Saturday, December 29, 2007

#4 AT&T's Social Responsibility Efforts

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2005, AT&T became the first telecommunications company to join the California Climate Action Registry for operations in California. This registry, created by a California statute in 2001, helps companies and organizations track, publicly report and reduce emissions of the gases that can lead to global climate change.

Results from this registry are certified by independent organizations to confirm accuracy. More than 40 major companies, cities, government and nongovernment agencies belong to the registry. As a member, AT&T will voluntarily measure and publicly report its California emissions of greenhouse gases.

Additionally, AT&T is investigating centralizing its electricity and fuel purchases for cost-control purposes, and the company has a good model to follow. Before its merger, and while operating as SBC, AT&T reduced its overall fleet of vehicles by 26 percent. Today, AT&T purchases low-emission vehicles.

In addition, from 2001 to 2004 the company:

  • Decreased its annual gasoline-fuel consumption by 10 percent.
  • Deceased its annual diesel-fuel consumption by 20 percent.

AT&T also recycles used oil and antifreeze from its fleet of service vehicles and backup power generators. This reduces energy usage and the generation of air emissions related to petroleum production and refining.

Waste Minimization

AT&T's technology provides the infrastructure for enabling environmental improvements throughout the global economy. Services such as teleconferencing, videoconferencing, electronic commerce, e-billing and NetMeeting are prime examples of AT&T technologies that directly reduce or eliminate energy and material consumption.

AT&T recognizes the need to use energy and other natural resources responsibly. Since 1998, AT&T has continued to drive cost-savings and improvements in energy efficiency across its facilities. AT&T’s energy programs have improved the energy efficiency of some of our data centers by nearly 25 percent.

eBill Paperless Program

AT&T actively promotes online paperless billing and printing double-sided phone bills.

AT&T and The National Arbor Day Foundation received the Silver Cause Marketing Halo Award for Best Environmental/Wildlife Program in 2006. The honor was awarded in recognition of AT&T's successful eBill Paperless Program campaign with The National Arbor Day Foundation to encourage residential and small business customers to sign up for AT&T eBill service and promote tree planting.

AT&T Yellow Pages directories are printed on paper containing more than 40 percent post-consumer recycled content and are produced with an intent to be recycled. Books are recycled into new phone books, news print, cardboard boxes, compost, insulation and other household products.

More than 520,000 residential and small business customers responded to AT&T's pledge to donate $1 to The National Arbor Day Foundation for each customer who switched to paperless billing during the 2005 – 2006 campaign. From July 2005 through March 2006, monthly enrollments in AT&T”s eBill service increased 54 percent.

AT&T eBill service gives subscribers secure online access to current statements, payment options and archived account histories – virtually anytime, anywhere – for all services combined on their AT&T bill, including AT&T local, AT&T long distance, AT&T Yahoo!® High Speed Internet, AT&T | DISH Network satellite television and Cingular Wireless services. Enhanced features include the ability to view the name and contact information of dialed persons, as well as the option to sort statements by numbers called, length of call, place, date or cost.

Cingular Reuse and Recycle

Cingular has introduced a national recycling program, Cingular Reuse & Recycle, to help its customers play an important role in reducing waste. Through the Cingular Wireless Reuse & Recycle program, consumers are invited to bring unwanted wireless phones, Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), accessories and batteries (regardless of the manufacturer or carrier) to Cingular-operated stores and participating authorized dealer stores for recycling.

"Industrial Ecology" is an emerging multidisciplinary field, which studies economic activity and its interrelationship with the environment such that both economic and environmental efficiency can be enhanced. The industrial ecology approach can be a powerful tool for environmental and economic progress.

As a leader in information movement and management, AT&T feels a responsibility for helping universities produce future leaders in fields relevant to industrial ecology and in helping to define and focus research activities, particularly when this field interacts with information and communications technology and services.

