Do They Practice What They Preach and Sell?

By M. David Stone  |  Posted 2008-11-07 Print this article Print


7. Does the Company Have Any Stated Sustainability Goals?

Some companies have official long-term goals for energy efficiency or other key sustainability issues.  Xerox, for example, set a goal in 2005 to lower its worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent (from 2002 levels) by 2012, even while growing the company.  In 2007, it announced that it had already exceeded the original goal and was now aiming at a 25 percent reduction (compared with the original 2002 levels once again) by 2012.  Ask whether the company has set any goals for itself and whether it has a track record of setting and meeting goals in the past.

8. What Programs Does the Company Take Part In? 

Find out what environmental programs the companies you deal with participate in, and research the programs if you're not familiar with them.  Two that are worth keeping in mind are the EPA SmartWay and BRT (Business Roundtable) Climate RESOLVE programs.  (RESOLVE is an acronym for Responsible Environmental Steps, Opportunities to Lead by Voluntary Efforts.)

The EPA SmartWay transportation programs apply to products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions, resulting in "significant, measurable air quality and/or greenhouse gas improvements." EPA SmartWay partners include both shippers (Canon, for example) and transportation companies. You might want to ask the companies you buy from if they are SmartWay partners or use transportation companies that are.

The BRT Climate RESOLVE program is, similarly, a voluntary effort to "reduce, offset or sequester" greenhouse gas emissions.

9. What Else Does the Company Do to Encourage Sustainability?

As may be obvious, the questions here are nowhere near exhaustive and aren't meant to be. Different companies can take totally different approaches to green issues, yet still qualify as making significant strides toward sustainability. So be sure to ask an open-ended question about what else the company is doing on green issues.  And be prepared to judge each company by the mosaic of everything it does, rather than focusing on a few specific items.


M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant with special areas of expertise in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. His 25 years of experience in writing about science and technology includes a nearly 20-year concentration on PC hardware and software. He also has a proven track record of making technical issues easy for non-technical readers to understand, while holding the interest of more knowledgeable readers. Writing credits include eight computer-related books, major contributions to four others, and more than 2,000 articles in national and worldwide computer and general interest publications. His two most recent books are The Underground Guide to Color Printers (Addison-Wesley, 1996) and Troubleshooting Your PC, (Microsoft Press, 2000, with co-author Alfred Poor).

Much of David's current writing is for PC Magazine, where he has been a frequent contributor since 1983 and a contributing editor since 1987. His work includes feature articles, special projects, reviews, and both hardware and software solutions for PC Magazine's Solutions columns. He also contributes to other magazines, including Wired. As Computers Editor at Science Digest from 1984 until the magazine stopped publication, he wrote both a monthly column and additional articles. His newspaper column on computers appeared in the Newark Star Ledger from 1995 through 1997.

Non-computer-related work includes the Project Data Book for NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (written for GE's Astro-Space Division), and magazine articles and AV productions on subjects ranging from cosmology to ape language experiments. David also develops and writes testing scripts for leading computer magazines, including PC Magazine's PC Labs. His scripts have covered a wide range of subjects, including computers, scanners, printers, modems, word processors, fax modems, and communications software. He lives just outside of New York City, and considers himself a New Yorker at heart.


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