Celebrating Earth Day: An Inside Look at Our New Clean Energy Deal

As we celebrate Earth Day around the world, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how we care for our people and our planet. As a society, we’re collectively responsible for operating sustainably—both as individuals and as businesses—to reduce our negative environmental impact.

To be successful at this requires creativity and innovation, including finding new and different ways to use clean energy. We put some bold commitments in place several years ago at Workday to keep moving in a positive direction to protect our planet, and we’re certainly not slowing down. Earlier this year, we joined four other companies to pioneer the first clean energy deal of its kind with our first virtual purchase power agreement.

Through this partnership with Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc., and Salesforce, we’ve created the first-ever small aggregation clean energy deal. For 15 years, each corporate partner will purchase a portion of the power generated by a solar farm being built by BayWa r.e. in North Carolina, and together, we’re adding a significant amount of new clean energy to the grid. I’m really proud of how our five companies came together to make this happen, as such collaboration is relatively unique for this type of corporate sustainability investment.

As part of this aggregation clean energy deal, we will pay a fixed price for each unit of electricity we purchase from the 100 megawatt (MW) solar farm, which is expected to come online in mid-2020. Workday will have a 10 MW portion of the solar farm, or about 24,000 megawatt hours annually—that’s the equivalent of 21 football fields of solar panels, and capable of powering 2,222 homes for a year. We’ll use this electricity to power all four of our Workday data centers in nearby Ashburn, Va., which share the same power grid, with 100 percent renewable energy.

And, instead of having to purchase renewable energy credits from existing facilities at market rate, we’ll be able to achieve cost certainty and efficiency over the 15-year term of this solar farm investment.

Aside from the environmental impact, this deal aligns with our commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity. Our Workday operations currently run on 99.99 percent renewable electricity globally, and all 2,600 of our Workday customers are using our carbon-neutral cloud.

Keeping it Green

According to an internal survey, 96 percent of our Workmates believe that the company does its fair share to reduce its environmental impact, and many are involved in helping make a difference. One example is our Workday Green Team program, which continues to benefit the communities where we live and work.

With 60 Workday Green Team local leaders across 30 offices around the world, we see first-hand how our employees are empowered to be stewards of the Earth. So far in 2019, Workday Green Teams have helped a school district go green by implementing a composting, recycling, and landfill system; cleaned up the coast of Bull Island in Dublin, Ireland by recycling and composting hundreds of pounds of waste; and planted young trees in Auckland, New Zealand. And this year for Earth Day, our Green Teams have organized more than 30 events around the world.

We’re still early in the year, and I’m already proud of the impact that our company and our Workmates have made to help preserve our planet. As we all know, it’s a collective effort. It’s on all of us to continue to do our part to keep sustainability at the forefront of everything we do.