Environmental, Social & Governance3 min read

Achieving Carbon Neutrality

Nicola Acutt

In 2016, we launched VMware 2020, our global impact vision to serve as a force for good. We committed to clear and ambitious goals for the year 2020, including becoming carbon neutral across our global operations, and I’m incredibly proud that we have reached that target two years ahead of schedule. We did this through a combination of energy-efficiency initiatives, renewable energy projects and purchasing and delivering financing to low-carbon, sustainable development projects. We have also completed the process to become a certified CarbonNeutral® company, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. This represents both a significant step toward fulfilling our commitment to long-term sustainability and global impact, as well as our commitment to accountability and transparency in the management of our environmental footprint.

A Milestone, Not the Finish Line

This turning point in VMware’s history is critical, given the urgency of climate change. Yet reaching carbon neutrality is a milestone, not our final destination. Ultimately, the goal is to not only slow down global warming, but to do what we can to reverse the trend. Earlier this year, with 21 other companies, we launched the Step Up Declaration, an alliance harnessing the power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors, and ensure a climate turning point by 2020. The alliance’s declaration states: “We need to be held, and hold each other, accountable to rise to the greatest challenge the world has ever seen.”

We must work together to create an economy that will enable dramatic reductions in emissions and build resilience. That means a worldwide collaborative effort of transitioning from the old fossil-fuel-based economy to a low-carbon economy. VMware is setting its sights on innovations that not only impact our operations, such as becoming a CarbonNeutral® company, but also have the potential to inspire innovation for others.

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Empowering Businesses to Thrive in a Low-Carbon Economy

Data centers are responsible for two percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—roughly the same as global air travel. Our virtualization technologies make IT infrastructure dramatically more efficient, fundamentally changing how our customers use power. Through our technologies, we’ve helped customers avoid putting 540 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—equivalent to powering 68 percent of U.S. households for one year—and a major reason we finished #17 in Fortune’s 2018 Change the World list.

Our long-term goal is to decouple business and IT infrastructure growth from rising carbon emissions, and we relentlessly innovate to further reduce the carbon intensity of IT, including introducing the carbon cost of (infrastructure) growth (CCoG), a new measure we’re developing that estimates the amount of carbon emissions required to sustain an organization’s infrastructure growth rate.

Innovating in Everything We Do

Our commitment to innovating for good extends across our business, in three important dimensions:

  • Our Products: Creating innovative technology that contributes lasting net-positive value to our customers and our partner ecosystem.
  • Our People: Building platforms for a diverse and inclusive environment that enriches lives at work, at home and in the community, while inspiring our people to give more than they take.
  • Our Planet: Doing more than our fair share to be at the forefront of environmental sustainability in our global business practices and operations.

As I reflect on the last two years, I’m proud of our accomplishments and admire how our team is already thinking ahead and developing a long-term strategy to steer us to 2030. Our goal is to leave ahead a better future—to put back more than what we take—because, to me, there’s nothing more important than creating a more innovative, sustainable and equitable world.

Collaboration is key to creating an economy that enables dramatic reductions in carbon emissions and builds climate resilience. Companies in the technology sector have an opportunity to lead and create opportunities for others to act on climate—and VMware has set its sights on doing just that. Reaching carbon neutrality two years ahead of schedule is one example of what this leadership can look like.