Xerox Corp., building on four decades of leadership in advancing environmentally sustainable practices, is committing $2 million to Rochester Institute of Technology to serve as a founding partner of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. Anne Mulcahy, Xerox chairman and CEO, made the announcement April 24 during a presentation on the RIT campus.
This latest investment in RIT by Xerox, which will be spread over five years, focuses on developing talent and fostering new sustainable technologies through research.
“Xerox and RIT share a commitment to advancing environmental sustainability through innovation,” states Mulcahy. “Our collective efforts have the same desired outcome: making what’s good for the environment, good for business.”
RIT introduced the Golisano Institute for Sustainability last year following a $10 million commitment from B. Thomas Golisano, chairman and founder of Paychex Inc. and a member of RIT’s Board of Trustees. The institute is poised to make RIT the first technological university to provide a full spectrum of programs that embody the principles of sustainability in product development. The university is also developing the world’s first doctorate focused on sustainable production.
According to RIT President Bill Destler: “The Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT provides the premiere platform to collaborate in the creation of innovative education and technology development systems related to sustainable design, life-cycle engineering, remanufacturing and pollution prevention. The opportunity to partner with Xerox in this venture helps validate our leadership position, and we are extremely grateful for the company’s generous support.”
Xerox began its commitment to sustainability in the 1960s, leading to innovations like two-sided copying, print on demand, use of recycled paper in the office, and recycling toner cartridges. The company is the first in the business equipment industry to remanufacture and reuse parts and components, giving new life to the equivalent of more than 2.8 million products. In 2007, the company estimates it diverted more than 122 million pounds of waste from landfills.
Mulcahy offered a broad perspective on the advantages of sustainable practices as a presenter at the university’s Presidential Colloquium. In her address, Sustainability: Crisis and Opportunity, she acknowledged that the benefits of sustainability extend well beyond its favorable impact on our planet.
“We were an early leader in the ‘green’ movement because we thought it was the right thing to do for the environment, but we discovered something else along the way. Every one of our innovations ended up either saving us money or creating new markets and new revenue. We found, in other words, that we don’t have to choose between the environment and profit. We can do both.”
The Xerox commitment to the Golisano Institute for Sustainability represents the latest chapter in its long-standing relationship with RIT. Most recently, in 2004, the company gave $2 million to support development of a computing doctoral program within RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Xerox is also a founding partner of the Printing Industry Center at RIT, a Sloan Industry Center dedicated to the growth and profitability of the printing field.
Each year, Xerox employs more than 50 RIT students in co-op positions within the company, and more than 2,200 alumni currently work for the company.
Plans for the construction of a $50 million “green” facility to house the Golisano Institute for Sustainability are currently being considered. Earlier this month, the Rochester-area delegation to the New York State Legislature secured $12 million to begin the planning, design and eventual construction of this building to be located on the RIT campus.