sustainability coordinator and provided a framework to augment Red Cross Climate Working Group with a green team, augmented by volunteer “sustainability ambassadors.”


Despang’s research provides the American Red Cross with a better understanding of its climate impacts, which will help it address growing awareness and concern for climate change among volunteers, staff and donors.

The Red Cross now has a baseline inventory that will act as a starting point for strategies and target setting. The fellow’s recommendations would help support the Red Cross mission to alleviate human suffering by limiting contributions to climate change through a virtuous cycle of energy management.

Related Links