The AT&T Industrial Ecology Faculty Fellowship Program is intended to stimulate interdisciplinary research and curriculum development that involve social issues, engineering, the sciences, economics, management, business, law and public policy issues. For the past 12 years, the AT&T Foundation has provided awards of $25,000 to each academic researcher


Recipients of past awards have included a few international universities such as Delft and United Nations University in Tokyo and public and private universities across the U.S, from Alaska to Florida and Massachusetts to Southern California. The fellowships also have supported student research, with some of the students eventually applying as faculty fellows. The program has been recognized by the National Science Foundation and its Canadian equivalent.

Program Accolades

In May of 2006, AT&T was honored by the Journal of Industrial Ecology (JIE) for its pivotal role in the journal's development and its significant contributions to the field of industrial ecology. The official journal of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, the JIE is an international, peer-reviewed quarterly designed to foster understanding of and practice in the emerging field of industrial ecology. At an event sponsored by Yale University, scholarly and nongovernmental organization leaders in the field gave AT&T special recognition for its continued support in this area.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Low Carbon Diet at the UN Climate Conference

During the UN Climate Conference earlier this month, some very noted speakers decided that instead of flying to Bali, they would present their programs through Second Life. More specifically Second Nature The decision was made by the presenters based upon the estimate that an avatar creates a carbon footprint that is a fraction of that if they flew to Bali.

At least three speakers announced their sessions on Nature Network, NPG’s social networking website ( The confirmed programs included:

(1) Tara LaForce, Lecturer at Imperial College London, on her research into carbon capture and storage
(2) Dr Simon Buckle, Director of Climate Change Policy at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change
(3) George Monbiot, Guardian Columnist and author of Heat: How we can stop the planet burning

All the events were free and open. Second Life avatars may still teleport to Second Nature via that are made available retrospectively online.

There is an interesting (intense) debate about how big the carbon footprint is of avatars in Second Life. Nick Carr, Author of Rough Type started an avalanche of opinion by attempting to (theoretically) calculate the carbon footprint of an avatar. (

I will save the binary world a few bits by not providing as summation with the exception to tell you that the estimated average 75KWh per avatar per year is less than about three days of electric consumption by an average American household. The 75KWh translates into about 39kg of CO2. A round trip flight from NY to London creates over 1200 kg of CO2 per passenger and that is only the beginning of your travel consumption (taxi, hotel, restaurant, etc.) So in summary it would be safe to say that attending the conference via Second Life is a more “green thing” than traveling to a small island in Indonesia from almost anywhere.

If you are a numbers person and like the details, more on the debate and calculations can be found at

The average household in the US consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to Department of Energy figures.

Formula and information taken from:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

#3Microsoft Environmental Stewardship

Microsoft Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

At Microsoft, environmental stewardship is important and integral to their business. Over the past 30 years, they have translated their personal beliefs and corporate philosophy into meaningful environmental action.

In February 2006, they adopted the Microsoft Environmental Principles. These principles formalize the ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and natural resources, and the health and safety of employees, customers, and the local communities where they do business. Every Microsoft employee shares the responsibility of helping the company fulfill these principles, which guide our long-term goals and objectives.

"Green" and Energy-Efficient Operations

For many years, Microsoft has participated in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program by renovating older buildings and constructing newer corporate buildings to enhance energy efficiency and increase our use of recycled products and non toxic materials. In 2006, we took big steps toward increased sustainability at our campuses in Silicon Valley, California, and Hyderabad, India, and at our newest data center in Quincy, Washington.

In celebration of Earth Day 2006, employees at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus (SVC) unveiled a new solar panel power system—the largest in Silicon Valley. The system has 2,288 solar tiles that cover 31,000 square feet on the roofs of buildings across the campus. It generates 480 kilowatts per hour at peak capacity—enough to power nearly 500 homes—and will provide up to 15 percent of the energy used at SVC.

On April 17, 2006, Microsoft opened the doors to Building 2 on our new campus in Hyderabad, India. Building 2 is a state-of-the-art building that incorporates sound environmental design and furniture made by local Indian companies.

