Alcatel-Lucent reaches CO2 reduction target a year early

Green IT plans will help the company cut carbon footprint further

Alcatel-Lucent has hit its short-term goal, to reduce its carbon footprint by 10 percent by the end of 2010, a full-year early. The company said the move was aided by significant IT measures.

In its Corporate Social Responsibility report for 2009, the networking company said it set the short-term target to reduce its 741,871 metric tons of CO2 emissions, associated with energy use for all its buildings, by 10 percent, and managed to achieve it by the end of 2009.

It is now planning to focus on its wider goal of reducing its CO2 emissions from all sources by 50 percent of 2008 levels (which was 1,003,651 metric tons of CO2 equivalent) by 2020.

"Our plan includes such tactics as minimising waste and increasing recycling at our offices, making our buildings more efficient, reducing air travel, consolidating datacenters, and converting to more efficient computers," Alcatel-Lucent said in the report.

Alcatel-Lucent collects data on its emissions using software from Enablon, and analyses and evaluates the date using its own custom tool. It set up an Office of Sustainability in its operations division in Q1 2009, led by Rich Goode, in order to standardise its green initiatives across the whole business.

IT initiatives Alcatel-Lucent deployed to reduce its energy consumption include consolidating 25 datacentres to 17 by the end of 2008.

"The primary IT initiative in 2009 was signing the contract with HP, to whom we will outsource all of our datacentres over the next three years," added Goode, director of sustainability at Alcatel-Lucent.

"In addition, HP is taking over our printing convenience centres and installing more efficient printers. Finally, we virtualised a large number of servers and are updating employees' laptops with more energy-efficient models, along with a commitment from the manufacturer to take them back at the end of their useful life for recycling."

Meanwhile, Alcatel-Lucent said that air travel accounted for nearly 10 percent of the company's global emissions. However, by implementing a tool that displays the CO2 emissions for each flight booked on the company's online booking tool, Alcatel-Lucent said it was able to reduce business travel by 19 percent, and put its videoconferencing facilities to greater use.

"In 2009, we had a 42 percent increase in use of our existing videoconferencing facilities. This represents a key behaviour shift in response to our eco-initiatives," said Goode.

Alcatel-Lucent reports emissions from all sources of emission resulting directly from its business operations, including its buildings, fleet operations and mobile sources of combustion. It also reports emissions from outsourced activities, including leased vehicles, product logistics and company business travel. Furthermore, the company has asked its major suppliers in 2009 to report on their emissions that support Alcatel-Lucent activities.

The company has also set new targets for making its products more environmentally-friendly. These include improving the functional energy efficiency of new or recently-developed products by at least 20 percent by 2010 compared with 2008, and declaring carbon footprint information for new product groups from 2010. It also plans to increase the total number of installed sites powered by renewable energy in 2009 by 30 percent.

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