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. View more information about this series here.

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.

New reports show how hot North Carolina’s solar-power industry has gotten

The Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina

This report by the Duke GVC Center for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) describes a solar “value chain” of investors, solar developers, construction contractors and solar panel and component manufacturers comprising more than 450 companies. Together, these companies support some 4,300 jobs and represent a $2 billion investment. In addition to jobs, solar industry-related businesses provide income for landowners and tax revenue for N.C. towns, the report states.

Report: N.C. a shining light for solar industry

North Carolina, which had almost no large-scale solar energy seven years ago, now ranks first in the Southeast and fourth in the nation in solar energy capacity, according to a new report from Duke University.

N.C. ranks No. 1 in South for solar energy capacity

North Carolina, which had almost no large-scale solar energy seven years ago, now ranks first in the Southeast and fourth in the nation in solar energy capacity, according to a new report from Duke University.

North Carolina’s Future Looks Bright With Solar Energy

“North Carolina is in an enviable position when it comes to solar power development,” said the report’s lead author, Lukas Brun, senior research analyst at Duke’s Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC). “From being virtually non-existent in 2008, it is today the South’s leader in solar power. The result has been a growth in companies and employment in the industry, providing wide-spread benefits to the state.”

N.C. leads South in solar energy capacity, study finds

North Carolina, which had almost no large-scale solar energy seven years ago, now ranks first in the Southeast and fourth in the nation in solar energy capacity, says a new report from Duke University.

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 by Duke CGGC 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.

Geosynthetics Industry Poised to Grow as Gulf Coast Restoration Ramps Up

RESTORE Act creates jobs along ailing Gulf Coast

Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), released a study last week on the job opportunities in wetlands restoration. The study, commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation and conducted by Mather Economics, found that the potential positive impact of RESTORE Act funding would be substantial. The RESTORE Act is an amendment attached the transportation bill currently being discussed in conference committees between the U.S. House and Senate. The Act would create a trust for Clean Air and Water Act fines levied against BP and others for the damage to the environment caused by the 2010 BP oil disaster.