Environmental, Social & Governance3 min read

VMware at Climate Week 2019

Nicola Acutt

Climate Week 2019

This week, leaders from around the world are convening in New York for the United Nation’s Climate Summit. The goal is to gather consensus on how we double down on commitments and actions to curb carbon emissions globally. VMware is participating, offering our point of view on the urgency of climate change, sharing the steps we’re taking, and collaborating with other leaders on bold actions. According to the U.N.’s report, as a society we need to shift 70-85 percent of electricity to renewable energy sources by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’re focused on at the convening, as well as a summary of our milestones:

  • We are announcing our commitment to EV100, a global initiative made up of companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and making electric transport the new normal by 2030. We’ll continue to implement various programs across our global sites–from investing in EV charging infrastructure to partnering on projects to enable electric transportation. This is particularly important since the transport sector is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change, accounting for 23% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. We’re also announcing our recent achievement of procuring 100% renewable energy for our operations a year ahead of schedule.
  • We’re participating in the Sustainable Development Impact summit, the World Economic Forum's annual meeting. I will be a panelist and facilitator for a workshop on how tech companies can be more responsible. We believe in order to avoid the unintended consequences of technology, we need a renewed focus on “Engineering for Good” and “Good Engineering.”
  • VMware’s CFO, Zane Rowe, recently signed up to be a part of the World Economic Forum’s founding network for Accounting for Sustainability (A4S). We have set a goal to develop and document the VMware finance vision and journey for sustainable business practices, ESG disclosures and non-financial reporting. We will be attending a workshop to collaborate with other A4S members in developing tools, methodologies and approaches.

A Summary of our Milestones

Recently, we released our 2018 Global Impact Report, which provides a look back at our progress against our 2020 goals across our products, planet and people. Here are some highlights:

  • Data centers account for 2% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Our virtualization technologies make IT infrastructure dramatically more efficient. Because our products help people use less hardware more intelligently, according to our newly released report by IDC, since 2003, VMware technologies have helped our customers avoid putting 664 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—equivalent to powering 100M U.S. households, or the populations of Spain, Germany and France combined for one year.
  • We are creating the first renewable-energy powered microgrid at our headquarters in collaboration with the City of Palo Alto that will serve as an innovation lab for microgrid technologies. The grid is a major source of carbon emissions, generating almost two-thirds of its electricity from fossil fuel sources such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Renewable-energy-powered community microgrids reimagine how energy distribution should work, and communities can move away from a centralized distribution model toward independent, energy-resilient, clean-powered local systems.
  • We announced we are a certified CarbonNeutral® company, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, two years ahead of our scheduled goal.
  • Last 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 have 17 LEED® certified buildings including 4 LEED® Platinum certifications—one at our office in Bangalore, India, and one at our data center in Washington State in the US, and two at our Palo Alto headquarters.

Achieving the Paris Agreement targets and reductions in carbon intensity largely depends upon an ability to create resilient organizations and a global capacity for innovation. We’re focused on both. Moving to a net zero economy by 2050 requires a systems approach and we look forward to joining forces with other leaders during Climate Week, as we work together to innovate and create bold actions we can all take part in to reverse global warming. The urgency is real, but I’m optimistic because VMware is leaning in and we’re committed to leading responsibly. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:


“The Peacemaker taught us about the Seven Generations. He said, when you sit in council for the welfare of the people, you must not think of yourself or of your family, not even of your generation. He said, make your decisions on behalf of the seven generations coming, so that they may enjoy what you have today.”
 – OREN LYONS (SENECA), Faithkeeper, Onondaga Nation