Environmental Performance | Symantec
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Environmental Performance

We take seriously our responsibility to operate in an environmentally sound manner, and we are committed to integrating environmental stewardship to our operational, product and supply chain business strategies. Reflecting the importance of environmental issues to the company's short and long-term success, the Board of Director's Nominating and Governance Committee has oversight of our environmental performance.
Download the Symantec Environmental Policy Statement (PDF)
Compliance with all applicable environmental legislation is the starting point for our efforts. Beyond these legal requirements, we look for and implement ways to decrease energy, water, and materials use and to integrate environmental sustainability to our products and services.
We are committed to being transparent about our environmental performance and to participating in external stakeholder surveys and indices. Symantec is currently listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability and CDP Climate Disclosure Leadership Indices.
Our environmental strategy features four key components:
Symantec's Environmental Strategy
We believe that enhanced transparency and the movement to a low-carbon economy are important for sustainable economic growth. We believe that company action, in partnership with other stakeholder collaboration, is key to both mitigating risk and finding opportunity during this transition. We are a signatory to the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) Climate Declaration, which calls for America’s public and private sectors to unite in combating climate change.

Engaging Employees in Protecting the Environment

Symantec encourages employees to get personally involved in environmental stewardship. In FY14, we designated a new executive champion to lead our Green Teams initiative. Members educate fellow employees about personal behavior changes they can make and identify opportunities for the Facilities and IT teams to implement changes in Symantec's buildings, data centers, and business practices in order to save energy and water and reduce waste. Each team develops its own initiatives based on the particular environmental needs of its site, region, and country, but with support from Global Green Teams.
During FY14, our Green Team in Eugene, Oregon brought together more than 203 employees to win the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon Business Commute Challenge. The week-long event aims to reduce commuting-related environmental impacts by cutting down on single-person car travel. During the week employees logged 612 non-single person trips and contributed to the overall 68,987 mile reduction of single-person car travel—equivalent to avoiding 70,234 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Addressing Climate Change

As a responsible corporation operating in an increasingly interconnected world, we are working to do our part to mitigate climate change and to respond to our stakeholders’ interests by:
  • Reducing our company’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions, prioritizing electricity use which is the primary source of our emissions. We are applying green building standards to our buildings and making energy efficient system changes at our data centers, often through the use of our own software and technology.
  • Engaging and empowering our employees and communities to contribute and participate in protecting the environment.
  • Engaging with our customers and other partners to understand how our products and services can help meet their sustainability goals; and investing in products and services that have sustainability benefits.
  • Participating in energy and climate-related public policy efforts that protect the environment, encourage renewable energy production, and create green jobs in the technology sector.
We are convinced that a strong, international coalition of governments, businesses, and civil society organizations is required to effectively address climate challenges. Symantec supports and encourages efforts globally to pursue comprehensive climate change legislation. Clean energy will promote job creation, encourage greater sustainability, and stimulate new economic opportunities.

GHG Emissions

Symantec began measuring and reporting GHG emissions in FY08 and we report our emissions as part of our annual CDP submission. We have made great improvements in both the quantity and quality of our data since we started tracking our emissions. Our intention is to publish a company-wide goal for GHG emissions reduction in FY15.
Fiscal Scope Pie Chart
Our absolute and normalized by revenue GHG emissions in FY14 were approximately flat with FY13 and FY12. Normalized to revenue, our FY14 emissions were 5 percent lower than FY08 emissions.
Absolute Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Normalized Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Emission rates are generated using World Resources Institute-recommended greenhouse gas (GHG) conversion factors, which account for variations by region.

We are expanding our efforts to estimate Scope 3 emissions. For example, in FY13, we started asking our critical suppliers to report their GHG emissions to us to help us understand the carbon footprint of our direct spend. We have also estimated emissions associated with our indirect purchasing (i.e. goods and services we directly use in our business but which are not incorporated into our product), product shipping and the use of appliances that we sell to our customers. Our estimates indicate that Scope 3 emissions are at least three times greater than our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. We expect that our continuing efforts to more fully and accurately quantify our carbon footprint will help us to identify ways to target emissions reductions associated with our business.

