In the spirit of Earth Day, we wanted to highlight a partner committed to grass-roots green initiatives. We spoke with Qualtrics’ ESG team about Qualtrics’ sustainability goals and how their partnership with Revivn fits into that.
Q: What are your company's overall sustainability goals and how are they integrated into your business strategy?
A: Qualtrics believes in closing experience gaps. These gaps––the difference between what companies believe is happening and what is actually happening––are where poor experiences live. We are in the business of both finding and fixing these gaps, and we look at improving the world’s experiences holistically. We aim to leave behind a better world, for our customers, employees, and everyone in between.
As a SaaS company, the places where we can make an impact are in our physical facilities, marshaling employees in employee resource groups, guiding other organizations through thought leadership, and with our Qualtrics software product (helping clients with their ESG efforts).
We have enacted green initiatives on an office-by-office location, and we are working on expanding programs to as many offices as possible. We can advise on what data organizations should gather, help collect insights, and then synthesize them in organization-wide accessible dashboards with clearly communicated results (see this blog post about how HR interacts with ESG.) Our ESG solution enables leaders to assemble the perspectives of stakeholders and make data-driven decisions on how to achieve their ESG objectives while also improving their employees', customers', and brand's experiences.
Q: Can you provide examples of specific sustainability initiatives your company has implemented in the past and what impact have they had?
A: Energy Efficiency
Legacy light bulbs have been overwhelmingly replaced with LEDs. Our HQ building utilizes light harvesting, and many of our buildings have light motion detection or stop timers. We have also drastically reduced printing and encourage our clients to accept soft copies of documentation. Our Seattle HQ is a LEED Certified Platinum office, as are our Chicago, NYC, and Krakow buildings. Our Sydney building (APJ HQ) is 5 Star Green Star rated, and our Reston building is LEED 2009 O+M. Our Toronto building has BOMA Best Green Certification and is currently in the process of obtaining LEED Gold EB:O&M Certification. Together, ~20% of our employees work in certified sustainable buildings.
Our Provo HQ has greenscapes that are maintained via strategic watering including drip irrigation, sheltered root systems, and timing to reduce evaporation. We utilize arid-adapted plants and use recycled water. In general, plants across the buildings are watered just enough to maintain life and promote air quality both in and surrounding offices.
We localize commuter benefits for our various offices. These include subsidies for public transport such as the Seattle Orca card, Sydney Opal, Salt Lake Frontrunner Train, or flat rate transit stipend for other regions.
Most buildings have showers that employees can use should they bike, scooter, or walk to work. Most buildings also have bike rooms with equipment to fix bikes. We provide free Electric Vehicle Charging in the majority of our offices including Provo, Dallas, Seattle, and Sydney.
Our 8 largest offices utilize reusable cups and dishes for drinks and meals, with plans to implement in our other offices. We have implemented highly efficient washing machines that have low water use and short wash cycles. Disposable utensils and dishes are being phased out. The majority of disposables still in use are compostable.
Our snack program has been modified to reduce under-consumed and individually-packaged snacks to reduce plastic waste. We utilize beverage dispenser machines that provide a variety of drinks, which reduces the need for single-use bottles and cans. The offices also have bulk-production coffee machines that use whole beans.
The majority of Qualtrics offices utilize catering companies to provide bulk, locally sourced meals. For example, our Provo HQ uses a local woman-run catering business to supply daily meals and run the cafe for ~1,200 employees. In our Seattle office, we have reduced meat-centric meals. Our Chicago office uses a company called BluePlate, which was the first Green Certified Caterer in Chicago (2011). They have been engaging in sustainable practices since 2010. In 2017, they became a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant® with the Green Restaurant Association. Certain offices also have food donation programs to reduce waste and efficiently allocate food to underserved groups. Our annual X4 conference partnered with a local Salt Lake non-profit to rescue unused surplus food.
Data Centers & Efficient Cloud Operations
Our secure and efficient data center partner has a global climate-neutral goal of 2030 with science-based targets. They are currently working toward this goal and will continue to embed decarbonization actions across their business and supply chain. They also push internally for green-based measures among their employees.
E-waste and Repurposing
Qualtrics works with Revivn to facilitate end-of-life hardware repurposing and recycling globally. Revivin complies with all DoD standards, holds multiple ISO certificates, and ensures that hardware can reach its maximum lifecycle, with a focus on reuse, even if damaged. They hold multiple environmental certifications including R2 and comply with e-stewards. They are also a B Corp that provides lower costs and access to hardware for underserved groups.
Recycling and Compost
Personal garbage cans are being phased out in favor of single location garbage and recycling drop points to encourage recycling and promote mindfulness of waste creation. Our recycling bins have pictures displaying what can and cannot be thrown into them. Where possible, due to regional city limitations, offices also have composting programs.
Q: What are some of the biggest sustainability challenges your company is currently facing, and how are you addressing them?
A: We lease many of our office locations, so adopting certain eco-conscious office solutions can be limited. We are also limited to government and community resources that surround our office locations (such as composting availability, electricity generation, etc.). We are in the process of better understanding the finer details of what we can and cannot control and adjusting based on that information.
Q: How does sustainability factor into your company's decision-making processes and culture, and how do you ensure that it remains a priority across the organization?
A: Our Employee group, Green Team, champions grass-roots green initiatives and aids in decision making. Sustainability is a strong contributor in company decisions. The Qualtrics culture in general is concerned with sustainability, especially since we are headquartered in Utah, where the environment is top-of-mind for residents.
Q: What steps do you want to encourage others to take this Earth Day to make a positive impact in our world?
A: We want to encourage people to look into local opportunities! Every little bit counts, whether it’s a community clean-up, or volunteering to donate unused food resources. Often, people want to help, they just don’t know how. Compiling a list of local opportunities for you, your friends, or your coworkers to participate in is a great place to start. Each year, Qualtrics employees celebrate “XM Day” by taking time to focus on improving experiences in our communities. This year, many participated in sustainability-related activities including local community clean ups at Rush Beach, the Petaluma River, the Anacostia River Trail, our Seattle and Provo office parking lots, Beaver Lake Park, Dublin City Center, Great Falls National Park, and the Provo River. Employees also volunteered redistributing food, clothes, and other resources around the globe. Additionally, we encourage getting involved in local politics to advocate and vote for a sustainable legislature.
Q: How has the partnership with Revivn positively impacted your sustainability goals and strategy?
A: Revivn has optimized our end of life process, which has allowed more hardware to be repurposed safely and for a fantastic cause. Revivn removes security and procurement concerns while saving our internal teams absorbent amounts of time. Over the duration of our partnership so far, Revivn has helped us repurpose or recycle over thousands of assets and services multiple locations nationally and internationally.