Consulting Engagements

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Our sustainability consulting project and practicum courses offer unparalleled proving ground for solving complex, real-world problems related to the ethical management of financial, social, environmental and informational resources.

All students in the year-long program complete three consulting engagements-two projects and a practicum-during the year-long program, applying learning from across the curriculum to help clients reduce costs, improve processes and enhance competitiveness. Students take on management challenges such as developing environmental profit and loss statements, calculating ecological footprint, creating revenue streams from waste, creating new product/service launch plans, analyzing global water scarcity risks, and reducing costs and footprint associated with greenhouse gases.

Clients include multi-national corporations, regional businesses, and not-for-profit organizations:

Alcoa (multiple engagements)

  • Developed recommendations for moving towards Integrated Bottom Line financial reporting
  • Forecasted business intelligence trends for environmental management reporting and provided a white space vision for applying new tools and technologies
  • Evaluated trends and opportunities for greening the consumer electronics' supply chain
  • Prepared life cycle analysis to compare costs and footprint of aluminum versus plastic for selected new product applications
  • Built value based pricing model to forecast revenue from new technology for wastewater reduction

Bayer MaterialScience (multiple engagements)

  • Incorporated environmental metrics in portfolio management processes to leverage growth from sustainability
  • Assessed perceptions of customers, suppliers and employees; recommended action to improve communication with stakeholders

FedEx Ground (multiple engagements)

  • Evaluate impact of alternative fuels and develop a strategy for cost-effectively for reducing footprint
  • Recommended a corporate structure and accountabilities for embedding sustainability in operations
  • Developed a strategy and priorities for installation of energy reducing equipment at FedEx Ground facilities across the United States

Heinz (multiple engagements)

  • Conducted a water scarcity risk assessment for global production facilities
  • Analyzed Scope 3 Green House Gas emissions from transportation and provided recommendations for ongoing tracking and reporting

Medrad (multiple engagements)

  • Designed a program for integrating environmental metrics into new product development processes throughout Medrad (recipient of 2010 Baldrige National Quality Award)
  • Developed specifications for the programmatic rollout of a packaging reduction initiative for Medrad and Bayer, their parent company

MSA

  • Developed an employee engagement program for enhancing revenue by applying best practices in sustainability for world leader in manufacture and marketing of safety equipment

PPG Industries (multiple engagements)

  • Evaluated opportunities, risk, regulation and trends for disclosing environmental impacts by sector and geography
  • Evaluated costs, risks and ROI of using environmental product declarations (EPDs) for domestic and international marketing

PWC

  • Developing a white space vision for client needs of the future.

UPMC (multiple engagements)

  • Developed a scorecard for managing sustainability initiatives at 450+ decentralized physician offices & outpatient facilities
  • Developed recommendations for moving towards Integrated Bottom Line financial reporting by identifying opportunities to quantify social and environmental assets and risks
  • Recommended content and developed an action plan for adding sustainability performance metrics and examples to web site and for preparing the first sustainability report
  • Evaluated performance indicators for sustainability in healthcare industry and recommend goals and monitoring processes for enhancing UPMC's image as a leading global healthcare enterprise

Wesco

  • Conducted distribution facility survey to develop plan for pursuing business-enhancing sustainability initiatives, including Energy Star certification and Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge recognition

Westinghouse Nuclear (multiple engagements)

  • Developed a strategic proposal and action plan for implementing profitable sustainability initiatives by functional area
  • Calculated carbon displacement benefit of installing nuclear steam supply systems and developed a communication strategy for employee training
  • Developed an action plan for zero waste initiatives at eight sites
  • Recommended policies and processes for greening supply chain by aligning purchasing processes with parent company (Toshiba)
  • Examined business case for sustainability metrics in strategic plan

CNX Corporation

  • Analyzed incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing insight for voluntary trading on the Chicago Climate Exchange

Duquesne Light Company

  • Analyze customer usage patterns to develop programs to lower energy consumption by segment

