For the past week, the United Nations Climate Change Conference has convened in Warsaw, bringing together delegates from over 190 countries hoping to move closer to a global agreement on GHG emissions reduction.
At Symantec, mitigating our impacts on climate change is central to our environmental strategy.
A key way we continue to reduce our impacts is through our focus on green building practices, specifically achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) facility certifications. Earlier this year, I wrote about our achievements in FY13 -- three new LEED certifications, including our first Platinum certification in Culver City, California. We now have 20 LEED certified facilities representing 80 percent of our eligible real estate square footage, and are closing in on our goal to obtain LEED and Energy Star certifications for 100 percent of our owned or long-leased facilities
As we near our goal of 100 percent LEED certified buildings – we’ve asked ourselves what’s next?
How can we leverage what we’ve achieved so far to further embed efficiencies across our properties and operations? How can we create a continuous improvement cycle within our green building strategy that goes beyond LEED certification and ensures efficiencies are continually uncovered and managed across our portfolio?
Over the past year, we’ve looked closely at our LEED strategy, conducting a full analysis of our property portfolio and deciding what our next phase in this journey will look like.
What we found is that by picking out the pieces of LEED that have worked the best for us – those that have the biggest impacts on Symantec, create the highest efficiencies, result in cost savings, and have the most successful implementation – we came to three clear focus areas for the future of Green Building at Symantec – energy efficiency, waste audits and purchasing materials with recycled content. Additionally, all new buildings (owned and long-leased) would be LEED certified.
What this means is that as we move past LEED certification, these three focus areas will drive continuous improvements across our entire portfolio of properties. Additionally, we will look closer at project-specific opportunities. For instance:
- Energy Efficiency: A key value of LEED for Symantec has been its impact on energy efficiency. We have conducted energy audits since starting LEED certification, and we will continue to do that. However, in this next phase we will partner earlier on with the LEED project teams to better analyze and implement changes based on recommendations.
- Waste Audits: Through our LEED Platinum certification, we discovered a model for waste audits that we loved and have since applied this model globally. We are now in the second year of our global waste audits, and they have been extremely successful. Although we are making progress, we still have a ways to go to bring our current diversion rate up to that of our peers and competitors. In 2014, we are therefore ramping up our efforts in this area, leveraging insights and best practices from last year to help local sites better understand their waste streams and develop action plans for improvements.
- Recycled Content: The newest part of our strategy will be conducting audits with our suppliers to gain a deep understanding of the types of materials we are purchasing, their impacts and where opportunities for more eco-friendly purchasing decisions lie.
We are excited about the future of green building at Symantec, and thanks to LEED we have defined a path forward that will continue to uncover efficiencies across our property portfolio. We look forward to working with many of you over the coming months to implement this strategy – and to bringing more news on our progress in 2014.
Kelly Shea is Symantec's Global Sustainability Manager.