The kind of commitment to sustainability which Xerox demonstrates is very rare. It should be the norm.

Xerox power button
I had a phone call recently with Patty Calkins. Patty is Vice President of Environmental Health & Safety for Xerox Corp. I knew Xerox had a good environmental record but until talking to Patty, I had no idea just how good!

To put this in context, let’s take a quick look at how long they have been thinking about their environmental impact, as a company –

  • Xerox invented double-sided copying in 1969
  • In the early 1970′s Xerox introduced the 1st post consumer recycled paper products
  • In early 1980′s Xerox introduced products which automatically powered down (before Energy Star program was conceived)
  • Xerox was a founder member of Energy Star
  • In the 1980′s Xerox started rolling out its supplier requirements program
  • In early 1990′s Xerox started focussing in on the end-of-life of products in the design phase – designing in end-of-life considerations for asset re-use.
  • In late 90′s Xerox established a waste-free platform to design waste-free products, to manufacture in waste-free facilities, to enable waste free customer sites.
  • Then Xerox initiated a cartridge return program so Xerox designed cartridges for remanufacturing
  • In the early 2000′s Xerox kicked off its carbon footprint reduction program – called Energy Challenge 2012. The initial goal was for Xerox to reduce its Carbon Footprint by 10%, over its 2002 base year, by 2012, in absolute terms. By engaging the workforce, Xerox managed to shoot right by that target and hit 18% reductions by 2006. Xerox then upped it’s CO2 reduction target to to 25% by 2012. As of 2010 blew past that goal achieving 30% reductions against its 2002 baseline. Now Xerox are in the process of re-baselining because of the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Systems in early 2010. Xerox will use its 2010 figures to establish a new baseline and will announce its next carbon reduction goal.

Given such a stellar record, I shouldn’t have been surprised at how seriously they take sustainability at Xerox, but I was. Why? The phone call with Patty was incredibly information dense but I’ll try to sum up some of Xerox sustainability highlights.

Most organisations have far more print capability than they need and the print devices they have have an average utilisation rate of around 1-2%. The rest of the time, they are still drawing power, requiing maintenance, etc. To help organisations with this issue…