Eat 'n Park Restaurants

  • Measured baseline carbon output; created plan to reduce eco-footprint

eLoop

  • Developed a B2B marketing plan for a new business specializing in data security and responsible recycling and disposal of e-waste

EverPower

  • Created an evaluative model to forecast supply/demand/pricing dynamics by energy industry segment and identify factors that influence competitiveness for wind power

evive Water Station

  • Created a marketing launch plan for a social entrepreneur with an estimating tool for predicting environmental impact and return on investment for individual clients

evolveEA

  • Developed market analysis and communication plan for new sustainability practice

Giant Eagle

  • Analyzed consumer perceptions, financial impact, and environmental implications of paper versus plastic bags to change consumer behavior

Highmark (multiple projects)

  • Created sustainability dashboard for employee engagement
  • Developed model for predicting ROI from proposed green renovations

Maryland Refractories

  • Developed a feasibility analysis and marketing communication plan to launch a green building product made from recycled ceramic waste

Parkhurst Catering Division of Eat'n Park (multiple projects)

  • Develop recommendations, evaluation metrics and an implementation plan for piloting a first-in-class zero waste food catering initiative with Google in Pittsburgh
  • Identified profitable alternatives to selling bottled water on college campuses and designed a test market plan

PNC Bank (multiple engagements)

  • Developed plan to cost-effectively "green" purchasing practices
  • Identified and assessed risks for new on-line products and services

Therm-O-Rock Corporation

  • Converted clean waste to raw material, avoiding transportation and landfill costs and creating new revenue streams

Tower Financial Group

  • Provided dynamic model for ongoing use in evaluating carbon footprints of firm's buildings and operations at a macro level

Tsudis Chocolate Company

  • Prepare a change management plan to improve manufacturing operations

Allegheny Conference

  • Researched out-migration patterns of college educated members of the workforce and devised plan to attract/retain young professionals in the region

Allegheny County

  • Performed a comprehensive review of facilities to recommend sustainability operating metrics and a work order management strategic

Auberle

  • Centralized logistics (260,000 miles/year) for transporting at-risk youth and families to appointments with courts, doctors and social workers

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

  • Compared sustainability practices of world class museums; developed opportunity matrix for conserving energy and promoting eco-friendliness

City of Pittsburgh

  • Benchmarked emerging sustainability practices in city government and recommended strategic policy changes and initiatives

Green Building Alliance (multiple engagements)

  • Assessed economic impact and regional competiveness versus peer cities from Pittsburgh District 2030 Challenge to improve health and efficiency of downtown buildings
  • Conducted research with architects, construction firms and manufacturers to identify gaps in the green building supply chain
  • Developed surveys to investigate purchasing choices in construction

Idea Foundry

  • Evaluate potential markets and business models to launch a social enterprise

Pennsylvania Environmental Council (multi-phase project)

  • Prepared optimization model and business plan for cultivating renewable biomass energy on reclaimed mine land while reducing nutrient runoff in impaired watersheds

Pennsylvania Resource Council

  • Evaluated decentralized versus centralized composting models on social, environmental and financial dimensions and recommended an optimal infrastructure for Western Pennsylvania

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

  • Developed a marketing strategy and launch plan for a new sustainable landscape consulting practice
  • Established first-in-class sustainability metrics and reporting standards for conservatories and botanical garden facilities in conjunction with pursuit of Living Building Challenge

Pittsburgh Green Innovators

  • Developed a strategic business plan for The Energy Innovation Center (old Connelly School) to promote economic development through green workforce training

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

  • Identified opportunities to conserve energy, reduce costs, promote eco-friendliness and advance the zoo's international reputation

Sustainable Pittsburgh (multiple engagements)

  • Proposed a virtual trading zone initiative for knowledge sharing
  • Created guidelines and metrics for regional sustainability awards

Venture Outdoors

  • Develop a business model and marketing plan for a social enterprise

YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh

  • Forecasted costs/time/payback of seeking LEED for an existing building