The east and west ends of the building, where the sun is strongest, are made of solid masonry to cut down on heat penetration, and the building will be protected from direct sunlight 70 percent of the time. Double-glazed windows allow natural light to enter, but sunshades cut glare and reduce reliance on air conditioning. Also, a reservoir will capture and recycle some 36,000 cubic meters of rainwater to serve the irrigation needs of the 48-acre campus and to run energy-efficient, water-cooled air conditioning units. Another energy-saving feature automatically turns off lights if offices are unoccupied for more than 10 minutes.

In May 2006, we broke ground on our newest and largest data center to date in Quincy, Washington. Opened in April 2007, the facility is powered by hydroelectricity, a renewable and clean-air resource. The construction also prioritizes maximizing energy efficiency, water conservation, and the use of green building technologies under the LEED rating system.

Recyclable Product Packaging

As part of our continuing environmental stewardship, we eliminated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from all Microsoft packaging, effective December 31, 2005. Microsoft collaborated with organizations such as the Center for Health, Environment and Justice to understand the issues around PVC, and we worked with our channel partners to identify and implement alternative solutions to its use.

Through these efforts, we were able to remove PVC from product packaging by using a recyclable material and to reduce the use of plastic clamshells for our products by 70 percent. We are continuing our sustainability efforts in the area of packaging by substituting cardboard for styrene, minimizing packaging size, and testing the use of innovative packaging made from ecofriendly and biodegradable materials.

Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

At Microsoft, we are always working to reduce our environmental impact. For several years, we have tracked and made available to the public our annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory, in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

In 2006, Microsoft was named a "best workplace for commuters" in the Puget Sound area by a coalition that included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), local nonprofit organizations, and transit organizations. Microsoft also ranked second in the Top 20 list of best Fortune 500 companies for commuters. In 2005, the EPA recognized Microsoft as being among the top five Fortune 500 companies to meet a National Standard of Excellence, after Microsoft offered employees commuter benefits to increase their use of alternative forms of transportation.

The positive effects of these benefits include reduced fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. On our campus in Redmond, Washington, we expanded our fleet of hybrid vehicles to 25. We replaced nearly half of our passenger vans with these smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions and conserving approximately 20,000 gallons of fuel annually. We also replaced on-demand shuttle service with fixed routes and schedules to increase ridership by reducing wait times and improving the predictability of travel times for passengers.

Sustainability Enhancing Innovations

Another way Microsoft works toward environmental sustainability is through our software products, which can significantly reduce the energy consumption of computer hardware systems and can also reduce the need for business travel.

In the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems, the power options enable users to limit the amount of time a computer is idle before the monitor and hard disk shut off and the system goes into a low-powered standby or hibernation . According to the EPA, use of these power management features can decrease computer energy consumption by more than 50 percent.

In our newest operating system, Windows Vista, a new sleep mode combines the speed and low power of standby with the data-protection features of hibernation, giving users the best of both. In Windows Vista, users can choose any of three preconfigured power plans that balance performance and power consumption. Users can also create a custom power plan tailored precisely to meet their needs.

Microsoft is a leader in the development of collaboration software, such as Microsoft Office Live Meeting, SharePoint, and Microsoft Office Groove, which enables virtual meetings and more effective teamwork. These products are designed to enhance business productivity and to reduce the need for business travel and the physical transfer of documents, thereby helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts of businesses. Microsoft continues to invest in improving these products and to accelerate adoption of the new work practices they support.

Microsoft Windows Mobile is the leading operating system for handheld devices and cellular telephones. These devices enable remote access to e-mail and the Internet, and they require less energy than a standard laptop or desktop computer.

Microsoft Environmental Principles

Published: May 9, 2006 (source:

At Microsoft, we work actively to protect our natural resources. We have corporate policies and procedures that conserve environmental resources at our facilities and in our products, packaging, and supplier operations. We follow strict policies to ensure that we remain in full compliance with international environmental regulations as well as the specific environmental requirements of each country where we do business.

