How Telecommuting Can Save the Planet

How much did you travel last year? I imagine if you sat down and really thought about it, the answer would surprise you.

Here are some numbers to help you along:

• The average American (aged 25 to 54) spends 64 minutes per day in the car, which equates to about 35 miles per person, per day.

• The average commuter spends the equivalent of an entire work week stuck in traffic each year.

• Collectively, Americans drive about 250 billion miles per month.

• Last year, Americans pumped 169.9 billion gallons of gas and bought 815.3 million airplane tickets.

Every mile we travel impacts the environment. Another way to look at it is that every minute we don’t travel but can be productive from anywhere, also impacts the environment. Here at Avaya, many of the products we produce are designed to help companies lessen their impact on the planet–by reducing the number of unnecessary, work-related trips we make each day and more efficiently using the infrastructure that powers critical business functions.

On Nov. 20, I’m attending the United Nations’ Climate Action Sustainable Innovation Forum in Poland to talk about how technology is helping companies reduce their impact on the environment. I’m excited to be able to share real-world examples of Avaya customers who are already reducing their environmental footprint while improving their bottom line:

• In Australia, a tech company estimates that software-enabled collaboration via the Avaya Flare® Experience will help them save $35,000 per person, per year in travel costs and increase productivity by 30 percent.

• In Texas, a law firm was able to reduce its office space footprint from 17,000 square feet to 2,200 square feet, (saving about $60,000 per year in operating costs) by encouraging their 30 employees to regularly work from home part-time.

• A U.S.-based shipping and logistics company with multiple offices around the country estimates that they’re saving $40,000 to $60,000 per year in conventional, in-person training costs by setting up virtual offices for their contact center agents and other staff members. In addition to the tremendous cost savings, they’re experiencing a 300 percent increase in home agent productivity.

The benefits of remote work have been well-documented.

It’s estimated that 3.3 million Americans telecommute full-time, representing a little more than 2.5 percent of the total workforce, according to Global Workplace Analytics. The research group estimates that half of Americans are working jobs that are compatible with telecommuting. Teleworkers are, on average, 15- to 20 percent more productive than their colleagues at the office, according to the Society of Human Resource Management.

Global Workplace Analytics estimates that if every American with a telecommuting-compatible job worked from home just one day week, the country would save 2.3 million barrels of oil, or 423,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (the equivalent of taking 77,000 cars off the road for a year).

What does your company stand to gain by exploring better ways to work? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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For Avaya Stadium, It’s Easy Being Green!

Walk into Avaya Stadium, and you’ll be seeing green … and not just on the soccer field! Avaya Stadium, the first cloud-enabled venue in Major League Soccer, is also an innovator in sustainability. The cloud computing provided by Avaya is more energy-efficient than an on-premise data center. In fact, moving to the cloud has been shown to reduce energy demand by as much as 90 percent, according to our Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

The Stadium itself is a brownfield redevelopment with plenty of eco-friendly features. An 882-solar panel array sits atop the carport. With a peak capacity of 220kW, the system will generate enough power annually to offset all regular season gameday usage!

Around 90 percent of the steel used for the superstructure of the Stadium was recycled, and more than 3,500 lineal feet of wood was reclaimed from the nearby Moffett Field’s Hangar One, which saved dozens of trees in construction.

Also in the works is an onsite, edible garden. The garden, which will be presented in partnership with the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County, will grow vegetables to be used by the stadium’s concessions provider. With initiatives like these, there’s no doubt that Avaya Stadium will leave the planet on the winning side of every game.

How Avaya is Saving 1.5 Million Plastic Bags and Cutting Carbon Emissions

Reduce, reuse, recycle — that’s how Avaya will save 1.5 million plastic bags this year alone. In December 2014, Avaya began reusing plastic bags that were originally used to ship plastic kits to its factories, eliminating packaging redundancies. The change is just one of many recent efforts aimed at increasing efficiency, decreasing packaging and shipping and reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

Another key change revolves around product design.

Avaya changed some of the telephone sets’ foot-stand designs from a U-shape to a T-shape, reducing required materials. The streamlined design also allows the products to be shipped in smaller boxes, enabling more phones to be shipped per pallet.

Also in the works is a new, multi-pack system being implemented in August that will allow for more products to be shipped per pallet. The change will reduce the amount of shipments necessary, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

“These types of projects show the power of cross-functional teamwork,” said George Baker, senior manager, Operations Lifecycle Management. “So many people worked together from across the business to make these changes happen, and the results are impressive. We’re saving the company money and helping the planet–it’s a win-win.”

Overall, the changes will have Avaya seeing green—the company will lessen its environmental impact and save more than $1.35 million annually.

Avaya’s Sustainability Score Increases to 83/100

Avaya received a score of 83 out of a possible 100 points from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a global sustainability initiative important to Avaya customers such as AT&T, BT and Swisscom. The average score of the 3,400 companies that responded to the CDP survey was 53 points. Scores were based off disclosure and carbon reductions.

Avaya’s high CDP score is just another win in a slew of sustainability achievements for the company.

Since 2011, Avaya’s CDP score has steadily increased while its carbon footprint has continued to decrease. Earlier this year, Avaya announced a 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from its 2010 baseline, exceeding its original goal to reduce emissions 15 percent by 2015 two years ahead of schedule.

The company’s carbon footprint reductions can be attributed to real estate consolidation, greater utilization of office space and the adoption of Scopia® technology, which has led to a 46 percent reduction in business travel emissions since 2011.

Looking ahead, Avaya plans to reduce emissions even further by focusing on the supply chain and shipping products via ground and ocean rather than air.

“Avaya employees should be proud of its latest CDP score,” said Sara Broadbent, director, corporate responsibility. “Our customers care about the impact our business and products have on the environment, and our CDP score is a testimony to our commitment and how our technology is part of the climate change solution.”