Did you see the New York Times article on Sunday Sept 23 titled "Power, Pollution, and the Internet"? If so, are you one of the three people of my acquaintance who did not send it to me?
Even my mother asked. This is what I told her: It's really not new, at least to those of us in the industry. And it's only half the story. I'm just sayin'...
I'm not in Tampa. But I was to have been. Until Isaac organized itself into a hurricane, I was to have been on a panel at a forum called "Conservative Thought and Sustainability". This falls squarely into the rapidly growing set of "things I do in my job that I never could have imagined". It also falls easily into the set of the most important things I can do in my job.
Because we can not afford to have sustainability become a partisan issue. We can't let it be stigmatized as a "leftie" or "liberal" concern. I know from personal experience that that is a very real risk:
Last year, I heard James Woolsey said something that has been a useful guide to my behavior in my role as CSO. He said (paraphrasing) that what needs to be done is so important that we can't demand the luxury of people having the motivation we want them to have; we must be satisfied with their taking the action that we want them to take.
It comes up often in my role. People say "we didn't do that to reduce GHG emissions; we did it to save money". My response? "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we lived in a world where saving money always reduced GHG emissions?" After all, isn't that our ideal - to have an economy in which what's right for the business is always good for the well-being of the planet and society?
There are so many reasons why sustainability is good for business. It helps attract, retain, and motivate the best talent. Our customers use it to differentiate products and suppliers in an increasingly commoditized world. Reducing waste improves the bottom line. Sustainable performance improves market value (or at least some studies say so). And it's good (I am convinced) for long-term shareholder value. As the Dow Jones Sustainability Index says, a sustainable business "creates long-term shareholder value by mitigating risks and embracing opportunities from economic, environmental, and social developments."
Speaking to student groups is absolutely one of the greatest parts of my job. The students are always so inspiring, often quite challenging, and sometimes the source of great ideas. But the most common question they ask is really quite mundane: "What is it you actually do when you come to work?"
I've blogged about this before, and much to my surprise, my blog entry with the greatest longevity has been the one from several years back called "A Day in the Life". Since I haven't blogged for 3 months (yes, I am ashamed), I thought I'd try to encapsulate what was consuming my mental energy all that time with a sequel. So herewith is "A Quarter in the Life of a CSO".
And before I dive in, let me reinforce that this is what I, Kathrin, have been busy doing for the last quarter. It is not what EMC has done - which is far, far more. The people who are really giving the lion's share of the effort to transform the way we work are those in supply chain, manufacturing, engineering, environmental health & safety (EHS), facilities, logistics, legal, investor relations, IT, and more.
So with that caveat, here's a good part of what I've been up to for the Spring of 2012:
One of the reasons that I tend to gravitate toward "influence roles" such as this one is that it exposes me to so many other disciplines and opportunities to learn. Some of these come in specific functional areas. Much of the education, though, comes more in the realm of skills and techniques that are broadly applicable to almost any job.
Take the question about whether to take the plunge and hand over control to one's audience. It turns out that this is a very scary thing to do, and many people don't do it well because they're not really willing to let go the reins.
I had two recent experiences, though - one as an audience member and one as the "let-goer" - that have convinced me it is a tremendously powerful technique to employ.
Disclaimer: I am not a big data specialist. Not even close. So please do not use this blog as a source for understanding big data or big data analytics.
What I am, though, is a big data aficionada. And you can use this blog as a source for understanding how pumped anyone can get about big data!
[Warning: possible political incorrectness ahead]
We believe in the importance of considering Scope 3 emissions.*
EMC was a sponsor of the WRI/WBCSD Scope 3 work. We have been reporting on emissions from business travel for six years, we have been collecting and examining emissions data from tier 1 suppliers for three years, we have been calculating emissions from the electricity to run our products for two years (and estimate it to be on the order of 8x our operational emissions including losses from power and cooling). We even made a conscious decision to *increase* our Scope 2 emissions from electricity to power a hybrid cooling system for our environmental chambers because of the much bigger reduction in the Scope 3 emissions from the production of LN2. It doesn't help our metrics, but it's the right thing to do.
We believe in the importance of considering Scope 3 emissions.
To a point.
[written morning of 2/3] It's only the morning of the first full day of Rio+2.0 at Stanford U, but already it's been worth it ... for ideas, information, new contacts, and especially inspiration.
My first encounter with other attendees was awaiting the shuttle to the Stanford campus. The other two women were from the USDA and from an international NGO, kicking off the sub theme of partnership between government, civil society and private industry right from the start. My dinner discussion on Big Data's role in sustainable development (topics included analyses of groundwater as well as water acquisition in India, climate change and adaptation, healthcare, pandemic prediction, challenges from acquisition of data, politics, and cultural barriers) added a good dose of academia to the mix.