Sustainable Silicon Valley is a dynamic collaboration of more than 120 businesses, governments, academic and non-governmental organizations (Partners), and more than 70 volunteers addressing environmental sustainability in Silicon Valley.

SSV envisions a healthy environment, a vibrant economy and a socially equitable community. SSV Partners are realizing this vision by actively addressing priority environmental issues in the Valley, such as: climate change, energy, and water resiliency.

Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV) grew out of a special project, started in 2001 by the California Environmental Protection Agency, with a total of eight founding partners, including California EPA, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Silicon Valley Environmental Partnership. SSV incorporated as a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation in 2004.

Envisioned as a means to achieve better environmental outcomes, SSV was designed to move beyond the traditional command-and-control model of environmental regulation
to one of collaboration and partnership, using a regional environmental management system (EMS). By focusing on the desired outcome, rather than compliance-driven standards, participants can choose the methods to reach that outcome that make the most sense financially and technologically for each of them.

An EMS uses a “plan-do-check-act” loop to address environmental issues of concern. The organization, or region, first generates a plan with clearly defined goals. It then
implements the plan, checks progress to the goals and then acts to improve the plan, integrating learning into the system.

Priority Issues
In 2002, SSV gathered community and expert input to identify 35 environmental pressures and determined six to be of highest priority. Initially, SSV focused on energy use and CO2emissions reduction. SSV is expanding its focus to include the use of fresh water, and the water/energy/climate change nexus.

•Use of energy from non-renewable sources measured by CO2emissions
•Use of fresh water
•Urban sprawl
•Habitat loss and fragmentation
•Use of non-renewable raw materials
•Discharges of toxic chemicals into the air

Sustainable Silicon Valley’s initial environmental goal was to reduce regional carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to 20 percent below the 1990 level by the year 2010. In 2004,
Sustainable Silicon Valley launched its regional CO2 Emissions Reduction Initiative to work with Valley organizations to meet this goal. The first step of the initiative was
to ask organizations to make voluntary pledges to reduce their own CO2emissions.

Sustainable Silicon Valley supports them by providing an easy-to-use online reporting
tool. Partners identify participating facilities, specify a base year and target year and set an emission reduction goal from the base to the target year.

The main purpose of this pledge program is to encourage organizations to set their own CO2reduction targets, to voluntarily reduce their own CO2(and other greenhouse
gas) emissions, and to monitor their progress against their targets. The collective data compares our partners’ performance to that of the region and beyond.

SSV launched its Water Initiative with the December 2009 Water Summit at NASA Ames Research Center. Partners are invited to determine their water footprint,
set goals for reducing fresh water and increasing use of recycled water. Successful transformation of regional water practices and infrastructure will require unprecedented
regional cooperation and ingenuity.

In December 2010 SSV will launch its EcoCloud™ Innovation Platform that will enable  Silicon Valley business to understand and manage how they use water and energy.

SSV partners recognize the urgency to change the way we deliver and use water and energy in Silicon Valley, and the momentum this can provide in developing new technologies for global markets.

In addressing water use first, SSV and partners recognize the high level of imported water used in the region. Silicon Valley currently imports between 50% and 90% of its water, depending on location in the Valley. Reducing use of potable water and greatly increasing use of recycled water is an essential part of creating a cradle to cradle industrial ecosystem that will help ensure water resiliency in the long term.

SSV provides educational forums and technical assistance to partner organizations and serves as a clearinghouse to share best practices through ongoing meetings, events and a resource-rich website. Partners and the broader community share learning and inspiration to extend their goals and actions.

SSV also serves as a regional registry for voluntary CO2 reporting and for comparison to regional data.