A number of ICT companies have been in the news in the last couple of weeks, with announcements ranging from new product strategies to converting to electric vehicle fleets. Among the highlights were the following:
• In its 2009 CSR report HP says that it decreased total energy use by 9% compared with 2008 (including former EDS sites). This was attributed to a decrease of 9% in square footage, due to the EDS integration, various energy reduction
initiatives, an increase in renewable energy purchases from 2.5% to 3.6% of total electricity and the purchases of large hydroelectric energy contracts in Europe.
Following integration of EDS the company has now set a new goal to reduce GHG emissions from HP facilities worldwide to 20% below 2005 levels by 2013.
The company also reported that it had ‘worked with’ Greenpeace International to share the details of how it planned to phase out PVC/BFRs from PC products. This is presumably because Greenpeace took direct action against HP in the US because of what it saw as the company's continuing contribution to toxic electronic waste.
• Sony has updated it’s environmental targets, aiming at a ‘mid-term’ horizon of 2015. The company’s long-term plan is to have a zero environmental footprint by 2050. The new 2015 targets include:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute value of 30% from the fiscal 2000 level
- Achieving an absolute reduction in waste from sites of 50% from the fiscal 2000 level
- Increasing the waste recycling rate Group-wide to more than 99%
- Achieving an absolute reduction in the total volume of water used of 30% from the fiscal 2000 level
- Reducing CO2 emissions from logistics by 14% from the fiscal 2008 level
- Reducing waste from packaging for incoming parts by 16% from the fiscal 2008 level
- Reducing annual per-product energy consumption by 30% from the fiscal 2008 level
• IBM is starting a new sustainability push among its suppliers. Until now supplier sustainability standards have sometimes been ad hoc, but the company is now asking every supplier around the world to define a management system around three areas: energy conservation, greenhouse gas emissions and waste management/recycling.
Suppliers will need to create a system, set goals, measure their performance and publicly disclose their results. It’s a large and diverse set of suppliers (IBM spent $40bn with 30,000 suppliers in 90 countries in 2009) so the company wants them to create a management system that works for their businesses
This is seen as a carrot, not a stick, approach and the suppliers will not be ‘graded’. IBM maintains that it wants to help suppliers improve their businesses, whether they work with IBM or someone else, and has tools and mentoring available.
It’s great to see ICT companies continuing to push their green efforts, even though the plethora of targets, measurements and base levels against which they are measured makes them difficult to compare. Perhaps the most significant is IBM’s move out to its suppliers. This is a growing trend, but the company seems to have formalised the process of ascertaining supplier sustainability and given its market standing and breadth of supplier base it’s likely to have a significant impact on the market.