At a Glance


Health Care

Project Type

Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy




Wilmington, NC


Emma Johnston helped PPD benchmark its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.


In the summer of 2015, EDF Climate Corps fellow Emma Johnston was enlisted to help PPD begin the process of energy benchmarking to understand PPD’s greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and associated costs. PPD recognized that it is the responsibility of a global corporation to understand its own impact, and tapped EDF Climate Corps to help lend the hands-on help needed to accomplish this.


The biggest challenge for PPD, as with most companies, was determining an organizational boundary within which to develop a sustainability strategy. The fellow’s first responsibility was to identify where PPD could have the most impact environmentally. Johnston found that since PPD was involved mainly in research and development, its largest Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions came from its commercial facilities as well as from travel miles.

Knowing this, Johnson then moved onto the second phase of her engagement, developing an energy use and greenhouse gas benchmark. Aggregating widely dispersed data required persistence and a detailed knowledge of the personnel with the information. Once key personnel were identified, the fellow was then able to gather and analyze the most relevant data and succeed in benchmarking PPD's impact.

Potential Impact

Because of this benchmarking project, PPD was able to pinpoint that its best chance at reducing its carbon footprint could be through adopting an energy management system to track its energy use. PPD also recognized the huge potential to reduce both energy use and carbon dioxide emissions by targeting its lab sites for energy efficiency measures. PPD has a tremendous opportunity to become a regional leader in the energy efficiency and sustainability space, and Johnston is excited that her work on this initial benchmarking exercise has enabled the company to see the ways it impacts the environment and could influence how it moves forward to decrease this impact.

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