As a technology corporation, there are many tables to consider claiming a seat at. Economic policy boards, 3GPP standards bodies, other corporate boards, chambers of commerce – the list is endless. But there is one table that I’ve been at for some time and I think every company should pull up a seat to: the energy conservation table.
In May 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel at the ASPIRE Global Forum in Mountain View, California, on how the global business community can work together to address the energy challenges that exist in the world today. With the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) projection that energy consumption will increase by 28% by 2040, there is no better time than now for global corporations to influence policies and take steps to address the impact of global energy and natural resource needs on the planet. At Keysight, we expect to recognize $2 million in cost avoidance, 10% energy conservation and 15% water conservation by the end of fiscal year 2020 (see our latest 2017 CSR Report here).
At the forum, I was fortunate enough to share the stage with high-profile speakers including Jeff Emelt, former CEO of General Electric, and General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State. I spoke about micro-grids and their importance for large corporations, especially as they relate to energy redundancy. We are currently in the process of installing a 4.3-megawatt fuel cell at Keysight’s corporate headquarters in Santa Rosa, which runs on natural gas and provides almost zero emissions.
This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken about Keysight’s investment in sustainability and energy efficiency. Keysight has a strong commitment to minimizing our carbon footprint and we have taken actions for several years to conserve natural resources and improve efficiency.
In 2008, we installed a 1-megawatt solar array that shifts with the movement of the sun – at the time, it was the largest solar array in the Northern California Bay Area region. We were also early adopters in providing free electric vehicle charging stations (also powered by the sun) for our employees. We have an integrated water reclamation system to utilize recycled water in our landscaping. And in 2017, we installed one million square feet of energy efficient LED lighting with smart sensors driven by a software backbone in our Santa Rosa, Hachioji, Penang and Colorado Springs campus locations.
Sure, we do this because we have a strong belief that large businesses like Keysight have a role in pushing initiatives like these forward. But it also makes good business sense. Our suppliers, our competitors, and our communities all take notice when we lead.
But even more importantly – our customers, investors, and employees take notice. Leading in intelligent sustainability practices is not only the right thing to do, it’s a business imperative as Hamish Gray, corporate services vice president, recently noted. Companies throughout the world are setting standards and when we illustrate our leadership not just in enabling technology but in sustainability, we win business. By demonstrating leading-edge sustainability practices – whether through our processes, tools or systems – we gain credibility and, ultimately, market share.
Energy and natural resource conservation is a journey: Where to begin?
The investments we’ve made in sustainability and efficiency have been done over time. It would have been overwhelming and cost prohibitive to do all of these things at once. Companies who are looking to address these opportunities may wonder where to begin.
Companies should start by evaluating where they are today, and aim at getting some quick wins. Setting big, lofty goals is great, but simple policy changes can really inspire people and begin compounding quickly. Consider turning down the thermostat on the weekends. Or start evaluating your own suppliers and see that their practices fit with your goals to be environmentally friendly.
I also suggest that you celebrate your small wins and make them visible. Touting your sustainability metrics can help build on that momentum and gain some positive attention, and may even lead to partnerships with suppliers that ultimately make capital investments down the line easier.
Also, consider the role of energy and natural resource conservation as part of your overall corporate citizenship efforts. At Keysight, we implemented a six-step journey to an evolved CSR program model that helped gain traction not only in the energy and water conservation space but across our citizenship efforts worldwide.
It’s never too late to pull up a chair for energy and natural resource conservation. Leading in sustainability practices not only looks good, but it feels good knowing we’re on the right side of history.