Xerox Aims for Carbon Neutrality and Paper Sustainability

Many Xerox products are returned for recycling and remanufacturing. Photo courtesy of Xerox Corporation.

Xerox wants to be carbon-neutral … and that’s not all.

The company also wants to:

Eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals to achieve a zero toxic footprint.

Develop a “zero waste to landfill” goal for its company-wide operations.

Insure that 100 percent of its paper, by volume, meets stringent requirements for a sustainable paper cycle.

Ambitious goals for the world’s leading document management, technology and services enterprise, wouldn’t you say? But, take a look through the 2009 Report on Global Citizenship that Xerox released on Tuesday, and you’ll see that the company is well on its way to making significant progress in each of these areas.

“We view environmental sustainability not as a cost of doing business, but as a way of doing business,” the report says. “For us, it’s an integral part of developing products, serving customers and posting profits.”

Here are a few specific highlights from the environmental sustainability portion of the report:

  • Company-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are down 20 percent from 2002 to 2008. Xerox believes it will deliver a 25 percent reduction in total GHG emissions by 2012 (compared to the 2002 baseline).
  • In 2008, 80 percent of Xerox’s eligible new products met or exceeded the international energy star standard. The company’s goal is to deliver energy star qualified equipment for 90 percent or more of eligible new products launched by 2010. To complement these efforts, Xerox launched the Xerox Sustainability Calculator, to help customers identify opportunities to reduce lifecycle energy use, solid waste, and GHG emissions associated with office printing activities.
  • To date, more than 90 percent of Xerox paper by volume met the company’s requirements for a sustainable paper cycle. In addition, the company continued a three-year $1 million partnership with The Nature Conservancy that supports conservation work aimed at the development of a sustainable paper cycle.
  • Xerox’s equipment and supplies returns and recycling programs diverted 106 million pounds of waste from landfills bringing total landfill avoidance to 2.2 billion pounds since 1991. In 2008, the company achieved an internal recycle rate of 92 percent.
  • Water consumption decreased 15 percent  in 2008 compared with 2007, thanks to building consolidations, production decrease, equipment decommissioning, seasonal variation, and increased awareness about water stewardship.

In the report’s letter to stakeholders, Xerox Chairman Anne Mulcahy and Chief Executive Officer Ursula Burns say:

“We were an early leader in the sustainability movement because we thought it was the right thing to do for the environment. But we discovered something else along the way. Every one of our innovations ended up either saving us money or creating new markets and new revenue. We found, in other words, that we don’t have to choose between the environment and profit. We can do both.”

The report also details Xerox’s philanthropy.  For example, the Xerox Foundation invested $12.6 million in 2,825 non-profit organizations and matched approximately 1,700 employee contributions to not-for- profits. In 2008, Xerox and Xerox employees contributed $3.5 million to United Way organizations, and more than 9,500 Xerox employees committed their time to worthwhile causes through the Xerox Community Involvement Program

More information about Xerox’s 2009 Report on Global Citizenship as available here.

As a corporate content specialist and a ghostwriter for C-level executives, Kathryn's work appears at Forbes, Industry Week and other leading trade publications and websites. She focuses on topics related to science, business sustainability, supply chain risk management and marketing. Find out more about Kathryn at . You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @CorpWriter4Hire.

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