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.

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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

Meet Avaya’s Marine Corps Marathon Runners: Anna, Kelsey and Phil

This week’s runners of Team Avaya come to us from New York, Florida and Virginia (just a stone’s throw from the starting line). Learn more about this athletic bunch and why they’re proud to represent Avaya. Meet Anna, Kelsey and Phil …

Meet Team Avaya: Anna Winters

Anna Winters Avaya

Training for the Marine Corps 10k gives Anna Winters, global management development program, a special sense of pride as she recalls her father’s time spent in the Navy. Traveling from New York, Anna is excited to visit Washington, D.C. and run amongst the nation’s history.

Why did you choose to run the Marine Corps 10k?
I really love to network within the company. It’s great to unite with colleagues and do something fun together for a great cause.

What does the event mean to you?
For me, this event represents our armed forces. My dad was in the Navy and I really respect those who have sacrificed for us daily. Getting the honor to run in something on their behalf gives me a sense of pride.

How far you traveling and what are makes this event worth it?
I’ll be coming from New York. I think it’s awesome that Avaya is sponsoring this, and it’s great to be connected with the community of Avaya. I feel that I’ll get a lot more out of working here if I put forth the effort to be a part of the community and culture. That’s something that means a lot to me.

Why are you proud to run as part of Team Avaya?
It’s fantastic to represent the company. I believe in what we’re doing, I think we make a difference and I’m excited to really start a career here. It’s a great feeling to be a representative of something you’re involved in every day. I’m a face of Avaya all the time in sales, but being part of Team Avaya is a truly unique and unifying experience.

What does running mean to you?
It’s always been a great outlet for me. In college, I developed a passion for it, and there was a beautiful trail beside our place. Over the years, running has become very therapeutic and I’ve enjoyed the numerous health benefits it offers me.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?
The energy! Being in the nation’s capital, experiencing the unity of the athletes and keeping our armed forces in mind is incredible. Remembering our armed forces is something that, as Americans, I think we often take for granted. It will be great to refocus on how much their service means to our country. I think the day in general will be very patriotic and I love that.

Do you do anything special/unique to prepare yourself physically or mentally on race day?
For this particular race, I plan to spend the whole weekend there in D.C. enjoying the sights and monuments.

Meet Team Avaya: Kelsey Heine

Kelsey Heine, Avaya

Kelsey Heine, national account manager, Avaya Government Solutions, is no stranger to the D.C. area. With her home just a short walking distance from the starting line, Kelsey has the added benefit of training in the nation’s capital. Learn more about Kelsey and her 10k journey…

Why did you choose to run the Marine Corps 10k?
I choose to run in the 10k because I thought it would be a great opportunity to represent Avaya Gov and I wanted to show support for my brother Kevin. He is a sophomore in college at Towson University and was accepted last summer into the Platoon Leader Class Officer Program. This summer, he completed his first increment at Officer Candidate School and now has one more increment to go. After graduating from OCS, he will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant of the United States Marine Corps upon graduation from Towson. I am so incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication that he has shown toward achieving his goal of becoming a Marine and I am looking forward to running with him on the day of the event.

How far are you traveling, and what makes this event worth it?
I actually live in Arlington, VA in an area called Rosslyn, which is only a few minute walk to where the event starts and ends.

What does running mean to you?
As a member of the Avaya Gov team, it means a lot to be able to participate in this event. It is an amazing chance to be able to represent Avaya while showing support and appreciation for all the Marines who have valiantly served and are serving this country.

What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the 10k?
It would be hard for me to pick one memorable moment in the time that I have been preparing for the run, but what I love the most about living and training in Arlington/Washington D.C. are the views. I usually run on the Mount Vernon trail, which follows the Potomac River on the Virginia side, and from there I have a beautiful view of the monuments in D.C. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that I get to call this beautiful place home.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?
On race day, I am most looking forward to completing the run and spending time with the other Avaya team members that are going to be at the event. Even though there are only a few of us running from the Avaya Gov team I know a lot of them will be there volunteering. One of my favorite things about working at Avaya is all the wonderful people that I have met and get to work with on a daily basis.

Do you do anything special/unique to prepare yourself physically or mentally on race day?
Lucky for me, I am only running the 10k so as soon as I am starting to get tired all I’ll need to do is think of the people running the marathon in order to feel a little better. If that doesn’t help, I’ll probably think back to the lessons that I learned during the four years I played lacrosse at Ohio State. Those years taught me a lot about the power of mental toughness. You truly can accomplish anything when you put your mind to it and you have a “won’t stop, can’t stop” attitude.

Meet Team Avaya: Phil Omi

Phil Omi, Avaya

When Phil Omi (photo, far right) begins his marathon journey it will be the second time in as many years hitting the streets of D.C. to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. What pushes him to run? Read on to find out.

