The World Resources Institute (WRI) teamed up a  while back with nine corporations based in the northeastern U.S. to form Climate Northeast, a kind of proof-in-the-pudding demonstration that corporate policies to meliorate global warming don’t have to cost big — in fact, they can be profitable.  You can download the case studies (PDF) from their site.

“We are undertaking these projects because they make business sense,” said Randolph Price, vice president for environment, health and safety, Consolidated Edison Company of New York. “We hope our experiences will be useful for other businesses interested in getting started with greenhouse-gas management programs.”

Some examples, from the press release:

*    Citigroup invested $2.5 million to upgrade centralize its lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning at 270 retail branches in the New York City-Connecticut-New Jersey metropolitan area. With a half-million dollars in efficiency rebates, it was able to pay back this investment in a single year. Electricity and natural gas use were cut by 15 percent and the number of service calls to these branches was reduced by 30 percent.

*    Staples decreased its energy use by 12.3 percent since 2001. In 2003, Staples took the money it saved from this $6.5 million energy-efficiency gain and used it to buy renewable energy — and at no additional cost Staples was able to green 10 percent of its energy use.  

*    General Electric continues to diversify into renewable power technologies. In addition to its higher-efficiency appliances and turbines, the company has made major investments in solar power and wind power and is bringing world-class design and manufacturing skill to these smaller-scale technologies.