Wakefern Food Corp. is continuing its commitment to sustainable business practices by working with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s “Climate Corps” program this summer on a workable energy efficiency plan.
Now in its fifth year, the nonprofit environmental advocacy group’s initiative teams specially trained MBA and MPA students with companies, cities and universities to build the business case for energy efficiency. During the summer, EDF Climate Corps fellows spend 10 to 12 weeks at organizations like Wakefern developing customized energy efficiency plans to reduce costs and carbon emissions. The program’s fellows are chosen for their experience with technical and financial analyses, project management skills and ability to bring about organizational change.
Under the 2012 program, Scott Brechmacher from Indiana University, Bloomington has joined Wakerfern’s engineering and environmental team to devise an energy plan. Brechmacher is one of the 98 fellows picked by Washington, D.C.-based EDF to complete a Climate Corps fellowship this summer. His overall goal is to audit 25 ShopRite stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and create a report offering cost-effective energy management strategies.
Over the course of the 10-week fellowship, Brechmacher will analyze Wakefern’s energy use, model the financial gains from energy efficiency upgrades, facilitate collaboration among various energy efficiency stakeholders, identify organizational barriers and map out a clear strategy for energy investments.
“Wakefern has a long history of innovation in its sustainability planning, and we continue to look for new ways to ‘green’ our business practices,” noted Joe Sheridan, president and COO of the Keasbey, N.J.-based retail cooperative, whose 47 members individually own and operate nearly 250 supermarkets under the ShopRite banner in six Northeastern states. “Participating with EDF in this innovative venture extends our commitment not only to the protection of our environment, but also to the health and well-being of our associates and customers.”
Since the program began, EDF Climate Corps fellows have identified energy-saving opportunities for organizations to cut enough energy usage to power almost 100,000 homes annually, avoid the annual carbon emissions of 200,000 cars, and save more than $1 billion in net operating costs. To date, companies report that projects representing 86 percent of the energy savings recommended by EDF Climate Corps fellows are complete or underway.