Intuit Releases First Sustainability Report

by M. Sharon Baker on December 6, 2011
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Increasingly, companies are adopting sustainability reporting as part of their efforts to become good corporate citizens and demonstrate they are operating in an environmentally responsive manner.

Many times, these efforts are spearheaded by employees who see waste and ways their employers could do more as part of an effort to stem global warming and preserve the environment for generations to come.

Intuit launched its companywide sustainability initiatives in 2007, and for the first time is issuing a status report on its progress.

In its 2011 Corporate Sustainability Report, Intuit reveals not only how it has gone way beyond cutting its waste and power usage, but also provides details on several innovative projects like Freecycle@Work and the Waste Watch Program, a crowdsourcing site where employees can report unfriendly or wasteful practices.

In 2011, Newsweek rewarded the company for its efforts, ranking Intuit as the 30th greenest company in the U.S., up from 55th a year earlier. Intuit’s current goals include reducing the company’s carbon footprint, its energy usage, water consumption, and overall waste generated.

Interesting results highlighted in the report include how Intuit:

  • Reduced emissions by 5 percent from product packaging and marketing materials it sources, makes, and ships.
  • Adopted Zimride, a social network for ridesharing, and logged close to a 1 million-reduction in miles, saving 350 tons of CO2 emissions.
  • More than doubled the number of videoconferencing rooms to 165, with videoconferencing hours increasing fivefold to 3,761 per month.
  • In partnership with FRG Waste, managed waste, diverting 60 percent of its waste stream.
  • Helped customers using Intuit products reduce their paper use, saving 718 million pieces of paper in 2011. The goal of saving 1 billion pieces annually would save 400 acres of forestland.

Solar Panels, Fuel Cells, and Hydropower Cut Power Costs

In addition to taking common energy saving steps like putting timers on lights and heating controls, Intuit is aggressively looking to lower its power costs in new and existing buildings.

The IT team drastically reduced its data center footprint through consolidation and co-location, shifting some operations to a Quincy, Wash.-based facility powered by hydropower.

Intuit will install fuel cells from Bloom Energy in its Woodland Hills, Calif. facility, which has the company’s highest electricity rate per kilowatt-hour, a move that will save 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. The fuel cells will be powered by less costly natural gas and biofuels. When the system is complete in October 2012, it will generate 67 percent of the building’s power.

The company is also installing solar panels on one of the main Mountain View, Calif. headquarter buildings, and installing a solar hot water generator, which will help the building achieve LEED Silver certification.

Worldwide Freecycle, Waste Watch Whistleblower Site

Intuit encourages its employees to help determine how the company should change its practices. Two innovative programs created by employees are worthy of note:

Freecycle@Work: Created by employee Tom Cushna, Freecyle@Work is a free application that’s helping employees and corporations worldwide share unused items, from unneeded smart phones to old tricycles. More than 2,300 organizations have used the service, found at Freecycle@work.org, including Netflix, NASA, and the United Nations.

Waste Watch Program: WWP is a crowdsourcing site that lets employees draw attention to wasteful practices. It was created after a customer created a YouTube video chiding Intuit for wasteful packaging that came with his monthly service invoice. The site has helped Intuit:

  • Eliminate Styrofoam companywide
  • Stop advertising to employees with mailers and other marketing materials
  • Cut back on logo trinkets for employees
  • Reduce food waste by notifying people of available leftovers from meetings
  • Do away with unnecessary desktop printers rely more on multifunction copy room.

Intuit executives admit that while they have made some progress, there is still a long way to go to reach their goal of reducing emissions by 15 percent by the end of 2012.

To Learn more about Intuit’s journey and sustainability, visit www.intuit.com/sustainability.

Have thoughts or ideas to share? Intuit wants to hear from you. Send an email to green@intuit.com.

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