In 2009, our employees spoke up and expressed their interest in doing more to foster sustainability within their own company and around the world. Since then, 15,000 employees in 27 countries represent the Green Team, an all-volunteer group established with the common goal of focusing on sustainability.
What is the Green Team? Focusing on education and engagement, the Green Team seeks out any and all opportunities to increase sustainability within the company and in the lives of our employees. The group sponsors more than 200 events annually, including e-waste rallies and recycling events to collect old electronic equipment.
Open to employees and the public, the free e-waste rallies have collected 1.6 million pounds so far, with the goal to reach 2 million pounds by the end of 2015. Verizon was even selected by the NFL and the Super Bowl committee to lead recycling rallies in New York and New Jersey prior to the 2014 Super Bowl. The Green Team is already planning to do the same in Arizona, site of the next Super Bowl, in 2015.
Who is part of the Green Team? The Green Team is made up of employees from around the world and at all levels of the company. Currently, the most prominent location for Green Team members is the U.S., followed by India and Great Britain. The Green Team is a collective effort among Verizon employees, from technicians and contractors to vice presidents and other executives.
What does the Green Team do? Our employees are interested in a range of sustainability issues and topics. That’s why the Green Team offers several niche engagement programs, from recycling to reducing fuel use.
The Green Team’s Bike to Work program has saved more than 11,500 gallons of fuel. Employees who log 500 miles of biking receive a free Verizon cycling jersey. In our Green Eating program, interested employees learn more about the benefits of becoming vegetarian or vegan and can make a pledge online to change their diet for a week or longer. The program then calculates how that diet change impacts the environment and how much carbon dioxide was saved as a result. To date, Green Eating has saved more than 20,000 pounds of CO2.
The Green Team also educates employees through the monthly publication of VZ Green Insider, Verizon’s sustainability newsletter. “Green Bag” webinars focusing on a specific green topic—such as electric vehicles or solar power—are held monthly with insight from outside environmental experts.
What’s next for the Green Team? Verizon employees help decide on future Green Team initiatives. The top two areas of growth for the remainder of 2014 are community events and recycling expansion. For all locations where there are more than 30 Green Team members, at least 3 volunteer opportunities will be provided in 2015. Opportunities include beach clean-ups, community gardening, park restoration and more.
Verizon also partners with the nonprofit group American Forests to help identify where trees are needed the most within national forests. To date, trees have been planted in several locations in the United States and India. For every volunteer who joins the Green Team, we celebrate by planting a tree in his or her honor. The group welcomed its 15,000th member earlier this year, and plans to plant 5,000 more trees.