Energy & Climate Change Strategy

EMC’s primary GHG emissions arise from the electricity needed to run our business—including our supply chain—and power our products. Therefore, our energy and climate change strategy focuses on the following key areas:

I. Reducing emissions from our own operations by:
  • Decreasing the demand for energy
  • Maintaining a highly efficient infrastructure
  • Designing and operating data centers for energy efficiency
  • Identifying opportunities to adopt renewable energy sources that are economically and environmentally sound
II. Reducing emissions in our supply chain by:
  • Engaging suppliers in measuring and reporting
  • Collaborating with suppliers to reduce their emissions
  • Working with the IT industry to develop standards for reporting supply chain emissions
III. Reducing energy demand in our customers' IT infrastructures by:
  • Supplying energy-efficient products
  • Developing innovative approaches to manage the exponential growth of data in their operations
  • Delivering services to help customers implement the most energy-efficient solutions for their businesses
IV. Reducing global energy demand by
  • Supplying information solutions to optimize business functions, accelerate research, leverage data assets, and enhance public infrastructure


We began measuring our GHG emissions in 2005. Since then, our energy intensity by revenue—the amount of global GHG we emit per $1 million we earn—has declined by over 40 percent, from 32.47 to 19.09 metric tons. Based on 2012 data, we achieved our 2015 goal of reducing emissions per revenue by 40 percent from 2005. We’ve also made progress toward our other key performance indicators, including U.S. GHG emissions and global absolute GHG emissions. We did not meet our 2012 goal of reducing energy consumption per employee by 40 percent from the base year of 2005; however, we made significant progress by achieving a 36 percent reduction. In 2012, we gained efficiencies through investments in projects to reduce energy use and through incentives offered by local utility companies, including National Grid and NSTAR in Massachusetts, and Duke Energy in North Carolina. To learn more, visit the Data Dashboard and Efficient Facilities.

While we are pleased to have met our 2012 and 2015 emissions per revenue goals, we recognize there is more we can do to reduce emissions on a global scale. The following is a snapshot of our goal setting and revision process during the past seven years. As we think forward to 2013, we plan to further review our goals and targets to make sure they still closely align with our priorities and material issues.


To set our emissions targets, we began with the imperative to achieve an absolute reduction of at least 80 percent by 2050 in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth Assessment Report recommendations. We then modeled various reduction trajectories to help us identify a solution that would be elastic enough to adjust to changes in our business while achieving a peak in absolute emissions by 2015, in accordance with recommendations from the 2007 Bali Climate Declaration.

Our model was based on the Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-stabilizing Targets (C-FACT) proposal presented by Autodesk in 2009. The model calculates the annual percentage reduction in intensity required to achieve an absolute goal. We selected this approach because intensity targets better accommodate growth through acquisitions (in which net emissions have not changed but accountability for them has shifted), and aligns business performance with emissions reductions performance rather than forcing tradeoffs between them. Setting an intensity trajectory also drives investment beyond one-time reductions to those that can be sustained into the future.

The C-FACT system, however, is “front-loaded” as it requires a declining absolute reduction in intensity each year. EMC developed a variant of the model that requires reductions to be more aggressive than the previous year. This makes better economic sense for the company as it leverages the learning curve for alternative fuels as they become more efficient and cost-effective. Please see the figure at the left for more information about the trajectories studied.


We are committed to reporting our progress transparently and disclosing our GHG emissions annually to CDP. To learn more, see the link in the sidebar for our 2012 Response to CDP.

Our Ireland Center of Excellence (COE) also continues to participate in the European Emissions Trading Schemes, which is managed by the Ireland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While we have been significantly below our emissions allowances the past several years, the next period from 2013 to 2020 will be particularly challenging as it is expected that our allowance will be cut by an additional 30 percent. The Ireland EPA will issue allowances in 2013.

2012 Response to CDP

Renewable Energy

EMC’s reduction targets cannot be achieved through operational energy efficiency alone. Our corporate goal is to obtain 50 percent of electrical needs from renewable sources by 2040. We have continued working toward this goal by seeking renewable energy sources that are economically and environmentally sound. In 2012, our efforts included:

  • Continued investigation of a combined heat and power plant for a large U.S. site. Though we completed a feasibility study in 2011, we are still analyzing the cost-benefit analysis conducted in 2012 to determine the appropriate next steps to bring this project online.
  • Continued evaluation of the use of fuel cell technology for one of our U.S. locations. Findings showed that this technology will be most feasible for locations in the western region, but we continue to analyze the information to determine potential timing for introducing the technology.
  • Continued compilation of information from the meteorological tower we installed in 2011 to collect wind data at our headquarters in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. The 18 months of data has determined that wind conditions favor installation of one or more wind turbines. Thinking forward to 2013, we’ll be further exploring how to bring this project online.
  • Conducting additional research on solar energy options and evaluating the expected payback period and return on investment.