Green IT

Our data centers and labs represent our most energy intensive operations. We are therefore prioritizing energy efficiency and equipment upgrades in these locations. We are evaluating and installing more efficient heating and cooling (HVAC) equipment. In some facilities, we are implementing systems to better manage airflow, for example, by isolating the chilled air fed into the IT racks from the heated air they exhaust. This practice, called hot/cold aisle containment, increases the efficiency of the existing cooling infrastructure. We have installed such systems in China, India, and the UK.
Over the next few years, we will be consolidating our labs and data centers into fewer, larger locations and in parallel implementing more virtualized IT environments, deleting unnecessary software applications and upgrading hardware equipment, all of which we expect to deliver energy efficiencies.
By implementing energy efficiency improvements in our data centers, we not only reduce our own carbon footprint, we also maximize the economy of scale benefits associated with our Software as a Service (SaaS) based cloud computing infrastructure.
We are working to quantify energy use and emissions associated with our third party operated collocated data centers. All new agreements with third-party data centers include a requirement to provide us with monthly energy use data as well as annual PUE values. By collecting this information, we will be able to measure total energy use and emissions associated with both the data centers under our direct control and our use of third party owned and operated facilities. This data will also enable us to engage with our data center vendors towards future efficiency goals.
Datacenter GHG Emissions
Green IT Solutions
At Symantec, we create new opportunities for our customers and our company by providing Green IT software and services. We have developed and applied best practices such as clustering (consolidating machines use), storage tiering, and data deduplication to reduce overall data storage needs. These technologies have enabled Symantec customers (and Symantec itself) to realize tremendous efficiencies and consolidate data centers, reducing energy, GHG emissions, and IT and real-estate expenses in the process.

Resource Conservation

Adopting Sustainable Building Practices

The decisions that are made during the design, construction and operation of our buildings have a significant influence on our overall environmental impact. Symantec uses the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program, an internationally recognized green building system, to guide the design, construction, and operation of its buildings. We have established a goal of obtaining a minimum of LEED Gold certification for all new Symantec-owned and long-leased facilities. In FY14, we added two new certifications, raising the certified percentage of our eligible square-footage to 82 percent.
These new certifications relate to two new facilities in Pune, India, which have achieved LEED Platinum certification. The facilities were recognized for alternative transportation, energy efficiency, aligning with regional green building priorities, and water efficiency. We reduced potable water usage at one site by 54 percent from the calculated baseline design.
Symantec Building In addition to LEED, we apply the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR system globally to help us manage energy use. The program helps Symantec measure current energy performance, set goals, and track savings.

Visit the EPA's Energy Star Buildings Partnership website.

Waste Reduction and Landfill Diversion

By reusing and recycling materials, we reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill. Symantec is focused on reducing waste through source-reduction as well as recycling programs.

E-waste Recycling

By reusing and recycling electronic equipment, we extend its useful life and reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill. Refurbishment and reuse is especially important for electronics and other e-waste because they often contain metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, gold, and silver, which have multiple significant environmental impacts—from their initial mining to potential environmental contamination if they are not recycled or disposed of properly.
Symantec prioritizes opportunities to reuse spare parts and relocate old inventory in order to avoid the purchase of new equipment. Equipment that has reached the end of its useful life is sent to responsible third party vendors for proper recycling. These vendors offer services such as hardware retrieval, asset tag and identifier removal, sorting, and environmentally responsible data wiping, cleaning, and destruction procedures.

Conserving Water

While we are not a water-intensive company, we do have locations in water stressed areas and we recognize the importance of using water efficiently. We publicly report on our water policies through the CDP Water survey.
Our absolute purchased water consumption decreased by 54,428 cubic meters, or 13 percent in FY14 when compared to FY13. On a normalized by revenue basis, our water consumption decreased by ten percent in FY14, compared to the prior year.
Absolute Water Consumed
Normalized Water Consumed

Water consumption data was compiled from Symantec's owned or long leased facilities (where Symantec has operational control of the water utility bill) worldwide. The FY13 and FY14 data has been verified (limited assurance) by a third party vendor. Of the total FY14 water purchased, three percent was consumed in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 17 percent was consumed in APJ (Asia Pacific and Japan), and 80 percent was consumed in the AMERICAS (United States, Canada and South America).