Conserve, Reuse, and Recycle
Where feasible, we conserve natural resources through the use of recycled materials and supplies, the efficient use of energy, and the participation in recycling programs for our products after they have served their useful life. We encourage and support the sustainable use of renewable natural resources.

Reduce and Dispose of Waste
We reduce and where possible eliminate waste through source reduction and recycling at our facilities. All waste shall be handled and disposed of through safe and responsible methods.

Develop Safe and Sustainable Products
Microsoft develops, manufactures, and markets products that are safe for their intended use. Our environmental policies and practices aim to protect, conserve, or sustain the world’s natural resources as well as protect our customers and the communities in which we live and operate.

Make Environmental Stewardship Part of Our Business Relationships
At Microsoft, we strive to incorporate our Environmental Principles into our business relationships. We seek similar commitments to the environment from our major suppliers. We participate in industry groups to set industry standards on environmental practices. We strive to keep our customers informed of our efforts and welcome their feedback.

Continually Improve Our Performance
We set objectives and targets to ensure continuous improvement in our environmental performance. We value employee contributions to our environmental initiatives. We regularly review our business activity and assess our environmental programs, practices, and goals to evaluate our progress and to identify areas where further improvements can be made.

Demonstrate Responsibility to Our Stakeholders
We engage our stakeholders concerning our objectives and targets and periodically communicate our progress to our Board, shareholders, customers, and members of the public.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

#2 General Electric Ecomagination

At the heart of GE’s ecomagination is the belief that an environmentally driven business strategy can benefit society as well as the bottom line. So at its inception, GE set very real, concrete targets in order to make ecomagination viable from a business standpoint. Visit GE’s ecomagination to experience the spirit of our commitment, and to learn about GE's portfolio of eco-certified products and more.


Ecomagination is much more than GE's vision for the future. It is made up of very real goals that GE strives to reach through continuous investment in the following four commitments.

Commitment #1: Double Our Investment in R&D

GE is investing in tomorrow's energy technologies, enabling them to explore continuous improvement of existing products while they search for the next big breakthrough. Their Global Research Centers are developing a broad technology portfolio to help customers and society meet a range of energy and environmental challenges.

One example can be found in the area of water use and purification, where GE scientists are investigating new membrane materials and innovative advanced separation technologies. These allow for further treatment and better performance of on-site wastewater reuse and recycling for the industrial, agriculture and municipal sectors.

Commitment #2: Increase Revenues from Ecomagination Products

GE's ecomagination initiative is founded on a solid business strategy: to increase revenues for GE by providing solutions for customers that help improve their operating performance and environmental impact.

To ensure ecomagination products are met with the highest degree of integrity, every prospective product is evaluated against an eco-performance metric called the Ecomagination Product Review scorecard. This metric assures that the products can significantly improve the environmental performance, operating performance or value proposition of our customers.

Commitment #3: Reduce Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions

GE has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and improve the energy efficiency of its operations in three ways. We will reduce absolute emissions 1% by 2012, we will reduce the intensity of these emissions 30% by 2008, and we will improve energy efficiency 30% by the end of 2012 (all versus 2004 levels).

In ways big and small, GE has already identified many opportunities to help meet its energy targets. Some of these include adding solar panels to more than 20 GE facilities, including GE headquarters, and the launch of a company-wide eCO2 Site Certification program to promote and reward imaginative solutions for greenhouse gas reductions.

Commitment #4: Keep the Public Informed

As part of our overall efforts to improve transparency, GE uses several vehicles to engage the public on our ecomagination progress. We publish an annual ecomagination report, dedicated to tracking social and environmental goals, and also produce the ecomagination web site, which provides a forum for the latest information on ecomagination news, advertising and products.

The Ecomagination Advisory Council is another way GE engages the public. Comprised of a board of six to eight industry thought leaders with expertise in energy and the environment, the council focuses on providing guidance and new ideas on GE technology research and investments.