Environmental stewardship is an integral part of Symantec's business strategy, both in terms of managing impacts related to the company's operations and the development of new products and services for clients. Reflecting the importance of environmental issues to the company's short and long-term success, the Board of Directors, Nominating and Governance Committee has oversight of our environmental performance.
Compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations is the starting point for our efforts. Beyond these legal requirements, we continually look for innovative ways to decrease energy, water, and materials use and to integrate environmental sustainability to our products and services. Our environmental strategy features four key components:
Compliance with Standards for Electronic Equipment Design and Disposal
Where we place products that are defined as ‘electronic equipment’ on the market, we ensure that we comply with all applicable market based requirements for limiting hazardous chemical content and ensuring responsible end of life disposal. To learn more about our efforts, please refer to these Symantec declarations:
Engaging Employees in Protecting the Environment
In August 2008, we launched a formal program to establish Green Teams—groups of employee volunteers passionate about the environment—throughout the company. 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.
Addressing Climate Change
As a responsible corporation operating in an increasingly interconnected world, we are working hard to do our part to mitigate climate change and to respond to our stakeholders’ interests by:
- Minimizing 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.
Symantec began measuring and reporting GHG emissions in FY08 and we report our emissions as part of our annual Carbon Disclosure Project submission. We have made great improvements in both the quantity and quality of our data since we started tracking our emissions.
Our absolute GHG emissions in FY13 were approximately flat with FY12 and, on a normalized revenue basis, our GHG emissions were 3 percent lower in FY13 compared to the prior year. This was driven by a small reduction in business travel along with improved emission factors for purchased electricity, which offset the small increase in total electricity use in FY13. Since FY08, we have reduced the total amount of GHG emissions from our operations from 214,316 metric tons to 211,376 metric tons, which is equivalent to a 1.37 percent absolute reduction. Normalized to revenue, our FY13 emissions were 16 percent lower than FY08 emissions.
Emission rates are generated using World Resources Institute-recommended greenhouse gas (GHG) conversion factors, which account for variations by region. These conversion factors are based on typical energy generation methods, such as those using fossil fuels or other energy sources. Of the total FY13 GHG emissions, 8 percent was emitted in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 41 percent was emitted in APJ (Asia Pacific and Japan), and 51 percent was emitted in the AMERICAS (United States, Canada and South America).This data represents almost 100% of the global employee population, real estate square footage and travel data. Executive suites and colocations represent less than 1% of the real estate portfolio and are not included.
The growth of our business and the development of new products and services such as cloud data-storage and mobile solutions which are data center based, and therefore, energy intensive point to future potential growth in electricity use. In parallel with these trends, hardware technology has improved to allow for more intensive computing in the same footprint, so our electricity consumption has also grown on a per square foot basis. This is illustrated by the GHG emissions data for our Enterprise Data Center. Total emissions for this facility have increased from 11,977 metric tons in FY08 to 25,647 metric tons in FY13, which is equivalent to a 114 percent absolute increase.
Emission rates are generated using World Resources Institute-recommended greenhouse gas (GHG) conversion factors, which account for variations by region. These conversion factors are based on typical energy generation methods, such as those using fossil fuels or other energy sources. This data represents almost 100% of the global employee population, real estate square footage and travel data. Executive suites and colocations represent less than 1% of the real estate portfolio and are not included.
We are also focused on maximizing the energy efficiency of our facilities, with a special focus on research and development labs and data centers. Our increasing use of energy sub-metering at our largest energy consuming facilities enables us to continuously monitor our energy performance; to target improvements and implement best practices.
What is Green IT? Through our Green IT initiative, we aim to incorporate environmental sustainability, and particularly energy efficiency into the products and services we deliver to our customers.
We believe that several of our products and services have significant benefits in terms of reducing the energy needed for the operation of our customers’ hardware and IT systems. Additionally, our products and services help customers to prepare and respond effectively to climate change impacts. For example, we provide customers with high-availability and disaster recovery solutions which enable them to continue working in the case of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.
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.
Green Data Center Solutions
By purchasing Symantec’s Software as a Service (SaaS) based cloud computing infrastructure, customers avoid the need to host and manage their own on-premise servers. The customer therefore benefits from the economies of scale that result from cloud computing architecture as well as IT and energy efficiency projects Symantec implements in its data centers. Examples of these projects include virtualization, space utilization, remediation and data de-duplication which help to deliver a highly utilized and efficient infrastructure. This in turn directly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also reduces the amount of hardware we need to provide our services.
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.
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.
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. Since we began applying the LEED standards
the majority of Symantec’s fully owned or long leased buildings have achieved LEED certification. As a result of our participation in LEED, we now have global sustainability programs and consistent processes that share a common language.
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.
