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Keeping an Eye on the Environment at Xerox

Keeping an Eye on the Environment at XeroxTufts School of Engineering graduate Patricia Calkins is leading environmental initiatives at Xerox Corporation, helping the company implement a sustainability strategy for the future.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.14.07] Xerox Corporation executive Patricia Calkins can't think of a much better way to spend her day. "I love my job-I know it's the best job in the company," the Tufts School of Engineering graduate recently told the Rochester Business Journal. What has Calkins so excited? It's the opportunity to take Xerox's commitment to the environment to new heights, she says.

As the company's vice president of environment, health and safety operations, Calkins is charged with developing and implementing Xerox's various environmental programs, which are designed to help the company achieve its goal of "waste-free products from waste-free factories," according to the newspaper. Calkins told the Business Journal that this mission is reflected in operations at every level from Xerox's energy-saving production facilities to its products that can be remanufactured and recycled.

"Sustainability is a race without a finish," Calkins, who earned a master's degree in civil engineering from Tufts in 1991, told the Business Journal.

Calkins has won praise for her commitment to achieving sustainability in a corporate environment, a task that is not without its challenges.

"It can be hard in a big corporation to put sustainability and environmental leadership on the agenda when so many talk about revenues and the number of [equipment] installs, but Patty and her team have worked to make everyone understand the importance of the issues and the role they can play," Wim Appelo, Calkins' boss, told the newspaper. "Her level of energy and enthusiasm helped bring the department to the next level."

With increased public attention being placed on issues such as climate change and energy conservation, Calkins says she feels empowered to advance her sustainability agenda.

"This is the first time in my career I feel the environment is really a mainstream issue," she said. "Before it was like pushing a boulder up a hill. Now we have crested the hill and the challenge is keeping up with the momentum and steering it in the right direction where we can make the most difference."

And that difference, Calkins hopes, will be felt globally.

"There a few roles where you can touch an entire corporation across the world," she told the newspaper.

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