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Motorola Struggles to Meet CO2 Emissions, Waste Reduction Goals

Motorola has reduced its CO2 emissions by 35 percent since 2005 thanks to energy-efficiency efforts, buying renewable energy and consolidating facilities, according to the company’s 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report. Despite reducing total emissions of CO2e since 2005, Motorola said normalized emissions increased slightly due to weaker sales in 2009.

As a result, the consumer electronics giant has set a new strategy to reduce its climate impact, including new goals for absolute and normalized emission reductions. Motorola has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from operations by 15 percent by the end of 2010, compared with 2005 (normalized to sales), and to cut its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent by the end of 2010, compared with 2000 to meet the company’s Chicago Climate Exchange commitment.

To help meet these goals, Motorola also plans to increase its purchase of electricity from renewable sources to 30 percent by 2020, and implement more energy-efficiency measures across its operations. So far, the company has purchased 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2010. Motorola was one of the EPA’s Top Green Power Purchasers in 2009.

In the U.S., Motorola purchases Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) that support electricity generation from wind energy.

Some of the energy-saving measures implemented in 2009 include improving control systems on heating and air-conditioning systems, using motion sensors to switch off lights, improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment, and modifying building management systems.

Although Motorola set 2010 goals to reduce hazardous waste by 30 percent from 2005 levels, the company produced 458 tons of hazardous waste in 2009 compared to 319 tons in 2005. Motorola attributes the significant increase to reclassification of electronics waste from non-hazardous to hazardous in China and Malaysia.

The company also plans to increase the recovery and recycling rate of non-hazardous waste to 90 percent in 2010, which decreased from 79 percent in 2008 to 75 percent in 2009.

In the product area, Motorola is developing eco-friendly phones, such as the MOTO W233 Renew and the MOTOCUBO A45 Eco, made using post-consumer recycled plastics and certified CarbonFree. The company’s design strategy includes the use of environmentally-preferred materials, higher amounts of recycled materials, reduced packaging and increased recyclability.

In addition to eco-friendly designs, the company said its products can contribute to the ICT industry’s goal to reduce global CO2 emissions by 15 percent and cut annual energy costs by $750 billion by 2020.

As an example, the company’s GPS products can help truck drivers cut fuel use and CO2 emissions by avoiding traffic. According to a Motorola study in 2008, U.S. transport executives found that trucks fitted with GPS technology travel 230 miles a week less on average, saving about 6 tons of CO2 emissions per year per truck.

Other environmental highlights include a 27 percent reduction in CO2e emissions from business travel, a savings of about 34,600 m2 of paper each year due to a shift to electronic statements, reduced water consumption from 3,534 cubic meters in 2005 to 2,308 cubic meters in 2009, and a reduction in volatile organic material (VOM) emissions by 64 percent since 2007.

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One thought on “Motorola Struggles to Meet CO2 Emissions, Waste Reduction Goals

  1. I am glad that Motorola is making the moves it is making. I would like to request nonetheless, that Environmental Leader not use terms like ‘eco-friendly’ when the tremendous impacts in a phone come not from the plastic shell, as good as recycled plastic is directionally. The impacts come from the mining and production of the metals and rare earth metals that make up the brains and batteries; the use, and very importantly, the batteries and leaching in a landfill (recycling rates are negligible). None of these are remotely environmentally friendly.
    So Yay for environmental improvements. AND, let’s have the transparency that would allow us to see the impact of these improvements relative to the total environmental impacts of a phone (including use and disposal). The manufacturing stage represents a couple of percentage points max of total environmental impacts from production of phone. Bring in use and disposal and it may well be a fraction of a percent.

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