Only top performing buildings receive ENERGY STAR ratings. We have a total of 12 ENERGY STAR certifications, representing 59 percent of our eligible real estate square footage. While ENERGY STAR certification is only recognized in the United States we use the system as a guidance tool for both our domestic and international properties. Visit the EPA's Energy Star Buildings Partnership website
Electricity use is responsible for over 75% of our global greenhouse gas emissions. Our absolute purchased electricity increased by 5.8 million kilowatt-hours, or two percent in FY13 when compared to FY12. This increase is due to headcount growth in all three regions and a rise in sales leading to an increase in datacenter output. On a normalized revenue basis, our electricity consumption decreased by one percent in FY13 compared to the prior year. Since FY08, we have reduced the total electricity used by our operations from 301 million kilowatt-hours to 298 million kilowatt-hours, which is equivalent to a one percent reduction. Normalized to revenue, we reduced usage by 16 percent over FY07.
Energy consumption data includes all real estate square footage except executive suites and colocations. The FY12 and FY13 data has been verified (limited assurance) by a third party vendor. Of the total FY13 electricity used, ten percent was consumed in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 25 percent was consumed in APJ (Asia Pacific and Japan), and 65 percent was consumed in the AMERICAS (United States, Canada and South America). This data represents almost 100% of the global real estate square footage. Executive suites and colocations represent less than 1% of the real estate portfolio and are not included.
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.
Our absolute waste generation decreased by 205 metric tonnes, or 14 percent in FY13 when compared to FY12. On a normalized revenue basis, our waste generation decreased by 16 percent in FY13, compared to the prior year. Since FY08, we have estimated a total waste reduction by our operations from 1,633 metric tonnes to 1,303 metric tonnes, which is equivalent to a 20 percent reduction. Normalized to revenue, we reduced waste generation by 32 percent over FY08.
Recycling is a top concern for employees. We are striving to achieve an 80 percent diversion rate from landfill with an ultimate long term goal of zero waste. Globally, we’ve achieved a 52 percent landfill diversion rate and are prioritizing the improvement of this metric. Waste audits at our LEED facilities are helping us to identify waste reduction and recycling initiatives and our Green Teams are working to improve employee awareness of and participation in these initiatives. In FY13, waste audits were performed and each of our LEED certified sites by a third party vendor to identify areas of improvement, increase program and benchmarking consistency and share best practices. We are looking to apply some of the best practices discovered through the audit to other global sites where possible.
Waste generation data was compiled from Symantec's owned or long leased facilities (where Symantec has operational control of the waste vendor contract) worldwide. The waste audit methodology, based on a third party consultant, was approved by the USGBC and became a best practice for each of Symantec's LEED certified sites globally. This was the first year we implemented a global waste audit performed by one third party vendor instead of a different vendor at each site. The global waste audit improved global program consistency, identified areas of improvement and enabled sharing of best practices between sites. Of the total FY13 waste, 21 percent was generated in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 17 percent was generated in APJ (Asia Pacific and Japan), and 62 percent was generated in the AMERICAS (United States, Canada and South America). This data represents 88% of our eligible LEED certified buildings.
While we are not in a water-intensive industry, we recognize the importance of minimizing the water we use at our facilities and taking responsibility for the water we use. We have also voluntarily responded to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Water Disclosure questionnaire for the past 2 years.
Our absolute purchased water consumption increased by 124,355 cubic meters, or 46 percent in FY13 when compared to FY12. On a normalized revenue basis, our water consumption increased by 41 percent in 2012, compared to the prior year. This increase is primarily due to an increase in data accuracy. Since FY08, we have increased the total water used by our operations from 165 thousand cubic meters to 397 thousand cubic meters which is equivalent to a 140 percent increase. Normalized to revenue, we increased usage by 103 percent over FY08.
Water consumption data was compiled from Symantec's owned or long leased facilities (where Symantec has operational control of the water utility bill) worldwide. This is the first year we have had our FY13 data verified (limited assurance) by a third party vendor. Of the total FY13 water purchased, 14 percent was consumed in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 15 percent was consumed in APJ (Asia Pacific and Japan), and 71 percent was consumed in the AMERICAS (United States, Canada and South America). This data represents almost 100% of the global employee population, the real estate square footage and the travel data. Executive suites and colocations have been excluded because these spaces represent less than 1% of the real estate portfolio.
Water conservation and protection programs that we are implementing across our portfolio include:
- Water saving plumbing fixtures, including low flow toilets, low flow or waterless urinals, and motion sensor faucets and aerators
- Water-efficient landscaping and irrigation management
- Storm water management
- Evaluating cooling tower water recycling and alternative water treatment options
We recognize that different regions experience different levels of water resource constraints, both currently and looking to the future. During FY13, we used 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. We will use the results of this analysis to target our future investment in water conservation towards these sites.
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 work to reduce the materials used and to incorporate recycled and recyclable materials.
ELECTRONIC VERSUS PHYSICAL PRODUCT DELIVERY
|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.
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.
A significant majority of Symantec software products are now downloaded electronically by customers and thus require no packaging at all. For the remaining products, Symantec continues to minimize the materials used and to incorporate recycled and recyclable materials to the greatest degree possible.
Between FY12 and FY13, we reduced GHG emissions from our business travel by 3,015 metric tons CO2
e, equivalent to an 8% absolute reduction. 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.
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.