Office equipment giant Xerox, which has been worrying about corporate sustainability issues in a formal way since at least the early 1990s, says it reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent between 2002 and 2008.
The company is on track to reach its overall reduction goal of 25 percent by 2012, according to its 2009 Report on Global Citizenship.
For the naysayers who still think sustainability is cost-prohibitive, consider this statement from Xerox Chairman Anne Mulcahy:
“We were an early leader in the sustainability movement because we thought it was the right thing to do for the environment. But we discovered something else along the way. Every one of our innovations ended up either saving us money or creating new markets and new revenue. We found, in other words, that we don’t have to choose between the environment and profit. We can do both.”
Even companies like Xerox aren’t able to flip the switch overnight, which suggests patience and perseverance will guide successful sustainability strategy. An example: Roughly 80 percent of its products meet or exceed Energy Star standards; it will take until the end of next year to reach 90 percent, the company figures. It also takes a long time to reduce waste habits. The company reached an admirable internal recycling rate of 92 percent last year. It will make a “waste-free” goal part of future strategy. Over time, it has helped divert more than 2.2 billion pounds of waste from landfill since 1991.