A Great Milestone

Today we announced that we have met our original GHG reduction goal, by achieving a 23% absolute reduction below 2002 levels for the US. I’m excited and proud that we made this milestone well ahead of schedule.

As part of the announcement we also went public with our new goal of a further 20% absolute reduction of our global impact by 2015.

A couple of quick notes. First, why US only? When we set the goal we only had a decent handle on our US emissions. Obviously it would be better if this were a global result, but we’ve been applying the same techniques in other parts of the world (primarily OpenWork and more efficient datacenters), so I’m confident that we have seen solid improvements elsewhere as well. Also note that our new goal is global.

Second, where did the reductions come from? All of the reductions are a result of changes to operations, practices and the physical plant. Other than the makeup of the power that we get from our utilities, there were no additional purchases of greener energy. Also, there were no offsets or other onetime savings. In other words, the changes that we’ve done have resulted in a “permanent” reset of our energy and emissions baseline.

And, what did this cost? All of the major changes have had (or are on the way to having) a positive financial return. So while there were short term costs, sometimes in capital, sometimes in driving process change, etc, these activities have resulted in a net decrease in the cost to run Sun day in and day out. We’re hoping that we can repeat that same kind of result as we meet this new goal. We have a bunch of targets that should have a good return, but we aren’t quite sure we can get the full 20% that way yet.

Finally, thanks to all of the individuals and groups at Sun who helped us make this goal. Well done!