One recent success story of green initiatives in the world of big business comes from private equity firm KKR: the company’s Green Portfolio Program is helping to improve the environment by drastically decreasing the carbon emissions of its companies, while also increasing the amount of materials it recycles. While large businesses have had green initiatives in the past, this might be a watershed moment for big business to get on board with green initiatives in a big way.

KKR created its Green Portfolio Program in 2008 with the partnership of the Environmental Defense Fund. Since 2008, KKR has saved $1.2 billion in avoided costs and added revenue, reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.3 million tons and much more.

KKR recently released its 2013 report on the Green Portfolio Program and the results are impressive. In 2013, KKR’s 25 Green Portfolio Companies are collectively responsible for reducing their carbon footprints by an astounding 2.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. These Green Portfolio Companies also avoided wasting 27 million cubic meters of water and 6.3 millions tons of waste, while recycling 1.6 million tons of that waste. These numbers have doubled since KKR’s last report was released in December of 2012.

“This is an important milestone for the Green Portfolio Program,” said Henry Kravis, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of KKR. “Seeing such a significant financial impact as an outcome of improving environmental factors is a win for KKR, our companies, our investors, and the communities where we all work and live.”

Ken Mehlman, a political analyst who heads KKR’s Environmental Social Governance, has played a large role in developing the partnership with EDP and in creating the Green Portfolio Program. He explains, “It’s now part of how we think about companies, whether we should invest in them,” of how KKR’s commitment to environmentally conscious business practices is becoming a major piece of criteria when it comes to investing in other companies. Mehlman continues, “it’s part of what we think about when we go into the companies – how do we make them better, including how do we cut costs and improve their environmental performance?”

Hopefully the Green Portfolio Program is the first of many green portfolio initiatives within the world of big business.