Plantronics and the environment. Living Green

While Plantronics is recognized globally for many “firsts” in technology and product innovation, we are equally proud of our pioneering efforts towards environmental and social responsibility. For example, did you know that Plantronics Suzhou is the first facility in China to ever receive Gold LEEDs certification for environmental sustainability?Or that Plantronics last year installed the largest solar project in Santa Cruz County?

Or that Plantronics last year installed the largest solar project in Santa Cruz County?

Plantronics understands that many aspects of our business impact the environment and communities in which we live. Everything from materials used during the manufacturing process to food provided in the company cafés affects the health of our local and global ecosystems.

Worldwide Guidelines and Achievement

Plantronics develops, manufactures, and markets products that are safe to use and minimize impact on the environment. We seek to reduce waste and prevent pollution throughout the manufacturing process and the entirety of our product lifecycles. Our products can be reused, recycled, or disposed of safely.

Many governments around the world are putting in place stringent guidelines to improve the state of the environment and to help eliminate hazardous substances. Plantronics is a strong supporter of these efforts and has gone above and beyond the requirements to ensure that we are acting as a responsible corporate citizen.

Materials and Quality

RoHS Compliance 

Plantronics was one of the first companies to achieve full RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Requirements) compliance for products shipped to the European Union. Plantronics worked closely with its suppliers to achieve the certification, ensuring its complete supplier network adhered to RoHS requirements. In conjunction with RoHS, Plantronics was at the forefront in compliance with Europe’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive. Its compliance guarantees that all discarded products and packaging can be safely disposed of or recycled, thus eliminating the strain on landfills. Plantronics is now working to make all of its facilities RoHS compliant.


Our product packaging is created with the environment in mind. All printed material and packaging components including dyes, inks, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, and additives are manufactured without using toxic or regulated heavy metals. These components, regardless of manufacturing location or country of origin, are in full compliance with the Reduction of Toxics Packaging Legislation in the United States.

ISO Certification 

Plantronics has achieved ISO 9001 certification across all of its global facilities. This means that Plantronics is certified for minimizing operations that negatively impact the environment and that its products are manufactured in the most environmentally efficient means possible. In addition, our manufacturing facility in China achieved ISO 14001 certification for developing a framework of control for an Environmental Management System against which an organization can be certified by a third party. Plantronics’ other locations across the globe are in the process of attaining ISO 14001 certification.


Plantronics finances the management of waste from its own products to dispose of material in an environmentally sound manner. Our manufacturing facilities in China, Europe and Mexico employ strict recycling programs and train employees on best practices. Our Mexico facility recycles on average more than one million pounds of materials (cardboard, plastics, cables, components) annually. A recycling program at our Santa Cruz facility has reduced trash pickups from 7 to 1.5 times per month. Plantronics monitors and documents its recycling program’s results on an ongoing basis.

Local Responsibility

Plantronics strives to be an environmentally responsible participant in the communities where we operate. With more than 5,000 global associates and operations in 19 countries, Plantronics understands the importance of adhering to programs that promote environmental health and reduce our environmental footprint.

Santa Cruz, California 

In 2006, Plantronics completed a new solar implementation that creates 200 kilowatts of solar energy annually, which reduces C02 emissions by 465,000 pounds — essentially offsetting the carbon emissions of 40 cars. When electricity generation in the state is at maximum capacity, Plantronics voluntarily donates stored electricity from its solar panels to help relieve the system under the Demand Bid program.

All Santa Cruz buildings comply with the state’s Savings by Design regulations and feature lowflow toilets, waterless urinals and landscaping that requires little or no irrigation. The Plantronics Café uses locally grown food from farms in the Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. Purchasing locally grown products helps support local companies and keeps our employees healthy. Additionally, by buying local, we help cut down on emissions associated with the food shipment and delivery process.

Santa Cruz non-profit organizations benefit from Plantronics recycling programs. Collected materials are donated and then resold to fund programs providing as much as one million pounds of food to seniors and shut-ins throughout the Santa Cruz County.

Suzhou, China 

In 2006, Plantronics' manufacturing and design center in Suzhou, China was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification for environmental sustainability. It is the only manufacturing facility in all of China to achieve LEED certification. All Suzhou buildings feature insulated roof systems, natural light, energy-rated roof coating, and insulated block walls. The facility uses rainwater collection ponds, storm water irrigation, recycled condensation water from air conditioning units, and an innovative reverse-osmosis

system to make city water drinkable. 

Non-toxic interior finishes, a fume extraction system, and natural lighting are used throughout the Suzhou facility to ensure a quality work environment. The facility promotes alternative transportation by providing covered ports with battery chargers for electric scooters, coordinated bus transportation, and bike air pumps and storage. Plantronics estimates that more than 90 percent of employees will eventually use alternative transportation.

Tijuana, Mexico 

Plamex, Plantronics’ manufacturing facility in Mexico, is internationally recognized for its environmental leadership. Plamex is the only facility in the world to win both the Ibero American and Asia Pacific Quality awards, recognizing its long-standing commitment to total quality management through planning and programs that encourage environmental sustainability, among others. Plamex has also received the Waste Reduction & Recycling award from the City of San Diego, and is Clean Industry certified by Mexico.

Plamex achieved these successes by incorporating environmental responsibility within associates’ personal goals, and providing progressive training to spur innovation and change. To date, Plamex has implemented 57 associate-driven green programs, many of which have extended beyond the Plamex building. For instance, early in 2007 Plamex gave 500 trees to associates to plant at their homes or in their communities. The idea for the program stemmed from a company wide contest for associates and their families.

A Look Forward

Plantronics continues to make constant improvements and evaluate new practices and technologies to further advance its environmental programs. We are currently working to become ISO 14001 and RoHS compliant across all regions, achieve environmental management system certification, and transition to 100-percent green packaging. Plantronics has helped pioneer green initiatives across the world and remains committed to innovating new programs that help our associates, company and local and global communities.