Fletcher School’s Master in International Business Builds Green Cred

Fletcher School MIB student James Siegel helped home cleaning firm ServiceMaster reduce fuel usage

James Siegel, a student on the Fletcher School’s Master in International Business, spent this summer advising a major US home services firm on how to reduce its fuel usage thanks to a national environmental fellowship.

The Master in International Business is two-year program which brings together key elements of a traditional MBA with international and public affairs issues that impact business. James, who will graduate in 2012, is focusing on International Environment and Resource Policy and International Finance and Banking.

James, 32, is originally from the Washington DC area and before Fletcher he worked for D&R International, an energy efficiency consulting firm in Washington DC. “At D&R, I helped the U.S. government build partnerships in the private sector that improved the environment.

“Examples include helping implement a large component of the ENERGY STAR program, a government labelling program that helps consumers identify the most energy efficient products.”

This summer James was on the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) Climate Corps Fellowship. The EDF is a leading national non-profit organisation that creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. “EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships,” says its website.

The EDF Climate Corps Fellowship places specially-trained students in companies, cities and universities to build the business case for energy efficiency. EDF Climate Corps fellows analyse energy-saving opportunities and develop custom energy efficiency investment plans that cut costs and carbon emissions.

The Environmental Defence Fund visited the Fletcher campus last autumn to discuss student opportunities and James applied to be accepted the next spring. In total, 95 fellows, the majority of who were business school students, were placed in 78 companies, cities and universities.

James was placed in Memphis, Tennessee, working for The ServiceMaster Company which is a leading provider of home and business services focused on lawn care, pest control, and cleaning. ServiceMaster controls several high profile brands such as TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield and Merry Maids that operate at the national level in the U.S.

“I worked very closely with ServiceMaster’s Vice President of Environmental Stewardship to develop strategies to reduce fuel usage of ServiceMaster’s 14,000-vehicle fleet and also cut electricity consumption at its corporate facilities,” says James.

Last year an EDF Climate Corps Fellow had evaluated energy efficiency projects at ServiceMaster but James was still able to identify new opportunities. “I developed business cases to secure new hybrid vehicles and also electric-only vehicles: technologies that reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The hybrid vehicles improve fuel economy by up to 40% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30%.”

“On facilities, I evaluated projects with compelling savings and realistic implementation and was able to identify lighting upgrades at the corporate headquarters.”

Sustainability at ServiceMaster is top of the agenda: “it participated in EDF Climate Corps for its second consecutive year and it has also recently taken a few big steps on the energy and environmental front, such as rolling out its second CSR report in 2010, and tracking its carbon footprint,” adds James. This is a critical task given its large fleet and numerous branches.

James has spent most of his career developing market-based solutions to environmental challenges which he will continue after graduating. “The Climate Corps program has helped me understand some of the barriers to energy efficiency and how I can effectively present solutions that allow businesses to cut costs and also reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Climate Corps is also a very strong network that I will actively be involved with as my career progresses.” James plans to work in the finance department for a multinational that has a strong energy or environmental business.

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