Workday’s Corporate Sustainability: Measuring Up to Our Commitments

As the world’s nations gathered at the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties (COP 23) last month to address global climate change and carbon emissions, we’re reminded that every business must be an active and committed participant in helping to solve these critical problems.

At Workday, our approach towards environmental stewardship continues to focus on reducing our carbon footprint, investing in renewable energy, and working in partnership with our employees and other organizations to support a low-carbon economy.

Though we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as a company, we recognize there’s still more work to be done—sustainability is a journey, not a destination. To understand where we are on our journey, I wanted to share an update on our progress:

Reducing our carbon footprint. In April 2016, we announced our goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2021 across our offices, data centers, and business travel. We’ve made great progress since then, achieving net-zero carbon emissions across all of our offices and data centers worldwide. This also means that we’re providing more than 1,900 customers with a carbon-neutral cloud. Over the next three years, we’ll focus on achieving the same goal with our business travel—emissions from air travel and rental cars—and fully operate as a net-zero carbon emissions organization by 2021. We aim to outline a strategy to reduce our business travel emissions and identify the best method to fund high-quality carbon offset projects to help us meet our goal.

Ongoing renewable energy investments. We continue our commitment to power 100 percent of our global operations with renewable electricity, which we pledged to do in 2008. All of our data centers that run our cloud applications—in both the U.S. and Europe—are powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. We also continue to research strategic renewable energy investments such as on-site solar coupled with battery storage at our headquarters, while exploring innovative virtual power purchase agreements that provide clean energy to regional grids where we have operations.

Working in partnership. Additionally, we continue to collaborate with leading organizations to promote a low-carbon economy. As members of RE100, a partnership with global businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity, and Future of Internet Power, an initiative to enhance the procurement of renewable energy to power data centers, we have been able to further our commitment to sustainability with others in the industry.

Teamwork, green work. We’ve also placed a large focus on encouraging Workday employees to be conscious of their carbon footprints. For example, since we made our net-zero carbon emissions commitment, our Green Teams—a formal network of employees across our largest offices who volunteer their time to identify and promote practices that are good for the environment—have expanded to offices across the globe.

With the help of our Green Teams, we’ve empowered employees to reduce their carbon emissions. For example, we have encouraged employees to get involved through campaigns such as our annual Car-Free Week at Workday (resulting in 95 metric tons of emissions avoided over the past two years). Workday also offers employees a rechargeable battery program, on-site electric vehicle charging stations, and discounts through providers of home solar and zero-emission vehicles.

Where Are We Headed Next?

In addition to executing on our 2021 sustainability goals, we have some exciting projects in the works. Construction is underway for the new Workday development center (Dev Center) at our headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., which is being “built green” from the ground up. The Dev Center will incorporate on-site solar energy, drought-tolerant landscaping, a greywater recycling system, and will be constructed to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

These are just a few examples of our programs, and we’ll continue to look for and adopt new ways in which we can positively address the planet’s sustainability challenges.

Learn more about Workday’s sustainability initiatives in this video: