Avaya: Operational changes result in energy efficiency and guide product development


Avaya is a global leader in enterprise communications systems, providing unified communications, contact centers, data solutions and related services directly and through its channel partners to leading businesses and organizations around the world. The company employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide, including approximately 3,400 research and development professionals.

Challenge: Cutting carbon footprint through operational changes
Avaya felt it was the right time to take another step forward in its carbon management and climate change policy. Following an internal assessment, the company challenged itself to further reduce its carbon footprint, and committed to do it through operational changes rather than carbon offsets. For the first time Avaya set a target to reduce emissions; by 15% by 2015 from its 2009 baseline.

Solution: Public disclosure – an annual marker to aid strategy
Reporting to CDP provides a process which not only helps track reduction but assists strategy and management. “The cross functionality aspect of the CDP questionnaire is important, as it is more than just numbers,” said Kevin Gould, Sustainability Officer at Avaya. “The CDP questionnaire asks what our strategy and management approach is across climate change – it highlights impacts, risks and opportunities. This has helped to consolidate management of climate change across the organisation.”

As a private company Avaya only responds to CDP through Supply Chain requests. The company is happy that its customers make these requests. “Our approach is about leveraging energy efficiency; increasing efficiency and resource use, the transition and shift to a low carbon economy. This is a global macro-economic trend. We want to be part of this, through our own operations and through our customers and supply chain operations,” said Wilson Korol, Sustainability Business Leader, Avaya.

Avaya debated whether to disclose publicly or privately. The decision to adopt public disclosure was taken at the highest level as a means of moving best practice forward and demonstrating transparency about the company’s commitment and achievements. “Best practices improves year over year and we are happy to share where we are on the carbon management journey with our stakeholders. Public disclosure of GHG emissions is good - the difference between companies that do and don’t is stark. We are proud of our work and CDP is a fantastic vehicle for sharing our journey,” says Korol.

Efforts to track GHG emissions focuses on the collection of consumption data for electricity, natural gas, and fuel oil utilities for its owned and largest leased locations. Avaya has selected a third party enterprise carbon management system which has enhanced its ability to monitor emissions and present results quickly and efficiently. Facility management works with reporting Avaya locations to load their utility data on a monthly basis. Locations are asked to provide data regarding water consumption, solid waste, scrap electronics, batteries, and consumer recyclables (i.e. paper, glass, plastic, aluminium, cardboard, and any other materials being recycled) where possible. Employee business air travel is also tracked. Avaya receives regular reports from its travel partner that aggregates travel across the world and provides mileage for these trips. Results and outputs from its carbon management process are reported to the sustainability officer, the Green Core Team and the Environmental Steering Committee.

Benefit: Energy efficiency brings cost savings and business opportunities
Avaya has a carbon reduction commitment to reduce Scope 1+2+3 GHG emissions by 15% by 2015 from its 2009 baseline. It is ahead of schedule and this brings business advantages. Carbon is used as a marker for energy consumption and Avaya has made significant cost savings, hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 2 years since the company ramped up its carbon management systems.

Reduction activity has included office efficiency measures, re-vamping equipment, energy audits, standardising temperatures, and consolidating data centres to make them larger and more energy efficient. To continue building on the reduction success it has already achieved, Avaya now aims to increase understanding of its Scope 3 emissions. For example, the company has been attempting to use annual reporting processes, primarily the CDP, as a means of wider engagement with its suppliers, asking them directly if they report their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies to CDP.

Avaya has a team of experts in place to evaluate new and existing risks and opportunities through regular reporting and on-going dialogue across functions including representatives from Research and Development, IT, Law, Real Estate, Marketing, Government Affairs, Ethics and Compliance and Environment Health and Safety.

Developing products that reduce energy demand for customers present an opportunity to increase market share. Avaya has invested R&D budget in developing technologies such as IP phones that reduce 20% of customers’ electricity consumption, and server virtualization that saves not only electricity but also physical space. Additionally, as part of its strategic plans to reduce costs and carbon from shipping, it has re-designed the packaging used in its high volume products to lower the resource required to deliver them to customers around the world.

“The CDP submission is a major annual milestone in the Avaya carbon management program and we eagerly look forward to the process as a yearly marker in our climate change and carbon management progress,” says Korol. “The CDP process allows us to take a step back and consider where we want to go. It is an annual marker to assess our progress, aid strategy and communicate to our stakeholders.”

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