Avaya Presents at Historic U.N. Environment Assembly

Avaya representatives recently traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to participate in the first-ever United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the highest-level U.N. body ever convened on the environment.

Along with speaking at the inaugural UNEA, an honor in itself, Avaya reps also presented at the Sustainable Innovation Expo, where they demonstrated how the company’s technologies can assist governments and local communities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The bottom line? Avaya’s solutions are part of the solution. And the company doesn’t need to look far for an example.

Avaya’s implementation of its own telecommunications technology helped reduced its miles traveled by 44 percent–cutting roughly 44 million miles of travel–over the span of two years. From 2011 to 2013, the company emitted 46 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2), the equivalent of taking nearly 2,000 cars off the road for a year.

UNEA Avaya

In the presentation, Sara Broadbent, Avaya’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, and Sachin Jadhav, Kenya manager, pointed to customers that have enjoyed similar successes, like 3D Networks, a company that reduced travel costs by $35,000 per person after adopting Avaya technologies.

When climate change leads to climate disasters, Avaya is there too.

“When supporting emergency operations, the technology needs to work every minute of every day. There’s no time to reboot when help is needed, and every second saved saves lives,” explained Broadbent. “This is a key reason why Avaya is trusted to help government agencies when tragedy strikes.”

Most recently, Hurricane Sandy led calls into the New York 311 call center to skyrocket from a daily average of 55,000 calls to more than 250,000 calls. Avaya’s contact center technology proved reliable despite that monstrous 355+ percent increase in average traffic.

And when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was faced with power outages that impacted millions, they too trusted Avaya. The MTA set up 18 Scopia® virtual desktop war rooms for executive staff to handle the crisis, logging more than 1,000 hours of video conferencing in just three days.

During the UNEA presentation, Avaya also highlighted how its solutions support telemedicine and long-distance learning, while minimizing travel-related greenhouse gas emissions.

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Earth Day 2017: A Call for Education and Action … Because it Takes a Village (Truly!)

On Saturday, the world will come together for Earth Day 2017. I believe this is one of the most important days of the year because it’s a reminder of the responsibility we have to protect our planet, future generations, and each other (and we can all use reminders). This year’s campaign is about strengthening environmental and climate literacy. This is an especially relevant theme considering there are people who still challenge and debate the science driving climate change programs, initiatives, and legislation. To this end, it’s critical for us to recognize that unchecked pollution is the cause of climate change, and work to become climate literate so we can be voices for change. Remember, knowledge is power and that leads to action and progress—our only defense against the unprecedented threat that is climate change.

I have the good fortune of working for Avaya, a company that recognizes the unique opportunity we have to drive positive social, environmental and economic impact. We call this our Corporate Responsibility, and this spirit is reflected in everything we do, from upholding high ethical standards in the ways we conduct business to volunteering in our local communities and designing products that are energy efficient and require less hardware. (Learn more in our new Corporate Responsibility Report for Avaya’s 2016 Fiscal Year.) The primary reason for the environmental strides we’ve made can be attributed to our people. Corporate Responsibility is a mindset at Avaya. Our leaders and employees are educated, committed and active, and we continue to show we can move mountains with tight budgets and resources.

Why Companies Need to Lead in Protecting People and Our Planet

If we don’t, who will?

Look, it can be challenging. Getting the green light for programs that aren’t directly tied to revenue often requires perseverance. But we disregard the environment at our own peril. I believe businesses today have a moral obligation to act in ways that are thoughtful, balanced and compassionate, simply for the health of our people and our planet. Beyond that, though, behaving and acting in ways that positively strengthen our communities and the environment is just good business. It’s what customers and top talent have come to expect. Let me explain.

Millennials have recently surpassed boomers as the largest living generation. Also, as a whole, millennials are more passionate in their support of corporate social and environmental efforts. According to a study by Cone Communications, 24% of millennials believe they can make a difference in their community by buying products that support social causes, and 68% say a company’s social/environmental commitment is important or extremely important when deciding which products to buy. Similarly, according toNielsen, 51% of millennials will pay extra for sustainable products, and another 51% actively check the packaging for sustainable labeling. These are customers, and they’re paying attention.

What’s more, in just three years, millennials will account for 50% of the workforce. Now look at the following: A PricewaterhouseCoopers study reported that 88% of millennials prefer companies that emphasize corporate social responsibility, and 86% would consider leaving if their employer’s Corporate and Social Responsibility no longer met their expectations. If your retention and attrition strategy isn’t considering this data, you need to rethink it.

From where I sit, the connection between a meaningful corporate responsibility initiative and revenue is clear, and it’s direct.

Engage Your Employees

People ask me all the time how to do a lot with a little. After all, we’re operating in a time when budgets are scarce and resources are little. My answer is always this: turn to your employees. And Avaya has a great story.

