Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

The unifying theme of the Duke GVC Center’s work with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been to use the value chain framework to study environmental issues; specifically to identify technologies that can minimize environmental impacts in diverse industries while also creating opportunities to generate U.S. employment. As part of this analysis, we seek to understand the roles of all the players in the value chain and to find leverage points where companies can be leaders in implementing environmental best practices.

The Duke GVC Center’s relationship with EDF started with a series of four reports under EDF’s Corporate Partnerships Program (2008-2009). These reports analyze the structure and dynamics of four industries (beef and dairy, hog farming, California crops, and real estate) with the objective of identifying lead firms in each chain that could serve as leverage points for adopting environmental best practices. Two more reports within the Corporate Partnership Program on “China Hotspots” (2010) analyzed the development, diffusion, and adoption of two clean technologies in the United States (high-efficiency motors and industrial powder coatings), to identify the actors and factors needed to facilitate their adoption in other countries, particularly China. The reports describe the major advances for each technology, how the industry is organized, and the role of regulations and industry associations in promoting each technology.

In the Manufacturing Climate Solutions (2008-2009) series, value chain analysis is used to shed light on U.S. “green job” opportunities linked to carbon-reducing technologies in 12 industries. Each of the 12 reports look at the linkages between low-carbon technologies and U.S. job creation, including labor and skill requirements. The initial report (Chapters 1-5) was released in November 2008 and looked at five technologies. In 2009, an additional seven reports were produced (Chapters 6-12) on technologies ranging from electric heat pump water heaters to public transit buses.

In the Gulf Coast Restoration (2011-2012) report series,  the Duke GVC Center produced three reports on behalf of EDF that analyzed the value chain of firms capable of restoring coastal wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta, an area under threat from human-induced damage and natural disasters. The reports address the question, “If restoration were to occur on the scale needed, what kinds of jobs would be created, and where?”

In 2010-2011, the Center produced four reports and two firm case studies for EDF. The four reports were on lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, the shrimp fishery industry in Sinaloa, Mexico, the U.S. smart grid, and opportunities to enhance industrial energy efficiency. The Duke GVC Center’s  most recent project with EDF (2015) focused on identifying actors and opportunities for the solar energy value chain in North Carolina.

The Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina

Geosynthetics: Coastal Management Applications in the Gulf of Mexico

Coastal management projects to restore the Gulf Coast nearly all use geosynthetics-polymer-based materials that can improve structure performance, reduce project time and cost, and lessen environmental impact. This study for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) analyzes 84 firms linked to geosynthetics and coastal management, providing jobs in the five Gulf Coast states and 31 others.

View EDF’s press release from July 26, 2012 regarding the report.

Restoring Gulf Oyster Reefs: Opportunities for Innovation

Several natural and man-made stressors are destroying Gulf Coast oyster reefs, jeopardizing a resource that protects the shore, filters water, and increases marine fisheries production. Restoring oyster reefs will maintain these valuable ecosystem services, and support a network of 132 innovative small and medium sized businesses across 22 states. View EDF page on Restoring the Mississippi River Delta.

Smart Grid and the North Carolina Business Community

Presentation for the NC Smart Grid Technical Forum, Charlotte, May 1-2.

Restoring the Gulf Coast: New Markets for Established Firms

Natural and human activities have damaged the Gulf Coast, threatening a valuable ecosystem vital to several billion-dollar industries such as seafood and tourism. Restoring the Gulf Coast can protect these assets while creating much-needed U.S. jobs, by engaging at least 140 firms across nearly 400 locations. View EDF page on Restoring the Mississippi River Delta.

U.S. Smart Grid: Finding New Ways to Cut Carbon and Create Jobs

Turning the electric power system into an “energy internet” can reduce CO2 emissions, stimulate technology innovation, expand the use of renewable energy, and create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.

The Multiple Pathways to Industrial Energy Efficiency: A Systems and Value Chain Approach

In most companies, significant opportunities exist to improve energy efficiency, and many of them pay for themselves. However, organizational and financial barriers often prevent companies from capturing these savings. Closing this “efficiency gap” can have a big payoff for companies and society as a whole. To understand these barriers and identify strategies to overcome them, the report examines why and how product manufacturers adopt energy-efficiency improvements in their internal operations and supply chains. This report was sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Energy Program.

Manufacturing Jobs in Clean Energy Value Chains

The 2011 conference was dedicated to transforming our ideas into action and building a revitalized, green economy that creates good jobs, reduces global warming and preserves America’s economic and environmental security. Marcy Lowe gave a presentation.

Case Study: A123 Systems Local Markets and Competitiveness, A Value Chain Analysis

After years of manufacturing in China, advanced battery maker A123 Systems is also aggressively adding jobs in the United States, responding to federal incentives and a promising U.S. market for electric vehicle batteries. This case study was prepared for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).