Why did you choose to run the Marine Corps Marathon/10k?
I ran the Marathon last year with a good friend of mine and had so much fun that I decided to do it again.

What does the event mean to you?
This run will be my fifth marathon in five years.

How are you training for it?
I am actually training for the Disney Dopey run in January and the D.C. marathon falls on a 17-mile training day. I am running five days a week and cross training the other two days.

How far are you traveling, and what makes this event worth it?
I am traveling over 800 miles from Florida. Washington D.C. is also a great location for a family vacation.

Why are you proud to run as part of Team Avaya?
Running with a team gives you the motivation to train a little harder, knowing that others may be depending on you.

What does running mean to you?
My wife and I started running five years ago after my second back surgery. I could barely walk when we started. After 18 weeks of training, we ran our first half marathon with Team in Training, which is a charity group that trains for endurance events and raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After that, I continued to run for my health. A few years later, we had a baby girl, Emma. She is my reason for running now.

What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the marathon/10k?
For me, there are really no memorable moments during training. It is usually just a blur.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?
I like the start of a race, when the energy level is high. In D.C., this is especially true with the Howitzer starting the race.

Do you do anything special/unique to prepare yourself physically or mentally on race day?
I am usually pretty quiet and focused on that morning. Anyone who knows me knows that running is the absolute last thing on my list of things I want to be doing. My goal is to get past the first three miles, and then I can start to focus on the rest of the day.

Meet Avaya’s Marine Corps Marathon Runners

“Oorah, soldier, get going,” yelled out a Marine in full uniform as Vinny Vercamen ran down a hill, nearing the finish line after 26.2 miles.

Two years prior, Vercamen would’ve laughed at the idea. Him? A marathon? He could barely get himself on the treadmill to run a mile!

But in 2004, Vercamen walked out of a routine doctor’s appointment with unexpected news: his cholesterol was high. Something needed to change.

Vercamen began running–a half-mile here, a mile there. What started as a necessity quickly morphed into a passion. In 2006, just two years after his doctor suggested he increase his cardio, Vercamen finished his third marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon.

Oorah, indeed.

And so, when Avaya Government Solutions presented the opportunity for Vercamen to tackle the course again, he couldn’t resist.

“It’s the best of both worlds – a chance to do this awesome, flat, beautiful race again with an improved time and to run for the company I work for and am proud of,” he explained.

Vercamen’s no stranger to the 26.2. In fact, he’s been conquering a marathon a year since that fateful doctor’s appointment… including the illustrious Boston Marathon in 2010.

“The Boston Marathon is the Cadillac of marathons,” he said, followed by a chuckle. “That’s like going to the Super Bowl as a football player.”

Heading into the Marine Corps Marathon, Vercamen’s looking to nail a personal record. To do that, he’ll need to maintain a 7:27 mile pace. He’s training with 60 to 70 miles a week, hitting the pavement for long runs, pacing at the track and doing bridge sprints.

Still, he’s most excited to be running for Team Avaya.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the other Avaya folks at the tent and getting everybody pumped up and motivated,” Vercamen said.

FUN FACTS:

  • Back in ’06, the day before the Marine Corps Marathon, Vercamen found out his wife was pregnant with their third child. She was waiting to tell him until after the race, but accidentally spilled the beans early!
  • Vercamen has been with the company for around 13 years in total.
  • Knowing Vercamen was an avid runner, US Service Provider Account Leader Emma Carpenter encouraged him to run as part of Team Avaya.

Meet John

John Roeder knows how to put mind over matter.

Roeder will take on the Marine Corps Marathon at the heels of one the most challenging, grueling events in America: the Blue Ridge Relay, a 208-mile running relay that treks through the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Roeder was part of a 12-person team for the relay and ran more than 1,000 feet of ascent and 2,000 of descent well into dawn.

Now, though his legs are still sore from the relay, Roeder’s getting his head back into training mode for his next challenge: keeping up with fellow Team Avaya member Vinny Vercamen.

It’s the competitor in him.

Roeder’s the youngest of five siblings, but other than birth order, he won’t settle for anything less than #1. He wakes up early in the morning, heads out on long runs and works out with a group of guys, too.

“I’m naturally competitive, and I also know I perform better when I’m exercising,” he said. “I become sharper and faster.”

And he’s ready to give the race all he’s got for–what he calls–“a great way to honor the Marines and a great race.”

FUN FACTS:

  • Most of the time, Roeder shows up just as a race is starting or (he joked) even late!
  • Though he’s been a consistent runner since college, he’s only run one marathon before, the Charlotte Run for Peace in 2003. He was so tired after his first marathon, he couldn’t bend over to untie his shoelaces!
  • His tenacious energy is an inspiration to his three kids, aged 10, 8 and 6. His daughter, the 8-year-old, brought a map of the Blue Ridge Relay race route to her classroom’s show-and-tell.