Tuesday, 20 October 2009

CSC’s Corporate Responsibility report

CSC CSC has just released its latest Corporate Responsibility (CR) report, but from a global warming perspective it raises as many questions as it answers.

Firstly, some highlights from the 16-page report – this is just the actions that are given in the two page environmental sustainability coverage:

- Major data centres in the UK and Australia have been awarded ISO 14001 certification and the remaining data centres around the globe are ‘on their way’. The company is working with The Green Grid on energy efficiency for data centres and information service delivery.

- CSC is committed to reducing overall facility energy usage by 30% compared with a 2008 cost baselines.  Note that this is energy, not emissions, it doesn’t say when the reduction will be achieved and there are no actual, verifiable figures supplied. 

- CSC UK is reducing carbon emissions by 20% over 3 years, against a baseline of 2007 and is anticipating a 10% percent reduction for 2009 and 2010, with 5% percent in each of the following years.  It’s not clear what time period we’re talking about here, but it is based on actual numbers.  CSC in the UK has identified its baseline footprint as 70,457 tons of CO2 per year, includes energy, waste and transport.  

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- CSC Australia’s target for 2010 is to reduce its per-person CO2-equivalent emissions by 25% from 2007 levels.

The company goes on to say that the following measures are being taken to reduce internal energy consumption:

• Power savers — reducing electricity consumption by 11%

• Mobile phone recycling facilities

• Document recycling bins — saving approximately 3,500 trees annually

• Third-party recycling/disposal of old IT assets — reducing landfill

CSC also says in the environmental coverage that it’s reviewing the impact of other business activities such as business travel, company-owned vehicles, indirect offsite combustion of fuels, e.g., procured resources, electricity, materials and employee commuting, upstream emissions caused by suppliers, downstream emissions created by an organization’s products or activities during their life cycle, IT servers for internal business operations, and electricity consumption at CSC offices.

There is more, such as the use of renewable energy and combined heat and power in the UK, but nothing at the corporate level.

 

What’s disappointing is that this coverage is so patchy and inconsistent to make it pretty much worthless.  The UK operation is getting its act together, but the corporation as a whole does not seem to be on song:

• There’s no corporate wide assessment of emissions or any reduction target or timescale.  It’s not as if the details are somewhere else, the company has not responded to the CDP’s request for information for the last four years.

• Targets are inconsistent, for example with the corporation talking about reducing energy use compared with 2008, the UK is looking at emissions compared with 2007 and Australia is working on a per person basis.

• The information that is given is unclear.  When does the corporation want to achieve the 30% energy reduction and when did the UK’s three year reduction programme start?

If this information is available then its not clear where.  the company’s Corporate Responsibility web pages don’t throw any more light.

Clearly CSC is making efforts to be more environmentally friendly, but, as I’ve said many times before, to have any credibility in helping reduce global warming companies need to be transparent in measuring and monitoring carbon emissions and setting clear reduction targets.  Transparency is the name of the game, as the CDP has established.

I’m surprised at this continual lack of information from CSC.  When I spoke to the company more than a year ago there was an expectation that it would have responded to the CDP by now.  I’m hoping to talk to the company later to get some feedback on my comments – I’ll let you know.

What I would say is that, based on the information provided, the company’s claim of ‘thought leadership’ in the CR report looks a little thin.

© The Green IT Review

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