A while ago I wrote a piece about our company’s ‘green’ initiatives. Amongst the many programs we are adopting to be more environmentally conscious, one was to achieve the Energy Star Rating certification for our headquarters building in Redwood City, California.
Our facilities team worked hard to achieve the certification: we announced it, we shared the news with our community, issued a press release, patted ourselves on the back and then everyone went back to work. But clearly, it is a gift that keeps on giving …
We just received a check from PG&E. It is a sizeable sum accompanied by a letter advising us that our certification efforts are truly making a difference. Since we achieved certification, we have avoided nearly 220,000 pounds of CO₂, which is the equivalent of powering 57 homes for one year or taking 15 cars off the road for a year. Not a bad effort given that we had all moved onto the next initiative!
Last month, that initiative was Earth Day – which falls on April 22nd. Earth Day was “born” in 1970, roughly when I arrived on this planet. Maybe I had my head buried for the first 30 odd years of its existence, but I only really became aware of it in 2005 when my nephews told me about it and showed me all the things their school was doing that day. It is an integral part of our children’s lives and over the past ten years it is gaining greater recognition all over the world.
This year, Informatica’s Earth Day plans across the globe turned into a month of green awareness and activities. Informatica’s corporate citizenship program “Informatica Involved” launched a Global Earth Day Environment Campaign and challenged every employee worldwide to “Do One Green Thing” during the campaign.
The stories were pretty amazing, with employees in the US who are using compostable diapers to save landfill; who clean out any forgotten foods in the office fridge on Friday night for their compost areas or who recycle shipping pallets to turn them into garden boxes for their neighbors to grow vegetables and fruit. Our Dublin, Ireland office came together to devise a plan that increased their recycling efforts by 200% – they swapped out all the trash bins for cardboard trays that promoted more recycling; labeled all the light switches so people stopped turning every bank of lights on in the morning and gave prizes out to remind everyone to power down their equipment fully at night. The Bangalore office in India reprogrammed the printers ensuring that everyone swipes their ID card in order to collect their print job and thus saving a few trees by preventing those forgotten or unwanted jobs from seeing the outside of the printer.
The amazing results from people all around the world to get behind Earth Day would certainly suggest that it’s not just a new initiative that lasts for one day or even just one month. Many employees suggested we incorporate these activities into our everyday lives and continue to recognize and share progress at our quarterly company meetings.
My guess is that the determination that our employees show on a daily basis to build great products and delight customers will be a powerful force when applied to improving the environment. If you are working late on a Friday night, bring your own snacks as I am prepared to bet that PG&E check on the fact that our fridges will be empty and our compost bins full.