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Gwen Ruta
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Gwen Ruta directs Environmental Defense Fund’s Corporate Partnerships program. She spearheads its work with leading multinational companies to develop innovative, business-based solutions to environmental challenges and to drive change through the corporate value chain. Ranked #1 among environmental organizations for credible and effective partnerships by the Financial Times, Gwen’s group has kicked off transformations in market sectors from catalogs to shipping to retail to food service. Partner companies have included Wal-Mart; Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts; UPS; FedEx; DuPont; McDonalds; and Citigroup.

Prior to joining Environmental Defense Fund, Gwen was Vice President at Metcalf & Eddy, an international environmental engineering firm. She has also held senior management positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Gwen has authored numerous articles on environmental issues and is a frequent speaker at business conferences. She is a member of the Henderson Global Investors SRI Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, and the Advisory Board of the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan. She was recently named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Finance by Treasury and Risk magazine.

M.P.A., Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government

B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia

Blog Entries by Gwen Ruta

Harvard Business Students Debate KKR and Sustainability

0 Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 4:45 PM

Thirty-five years ago, Milton Friedman wrote a famous article for The New York Times Magazine whose title aptly summed up its main point: "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits." Never mind that most companies don't pay the full price for the pollution they create, or the...

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Why Solyndra and Beacon Power Aren't Fatal for Renewable Energy

0 Comments | Posted November 4, 2011 | 10:44 AM

Earlier this week, Beacon Power, a company that builds systems to stabilize solar and energy power, declared bankruptcy. The company's Massachusetts plant will continue to operate at full capacity, but its finances will be restructured. This is big news mostly because Beacon Power received $43 million...

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Power Company Trades Your Jobs And Our Health For Its Profits

0 Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 7:21 PM

Over a decade ago, EPA began developing new regulations to cut dangerous pollution from power plant smokestacks. These plants churn out most of the mercury, acid gas and arsenic pollution in our air, and the new rules will dramatically slash this pollution, saving up to 17,000 lives and preventing...

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Spreading Sustainability: From the Fortune 500 to the Next 5,000

0 Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 10:19 AM

Recently in Harvard Business Review, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer wrote about "The Big Idea" -- that companies must take the lead by "creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges." Driven by win-win success stories, by a vacuum...

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From Heresy to Dogma: How Uncommon Bedfellows Changed the Environmental Movement

0 Comments | Posted November 16, 2010 | 1:40 PM

Written by Gwen Ruta, VP of Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense Fund and Bob Langert, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility, McDonald's Corporation

Twenty years ago this month, corporate America experienced a paradigm shift. McDonald's announced that it would phase out its iconic Styrofoam clamshell containers, switching to...

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What Do iPhones, Coca-Cola and SunChips Have in Common?

0 Comments | Posted October 6, 2010 | 6:00 PM

The ruckus over Frito-Lay's recent decision to pull some of the compostable bags it uses for SunChips snacks is missing the point. The point is not whether compostable bags are too noisy -- that was the complaint that precipitated the bag redesign -- but whether they really are better for...

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How Did They Do That? Students Find $350 Million in Savings Over the Summer

0 Comments | Posted September 16, 2010 | 12:00 PM

Remember when a summer job meant scooping ice cream at the local Dairy Queen? Not anymore. This year, a crop of 51 bright young business students found $350 million worth of business savings over their summer break.

As members of Environmental Defense Fund's Climate Corps, these...

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Strained Bedfellows: Why Environmentalists Work with Big Corporations, Even BP

0 Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 4:03 PM

While federal leadership on climate change was AWOL for most of this decade, big business represented an opportunity to cut emissions and bring new technologies to the market now. One of those businesses was BP. My organization, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), worked with BP to test carbon-trading systems...

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