The past several years, our company experienced a lot of change in its transformation to a software and services company. In spite of this, in 2015, we introduced our first-ever Avaya Month of Giving, a spirited 31-day campaign designed to bring together employees, suppliers and partners to make a difference in communities across the globe. In the run up to kick-off, I had a few people share with me their doubts that we could make this program successful. The thinking was that employees were busy, we had it in July during a high time for vacations, etc. But I never wavered in my belief it would be successful. I knew if we “leaned in” on our Avaya teams from around the globe, they’d deliver. And boy did they! In the words of Margaret Meade, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Collectively, the campaign raised approximately $250,000 for global charities, and engaged 60 employee teams across 32 Avaya locations and resulted in thousands of employees dedicating volunteer hours to charitable causes. Stunning! We followed that up with Month of Giving 2016, raising more than $200,000 for charities around the world. We’re aiming to exceed these numbers when Month of Giving rolls out later this year. #AvayaStrength

We’ve come full circle, back to where we began: our collective responsibility to our planet and to future generations. I can’t think of one reason for any company or individual to not invest all they can to help reverse the effects of climate change. In fact, there are more than a billion ways you can engage. #NoExcuses

As you head out on Saturday, hopefully to give back to your community in some way, I encourage you to keep top of mind the words of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” #EarthDay2017

Avaya Publishes 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report

This week, Avaya announced the release of our fiscal year 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report. The Report builds off of the company’s inaugural report, released last year, and illustrates the company’s key opportunities for making a positive difference in the world through its employees, products, customers and supply chain. A full copy of the report is available here.

At Avaya, corporate responsibility means considering the environmental, social, and economic impacts of doing business. Our corporate responsibility strategy is grounded in four focus areas: workplace, environment, marketplace, and community, and realized through programmatic initiatives that address the topics most important to our business and stakeholders.

As described in the report, in fiscal year 2015 Avaya:

  • Exceeded our five-year goal to reduce carbon emissions by 15 percent before 2015.
  • Reduced its carbon footprint from business operations by 14 percent in one year.
  • Became an affiliate member of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), which ensures safe and humane labor standards, environmentally responsible business practices and high ethical standards in the supply chain.
  • Made 95 percent of its applications available as virtual machines, reducing energy, hardware and costs for our customers.
  • Improved packaging designs to reduce shipping costs and environmental impact.
  • Partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps program to explore energy and cost-savings opportunities in our labs and data centers.
  • Joined with partners and suppliers to host the company’s first-ever Global Month of Giving, which raised approximately $250,000 for charitable organizations and engaged thousands of employees around the globe.

While we are pleased with the progress we have made over the last year, we recognize there is still more work to do. In 2016, we are focusing on furthering our commitment by establishing a dedicated fund to support charitable causes, and expanding our influence to create positive change through partnerships with customers and suppliers.

Some of the greatest benefits to society will be realized through the acceleration and adoption of our technology, which has the ability to increase productivity while minimizing risk, physical infrastructure footprints, operational costs, and stress on natural resources.

For example, a recent customer, Ballantyne Strong, cut travel costs by 80 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 27.25 metric tons of CO2e per year after adopting Avaya Scopia® video conferencing.

Avaya solutions are cloud-enabled, mobile, interoperable and engage people across time and space to quickly solve customer problems and meet the demands of a changing 21st-century workplace.

Our reach goes even further: A recent industry study from the Global-e Sustainability Initiative (GeSi) illustrates how the information and communication technology industry will play an important role in curbing climate change emissions and shaping a more equitable future. GeSi estimates that by 2030 “ICT will connect 1.6 billion more people to healthcare and half a billion more to e-learning,” and “can enable a 20 percent reduction of global CO2 emissions, holding emissions at 2015 levels.”

With the recent endorsement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Climate Agreement, which resulted in a legally binding agreement across 196 countries to take necessary action on global warming to limit global warming below 2°C, climate change is interconnected with the world’s most pressing challenges.

Sustainable development and climate change are impacting companies, governmental organizations and civil society, and solutions to these challenges are in high demand. Fortunately, the ICT industry is uniquely positioned to help. At Avaya, we recognize that we are part of this larger narrative, and are committed to engaging, advancing and sharing our progress with all of you.

Avaya Exceeds Environmental Goals Two Years Early

Avaya and the Environment

Avaya may be known for its bright red branding, but it’s making an impression for going green.

In 2009, Avaya declared an ambitious goal … reduce its carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2015.

This reporting year, more than two years early, Avaya has exceeded that goal, cutting its emissions by 25 percent. That’s more than a 66 percent reduction in carbon emissions, compared to the original goal.

Avaya has voluntarily tracked and reported its carbon footprint progress to the Carbon Disclosure Project. That progress includes major triumphs for Avaya, including huge reductions in its travel-related carbon footprint. In fact, Avaya cut travel-related greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent from 2011 to 2013.

Over the course of this past year, Avaya has showcased its technology as part of the climate change solution at high-profile United Nation events in Warsaw, Poland and Nairobi, Kenya.

While Avaya celebrates these achievements, the company continues to look for ways to reduce its carbon footprint further, reported Sara Broadbent, director of corporate responsibility and EHS.

This summer, an intern from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Fellowship Program joined Avaya to pinpoint energy and cost-saving devices for Avaya’s new Thornton, CO lab site. The EDF representative also worked with Avaya’s data center teams to ensure that customers have a “green Cloud.”

“Climate change continues to be one of the most pressing global issues of our time, and Avaya has taken a major thought leadership position, demonstrating how Avaya’s solutions can make our world a better place,” Broadbent said.