Absolute efficiency: Lenovo tweaks climate change targets

It is the rare company that doesn't trumpet its progress or policy changes with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, but apparently hardware company Lenovo has updated same.The biggest shift is that Lenovo is now embracing absolute reductions.

It is the rare company that doesn't trumpet its progress or policy changes with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, but apparently hardware company Lenovo has updated same.

The biggest shift is that Lenovo is now embracing absolute reductions. That goes for its Scope 1 emissions -- it will buy enough offsets to cancel out its impact -- as well as for its scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to reductions relative to past efficiency metrics. This, in my estimation, will become a common theme, especially for the tech companies, as we move into the next phase of corporate sustainability programs. Lenovo already has achieved a 10 percent in carbon efficiency compared with 2007 to 2008 levels. This is the logical next step.

Specifically, Lenovo is shooting for a 10 percent reduction by March 2011, a 13 percent reduction by 2013, a 16 percent reduction by 2016 and a 20 percent reduction by 2010. It will do this through a combination of energy-efficiency equipment upgrades, the adoption of renewable energy technology, and the purchase of renewable energy certificates "where actual reductions are not technically or economically feasible." Lenovo's partner in offsets is NextEra Energy Resources, which has a substantial wind technology portfolio. Its initial commitment is 10,500 renewable energy certifications per year for three years.

Whoa, that got my attention: "Economically feasible." It demonstrates that many companies are not embracing green policies unless they are incented to do so. While makes me wonder: how can Lenovo expect its supply chain to get on board if it is not making some sacrifices? Lenovo intends to establish reduction targets related to the carbon footprint of its products -- and its supply chain -- by March 2012. The baseline will be set in March 2011.

From a technology standpoint, the absolute mindset will also drive product design.

Lenovo intends to increase the use of recycle materials in both the products themselves, ala its L Series ThinkPad notebook, which uses a substantial amount of post-consumer recycled content.

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