When we recently received word that CA Technologies had moved up to Number 5 (from #9) on the Newsweek Greenest Companies list there was a lot of cheering and screaming in my office. We weren't just over the moon, we were well beyond it! This is absolutely an honor for all the reasons you'd expect: recognition of the hard work and commitment of our employees, validation of our sustainability strategy, and progress against our goals.
But let's face it - there's also a part of this that's aided by competition. Friendly competition is a healthy thing, and whether that is marketplace based, or internal competition between team members and corporate departments (more on that in an upcoming post), when it comes to taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a little competition can go a long way (Hey, did I mention we were #5 in Newsweek's Green company listings yet?).
With that said, you are probably asking what it was that helped CA move up all the way from 46 two years ago to a top five ranking this year. You can read all about the Newsweek scoring approach, but here are some of my thoughts as to why we made the jump:
Lowered Emissions Footprint
Probably the biggest reason for our improvement was that we reported a 7.3% year-over-year reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions. This jump was due to a number of factors, including further efficiency gains in our facilities, increased purchases of renewable energy at a number of our offices and our telework policy which allows 30% of our workforce to telecommute.
Publicly Stated Goals
Once a company like CA makes a public commitment to sustainability, it is going to try to live up to it. CA has made some significant public announcements in the last few years, including our commitment to lower our overall greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2020 over a 2006 baseline. Additionally, we have made commitments to building a sustainable workforce by focusing on improving gender and racial equality in our human resources processes. These commitments all begin to work their way into the corporate DNA and influence decisions at the product, procurement, operational and employee level.
3rd Party Verification
This was the first year we brought in an outside group (KPMG) to provide third-party verification of our sustainability efforts. This exercise was very helpful for our team and the company (more on the benefits in a future post) and provided an additional stamp of credibility for our numbers.
We made a number of improvements in our tracking and reporting efforts, due in no small part to CA ecoSoftware which significantly streamlines the process. Additionally, we worked with a larger group of internal stakeholders to review our ‘sustainability' efforts on a broader scale, and as a result published numbers related to our human resources statistics for the first time. These disclosures, combined with the aforementioned commitments, portrayed our commitment to transparency in a way that was easy for Newsweek to see.
I don't want it to seem like all we did was plan, report and make commitments. When push comes to shove, you need to produce results. For that, you need an engaged workforce shutting off lights, committed to recycling, participating on green teams, helping out with sustainability events (like our "Bring Out Your Dead" eWaste recycling program) and coming up with creative new ideas to help us improve. Employee engagement stats are not part of any external scoring, but our team has been awesome and the results speak for themselves.
Like I said, there is nothing like a little healthy competition to focus the mind. If you look at the top ten companies in this year's list, eight are technology or computer product companies. This laser like sustainability focus among our Information and Communication Technology (ICT) brethren, is helping raise the bar for all of us and drive us forward. Thanks to Newsweek for this honor...we look forward to next year.