BlackBerry | 2020 Canadian SDG Accelerators Awards Profile


Industry: Software & Tech Services


Category: Large

Applicable SDG: SDG 13: Climate Action

Applicable Targets:

  • Target 13.1. Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • Target 13.2. Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • Target 13.3. Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

Please explain why the selected SDG is a priority for your company.

The Technology sector’s demands on energy are accelerating as urbanization and technology-adoption continues to expand globally. Technology companies currently consume approximately 10% of all electricity use, which largely power ever-expanding data centers. This technological energy consumption is increasing at +9% annually, with data centers set to have a larger carbon footprint than the global aviation industry. With the rise of the Internet of Things, 4% of total CO2 emissions in 2020 and 8% by 2025 will be from the use and manufacture of IoT devices including smartphones and computers. 

BlackBerry aims to tackle our sector’s impact on the environment through our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2021. 

Efforts internally at BlackBerry has achieved an internal carbon emission reduction of 65% since 2016, and 88% since 2013. Additionally, in 2020, BlackBerry has partnered with Carbonzero to offset our remaining carbon footprint through investments in water sanitation and water access, which subsequently impacts carbon emissions.

Please describe the initiatives/programs that your company is taking to address the TARGETS of your primary SDGs.

BlackBerry has been working through a multi-year initiative to optimize its data center footprint.  In 2018, BlackBerry commenced implementation of three projects that will continue to further reduce its global data center power consumption and operational costs through downsizing infrastructure, cloud migrations and consolidations. 

Additionally, in 2020, BlackBerry has partnered with Carbonzero to offset our remaining carbon footprint through investments in water sanitation and water access, which directly impact carbon emissions.

We focused our offset investment efforts in two major water projects: 

  • Wastewater treatment technology in Canada that eliminates the environmental impacts of discharging raw wastewater into waterways and consumes less energy than traditional systems. The wastewater technology used in Newfoundland Climate and Ecosystems Conservancy Project (NCECP) has been estimated to have resulted in a 50,000+ CO2e reduction in the 10+ years it has been in operation so far.
  • The rehabilitation and maintenance of water wells in Rwanda. Without the water wells, water sources would be open ponds and streams, which require boiling before consumption. Often this occurs on inefficient open stone fires, releasing CO2 emissions. 

Other initiatives that impact carbon emissions are our plans to eliminate the use of single-use plastics globally by 2021, ahead of the Government of Canada’s plan.  The initiative will help tackle carbon emissions, as well as ease the burden on oceans and streams where plastic waste ends up and harms marine life.

We hold e-waste collections to ensure our employees’ personal e-waste is securely and responsibly recycled with our approved e-waste partner. Our employees in Waterloo, Ottawa and Mississauga brought in 2,087 kg of e-waste.

Additionally, internal programs to optimize the energy efficiency of building services are ongoing. One initiative helping to control the amount of energy used is that BlackBerry monitors low-use and unoccupied areas and arranges automatic and manual scheduling to reduce lighting. Another facet of increasing building energy efficiency involves ongoing monitoring of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) runtimes to reduce usage wherever appropriate, in conjunction with conducting temperature setbacks.

Please highlight the key impacts and results of the mentioned initiatives.

BlackBerry’s carbon reduction efforts through our internal programs have resulted in a carbon emission reduction of 65% since 2016, and a reduction of 88% since our peak CO2 emissions in 2013.

Over the past five years, the total annual Scope 2 emissions from electricity at data centers has dropped dramatically, from 51,332 tonnes CO2e in 2014 to 1,445 tonnes CO2e in 2018.

Prior to the pandemic, BlackBerry’s Scope 3 emissions tracking focused on employee business travel. Commercial air travel represented the most significant portion of BlackBerry’s Scope 3 emissions, accounting for 2,855 tonnes CO2e of the 4712 tonnes CO2e Scope 3 total (61%), and 22% of BlackBerry’s overall 2018 emissions of 12,717 tonnes CO2e. However, this represented an 8.3% decrease over the 2017 emissions level.

In 2018, our global waste diversion rate decreased from 2017 levels (87.55%) to 85.22%. This decrease can be attributed to a reduction in the amount of e-waste generated by our global operations as well as our Canadian operations reducing the amount of office paper being used that is subsequently recycled.

We reduced the total waste generated by 45.30% (dropping from 610.55 MT in 2017 to 333.97 MT generated in 2018) from our global operations, resulting in savings of 27.6 MT CO2e.

Please describe how your company is building awareness for the selected SDG

BlackBerry participates in CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), an international, not-for-profit organization that provides a system for companies to measure, disclose, manage and share emissions and climate change information.  Since CY2009, BlackBerry has annually disclosed and shared information about its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.   

BlackBerry’s reporting is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) and includes Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, as defined by the protocol. BlackBerry’s CDP reports include all available data for BlackBerry operations worldwide.

Additionally, BlackBerry announced our expanded CSR programs in a press release on June 11, 2020. <>

Please outline the plans your organization has for being committed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in response to COVID-19

BlackBerry remains committed to expanding our Corporate Social Responsibility programs amid the pandemic. We announced our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2021 on June 11, 2020. To help achieve this goal, we are staying the course with our ongoing project plans to optimize our data center footprint, as well as continuing with our initiatives to eliminate single-use plastics, optimize on-site energy consumption when our business returns to the office sites and reduce business travel.<>

Additionally, we have expanded our external programs, such as extending our partnership with the American Red Cross, announced on September 21, 2020. BlackBerry will donate our BlackBerry AtHoc software to the American Red Cross, powering its mission to provide emergency assistance, disaster relief and disaster preparedness education to people in need. <>

BlackBerry has also expanded academic partnerships to leverage academic expertise and leadership in tackling climate change. 

In addition, BlackBerry continues to be committed to the health and safety of our employees with our (non-certified) Environment Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) that is modeled after ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 for our global operations. We track the progress of all our Environmental Health and Safety programs through metric dashboards and employee surveys which we then communicate to senior leaders. The main component of our EHSMS is our Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) process which assesses the safety hazards and environmental aspects of our operations, calculates the risk/impact and implements controls to reduce the risk/impact to an acceptable level. 74% of our site HIRA’s were updated in FY19, which identified our top two safety risks as ergonomics and severe weather.