After working a few years in sports marketing, Anne Marie Pippin knew in 2007 that she wanted to come back to UGA for a law degree. She also knew that she was very interested in real estate and that the Terry College had a top 5 program in the field, which led her to switch to the JD/MBA joint-enrollment program in 2009. And the former Honors Program student had always known that environmental causes were a passion of hers, even if they hadn’t materialized as a career pursuit to that point.
What Pippin didn’t know at the time was that all those things she knew about herself would conspire to bring her passions, interests and education together for the perfect summer internship with Bank of America – made possible through the Environmental Defense Funds’ Climate Corps fellows program.
“I feel really lucky to have gotten in on this, because I didn’t even know about it at first,” Pippin says. In early 2010, she had already interviewed for an internship with Bank of America’s corporate real estate group and accepted a position when her recruiter came back to her to ask if she’d be interested in the Climate Corps program. The bank, which has the second largest corporate real estate portfolio in the United States, had just signed on as a project partner in EDF’s energy savings internship program.
EDF works with Net Impact to recruit fellows for the Climate Corps program, now in its third year. The Climate Corps initiative has succeeded in traveling such a fast track to corporate acceptance by making a powerful appeal to the triple bottom line of corporate social responsibility (“people, planet, profit”).
EDF estimates the 2010 class of Climate Corps fellows uncovered energy efficiency improvements that have the potential to recoup net operating savings of more than $350 million for the participating companies and over 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. And it all represents the handiwork of just 51 MBA interns over the span of one summer break.
“Not too shabby,” Pippin notes proudly.
“I’m just amazed that this program is so well organized and has done so much since 2008,” she says. Pippin, who’ll graduate in 2011, spent three days training with other Climate Corps fellows before relocating to Bank of America’s headquarters in Charlotte for the summer.
“It speaks volumes that so many companies are showing interest in energy efficiency and emissions reductions,” she says. “It’s not just about compliance anymore. It’s about sustainability, about saving the company money, and the triple bottom line.”
The overarching goal of Pippin’s assignment with Bank of America’s Environmental Risk and Sustainability team was to identify greener, more efficient ways for the bank to approach the properties within its corporate real estate portfolio that need remediation.
“While remediation itself is inherently green, the process of cleaning up contaminated sites can be resource intensive and leave a significant ‘environmental footprint’ of its own,” she says. “I was asked to evaluate various innovations in treatment technologies, waste disposal, energy generation and cleaner burning transportation fuels for use at sites needing remediation.”
As a leave-behind, Pippin also created a toolkit that can help identify opportunities for green remediation at other sites.
“When I presented my financial analysis and recommendations to corporate leadership, I was energized by how my short time there added value to the bank’s operational decision-making moving forward,” Pippin says. “Bank of America is a wonderful company, and working for the Climate Corps was a great experience for me.”
Read more about Climate Corps and Pippin’s experience at Bank of America on the EDF Innovation Exchange blog (posted Sept. 29, 2010).