Applied Research

EDGE drives new insights by pursuing innovative research projects, in collaboration with business leaders, policymakers, and public organizations. These projects are structured partnerships that bring the vast expertise of Duke faculty and researchers to bear on real-world challenges facing companies.

Example Projects


Duke-EDF Climate Corps Conf Report 2Capturing The Energy Efficiency Opportunity: Lessons from the EDF Climate Corps
Partners: Environmental Defense Fund, Ingersoll Rand, Eaton

In its first three years, more than 80 MBA fellows worked in dozens of leading companies through Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program. The fellows identified opportunities for energy efficiency that saved money and reduced greenhouse emissions for the partner companies. The insights generated through the Climate Corps experience provide a rich learning opportunity for all companies and organizations looking to unlock the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency. To capture and re-apply these powerful insights, Duke University and EDF hosted an interactive workshop, facilitated by Duke University faculty and staff with Climate Corps alumni and their host companies, to distill lessons learned from three years of work in the field.

Duke faculty/research leads: Kira Fabrizio, Dan Vermeer, Lukas Brun

Read more > Summary Report  


BofA workshop report coverCompeting in the Low Carbon Economy: Strategies for Energy-Intensive Firms and Their Investors
Partner: Bank of America

Despite policy uncertainties, the quest to create a low-carbon economy continues to evolve rapidly, both in the U.S. and globally. As competitors emerge in developing economies and new pressures emerge on fuel prices, achieving enduring profitability will likely require new strategies for firms and their investors-particularly those in the fossil energy, natural resources, manufacturing, and transportation sectors. What are the new factors that affect competition in the low carbon economy? Where are pressures emerging, including new costs and new competitors? What new types of analyses can better inform investment? Duke University, in partnership with Bank of America, conducted a series of corporate engagements and supporting research to investigate these questions and discover winning strategies.

Duke faculty/research leads: Dan Vermeer, Nicole St. Clair Knobloch, Gary Gereffi, Lukas Brun, Tim Profeta

Read more > Workshop Report


un_global_compactUnited Nations Global Compact Environmental Stewardship Strategy
Partner: United Nations Global Compact

Environmental issues related to climate change, water scarcity, or other resource and ecological challenges are growing in scale and complexity. In order to assist companies in preparing for this increasingly challenging landscape, the UN Global Compact Office and Duke University worked together with over 20 leading international companies to develop a next-generation Environmental Stewardship Strategy and related support resources (including a website and CD-ROM). This Environmental Stewardship Strategy is designed to help companies promote a more strategic approach to environmental issues, and raise the awareness and urgency of these challenges with their senior leaders and corporate Boards

Duke faculty/research leads: Deborah Rigling Gallagher, Dan Vermeer

Read more > Project website


Report - Sustainability Consortium"Defining Green: Understanding Certification and Ecolabel Success in the Field and in the Market"
Partner: The Sustainability Consortium

In partnership with the Sustainability Consortium, a consortium of academic institutions and leading retail and manufacturing companies from around the world, Duke University researched trends in ecolabels and certification practices, investigating the strengths and weaknesses of eco-label and certification systems and how these systems might be better harmonized, as well as the corporate evaluation and use of these systems and the role of government action and policy in supporting ecolabel and certification efforts.

Duke faculty/research leads: Dan Vermeer, Bob Clemen, Lincoln Pratson, Gary Gereffi

Read more > Conference: "Informing Green Markets: The Roles of Industry, NGOs and Government"