A Sustainable Future, Built by Data

A Sustainable Future, Built by Data

As one of the world’s most ethical companies, we believe embracing transparency with our stakeholders is critical to make a positive impact on people, products, and the planet, together. That’s why I am excited to reveal our 2020 Sustainability Report to share our corporate social responsibility journey and progress in key strategic areas. I’ll cover the major highlights from the report below.

Less Energy, Reduced Waste, Healthier World

We’ve been hard at work reducing our carbon footprint. The first way that we’ve done this is by reducing our energy consumption. Since 2016, we reduced our energy intensity – the amount of energy needed to produce a single unit of data storage – by 44 percent.  That achievement is the result of focused technical innovation across our engineering, logistics, manufacturing, and R&D teams. Beyond this, we decreased our annual Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 12 percent – all while being increasingly powered by electricity produced from renewable sources. This means that we can scale manufacturing of our data storage products and solutions up, while remaining energy-conscious.

We have also been cutting back on the volume of paper used in our consumer product packaging, and we are now saving 730,000 kilograms of paper annually – largely thanks to redesigned retail packaging and thinner blister paper. Also, we introduced our free Easy Recycle Program, which has recycled discarded HDDs and SSDs and saved electronic waste from global landfills. Through more efficient energy usage, smarter packaging, and an easy-to-use recycling initiative, we are caring for Mother Nature better than ever before.

Web banner for Western Digital's Easy Recycle program.

Find out why it’s safe, it’s easy, and it’s free!

Holding Business Operations to the Highest Standard

We hold ourselves and our business partners to the highest standard of integrity. One major example is our commitment to responsible sourcing of conflict minerals and their derivatives, cobalt and other minerals. In the Responsible Sourcing Network’s (RSN) 2019 Mining the Disclosure Report, Western Digital ranked 1st in the HDD manufacturing industry and 4th in the overall computer hardware industry for the third consecutive year[1]. Western Digital actively participates in the RBA Responsible Mineral Initiative (RMI), allowing us to use best practices in responsible minerals sourcing. You can learn more about our conflict minerals policy in our Conflict Minerals Report.

This high standard is clear in how we work with our suppliers and vendors. For example, 96 percent of our Tier-1 suppliers – which represent the top 80 percent of our total supplier spend – were audited in the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) Validated Assessment Program. This early, high-level risk assessment is important for us to maintain responsibility and transparency in our global supply chain operations. In RBA’s 2019 closure audits of supplier factories, 43 percent of Western Digital’s suppliers’ facilities received Platinum, 16 percent received Gold, and 40 percent received Silver certificates – demonstrating excellence in labor, health and safety, environment, ethics and management systems.

Executive summary screenshot from Western Digital's 2020 Sustainability Report.

As a supplier, Western Digital is subject to similar performance assessments from our customers. Customers have consistently recognized our performance, citing numerous key indicators such as energy efficiency, emissions reductions, human rights protections, conflict-free smelters, voluntary sustainability reporting and RBA audit compliance.

Giving Back for Social Good

We give back to our local, national, and global communities. It starts with our employees, who are active and passionate volunteers. This past year, over 11,000 colleagues provided around 58,000 hours of service – including many hours spent planting trees, recycling waste, cleaning beaches, and restoring parks and trails. Our annual Rise Against Hunger campaign reached a milestone of 6.4 million meals provided to families in need around the world. To further support social organizations, we provided 173 volunteer grants to our environmentally-focused nonprofit and NGO partners. You can learn more about Western Digital’s recent year of global giving and doing initiatives in our recap video below.

Smart People Making Smart Choices

Building an ethical and inclusive workplace is an ongoing challenge, but we continued to develop our diversity, inclusion, and ethics initiatives over the past year – including receiving two industry awards. First, Western Digital was recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Second, the Women’s Choice Award selected Western Digital as one of the “Best Companies for Millennials and Diversity”. We are honored to have our strong workplace culture acknowledged by the industry, and will continue to insist upon an inclusive workplace where employees can bring their full selves to work.

We also stay ethical in our business operations. Since 2016, 100 percent of our business operations were assessed for risks related to corruption. We published a new human rights policy, which outlines focus areas, governance policies, and implementation strategies to respect human rights at every step of our operations and supply chain. For the second year in a row, we were named one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere. This recognition was based on our ethical business standards, practices, and employee programs. Out of 131 companies chosen, we were one of only six companies listed in Ethisphere’s “Technology” industry to make the list.

And in a world where data breaches and hacks have become too commonplace, in 2019 we had zero reportable breaches of personal data. We provide trust, transparency, control, and protection by adopting strong practices and policies to help protect your privacy.

The Role of Data in Future Sustainability

At Western Digital, we are inspired knowing our technology ensures the world has data at every step, everywhere. We are building the foundation for data wherever it is used, giving people new ways of utilizing data like never before. The most game-changing companies, leading researchers and tech-centric consumers depend on us to unlock the power of data to tackle the world’s most significant sustainability challenges. We will continue to act on pressing environmental issues to better care for the planet, scale our operations, and empower communities. Here’s to building a sustainable future.


[1] Mining the Disclosures 2019 – Responsible Sourcing Network.

Author

Joshua Parker Western Digital
Josh Parker: Josh is Senior Director and Assistant General Counsel at Western Digital. He leads the company's sustainability function and practices multiple areas of corporate law, including IP, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial contracts.

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