We recognize that different regions experience different levels of water resource constraints, both currently and looking to the future. We use the World Resource Institute’s (WRI) Aqueduct tool to identify which of our sites are located in regions that face the highest level of water related risk. This helps us to target our water conservation efforts.
We are particularly cognizant of the importance of water conservation at our sites in California and Arizona which are experiencing unprecedented drought conditions. Our water conservation and protection programs include:
  • During dry periods, when and where applicable, disable chiller equipment waterside economizer to reduce water consumption
  • Replacement of turf with native planting to reduce irrigation usage
  • Installation of water efficient fixtures
  • Reduced irrigation frequencies and cycle times
  • Avoiding unnecessary water use (e.g. turning off fountains, sweeping instead of rinsing walkways)
At one of our LEED Platinum facilities in Pune, India, another water-stressed region, we reduced potable water usage by 54 percent from the calculated baseline design.

Travel and Events

Business Travel

Between FY12 and FY13, GHG emissions from our business travel increased by 14%. The large majority of this increase was due to greater amounts of air travel related to business meetings and events such as our Vision Conferences. The increase was also partly due to an internal policy decision to allow premium economy travel on flights over eight hours. The greater passenger space of this travel class results in higher emissions per trip.
When travel is necessary, Symantec works with its travel vendors to help us to reduce the environmental impacts of our travel.
  • We prefer airlines with strong corporate responsibility strategies and are monitoring the development of airline biofuels.
  • Our preferred car rental vendors report on their CO2 emissions and include hybrid or bio-fueled vehicles in their fleet.
  • We use state-of-the-art video and audio technology in the form of HP Halo Collaboration Studios to encourage and enable face-to-face collaboration without travel.
  • We have begun to request that hotels we do business with explain how they can meet the disclosure requirements of the emerging Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) standard.

Commute Reduction Program

Symantec's Commute Reduction Program is a suite of initiatives designed to reduce the environmental impacts of employees' daily commutes at several sites in the United States. Efforts to encourage and facilitate the use of alternative transportation include:
  • Adding bike racks, locker rooms, and showers to facilities.
  • Hosting rideshare bulletin boards and/or commuter information kiosks.
  • Reserving priority parking spaces for drivers of carpools or alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Providing shuttle services at the company's larger locations.
  • Commuter Spending Accounts (CSA) that allow eligible employees to set aside pre-tax funds to pay for certain commuting expenses.

Sustaining our Global Corporate Events

Symantec began integrating environmental considerations into our event strategies for the first time with our Vision 2012 event. We believe that by integrating sustainability principles we will not only reduce the environmental and social impact of our conferences, but also improve their quality and business results.
During FY14’s Vision conference, the team implemented lessons learned from the application of a sustainable event strategy to the previous year’s conference. Specifically, they engaged with internal teams and suppliers to rethink and improve procedures and practices.
The team achieved several notable performance milestones:
  • 86 percent of key conference suppliers were assessed for sustainability.
  • 48 percent of waste was diverted from landfill.
  • 85 percent of signage was diverted from landfill, with 45 percent signage incorporating more sustainable materials.
  • 60 percent of food was sourced from within 400 miles of the event.

Responsible Sourcing

Software Packaging and Delivery

The majority of Symantec software products are now downloaded electronically by customers and thus require no physical product or packaging materials. Migrating away from selling physical software avoids greenhouse gas emissions associated with materials extraction, manufacture, transportation, installation of the software product and packaging waste. Where we continue to supply physical products, we are working with our suppliers to make them smaller and lighter to reduce the materials used and we are also incorporating more recycled and recyclable materials, such as paper laminates instead of plastics.
Electronic Download
Retail Purchase
Symantec has offered customers the ability to download software rather than buying it on CDs for more than a decade. Online downloading greatly reduces post-consumer waste as well as Symantec’s carbon emissions from product transport.
The transition to electronic downloading contributed to a reduction in product shipping emissions of approximately 30 percent during FY14.
For product transportation, we use environmentally preferable options when possible, including the "green" programs of DHL, UPS, and FedEx, and the use of rail transport vs. trucks and sea freight vs. air freight when feasible.
Read more about Symantec’s supply chain responsibility.