EMC purchased 175,000 MWh of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in support of renewable energy generated in the U.S. during 2012. The RECs purchased supported renewable electricity delivered to the national power grid by alternative energy sources. The RECs are third-party verified by Green-e Energy to meet strict environmental and consumer protection standards. The 175,000 MWh represents over 30 percent of the grid electricity consumed at all U.S. EMC facilities including all divisions during 2012.


At EMC, we strive to increase the breadth and depth of our GHG reporting. In 2012, we reported on five of the 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions based on the WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard. These reported categories, listed as follows, represent the greatest opportunity to drive improvement through our own actions and influence.

Business Travel

We track global corporate business travel miles from commercial flight and rail via our corporate American Express accounts. Beginning in 2012, we also accounted for the emissions associated with global business travel car rentals in our Scope 3 accounting efforts. The methodology for calculating the emissions associated with business travel is aligned with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.

We are undertaking specific actions to reduce GHG emissions associated with employee business travel by implementing changes in technology, business processes, and resource management. We continue to expand technology to perform changes to customer technical environments from remote support centers in lieu of sending an engineer to the customer’s site resulting in reduced travel emissions. A substantial amount of work that previously required travel to a customer location is now being performed remotely. We have implemented other initiatives that will impact Scope 3 business travel emissions over time including increased use of high-definition video conferencing and job role/skill redesign to reduce the number of different individuals required to perform common services. To learn more, visit Employee Travel & Commuting.

Employee Commuting

EMC maintains a comprehensive employee commuter services program focused on minimizing single-occupancy vehicles and unnecessary local employee travel. In 2012, we expanded these efforts by launching a work-from-home pilot program at the Cork COE and introducing a carpooling tool called iPOOL at the India COE. EMC was again named as one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters by the Center for Urban Transportation Research, a program formerly administered by the U.S. EPA. For the second year in a row, EMC received the Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) award at the highest Pinnacle level. The ECO Awards celebrate Massachusetts employers and their efforts to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging employees to utilize green transportation options. To learn more about our employee commuting programs, visit Employee Travel & Commuting.

Purchased Goods & Services

In 2012, we collected Scope 1 and 2 emissions data from direct Tier 1 suppliers comprising 98 percent of annual spend. Using economic allocation, we then approximated our share of these emissions. This involves determining the ratio of our spend to each company’s revenue, and applying that ratio to their reported emissions. While approximate at best, this methodology follows the WRI GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard and is currently the best available option given the level of data reported. Because this allocation approach requires access to supplier revenues, a small number of private companies were excluded from the analysis. To learn more, visit Supply Chain Social and Environmental Responsibility.

Transportation & Logistics

EMC’s Global Logistics Operations generated approximately 167,362 metric tons CO2e in 2012. This number is estimated using the GHG emissions reports from our logistics partners and covers inbound, outbound, interplant, and customer service transportation and logistics. In 2012, we collected emissions reports from carriers representing 75 percent of our logistics spend and extrapolated total emissions based on the reports we received. To learn more, visit Transportation & Logistics.

Use of sold products

EMC estimates that the lifetime GHG emissions from use of EMC products shipped to customers during 2012 will be approximately 3,683,725 metric tons CO2e. This value represents our customers’ Scope 2 emissions from powering our equipment. It is based on an estimated product lifespan of five years, and includes overhead for power distribution and cooling with an average Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) of 1.8. EMC’s configurations vary substantially from customer to customer as well as over time within a single customer. As such, it is not possible to sum the expected emissions from each and every system shipped in 2012. Rather, this estimate is based on the measured power consumption of disk drives, the inventory of disk drives shipped in 2012, an engineering estimate that 80 percent of system power is attributable to the disk subsystems, and an extremely conservative average system utilization of 90 percent. EMC used GHG Protocol methodology and a global average emissions factor of 569.3309 g CO2e per kWh. The IEA 2010 World CO2 emissions factor published in 2012 and IEA 1999-2002 CH4 and N2O emissions factors were applied. The global warming potentials, which were obtained from the IPCC SAR-100, are 1 for carbon dioxide, 21 for methane, and 310 for nitrous oxide. We believe the total is conservative (i.e., that the directly measured value, if feasible to obtain, would be lower) as our calculation takes into consideration neither the reduction over time in carbon-intensity of fuel used by our customers, nor improvements in data center power and cooling efficiency.

Environmental Lifecycle Analyses conducted prior to 2012 confirmed our expectations that more than 90 percent of lifecycle impacts are due to electricity consumed during the product use phase. Armed with this insight, in 2012 we continued efforts to design more efficient products and communicated more frequently with our end-use customers about using products more efficiently. This included drafting and distributing white papers on product energy attributes, both built-in (e.g., efficient power supplies, adaptive cooling, solid state drives, high-capacity hard disk drives) and operational (Fully Automated Storage Tiering, Virtual Provisioning, compression, and data de-duplication), to help our customers realize more energy efficiencies during product use. To learn more, visit Efficient Products.