We’re working hard to create solutions that reduce our carbon footprint and help our organization run faster, cleaner and better. We’re also working to help our customers reduce their energy use and environmental impact, from recycling events to innovating our packaging to providing solutions that help people cut their energy costs.
Our biggest environmental impact is in running our networks around the globe, which takes billions of kilowatts of electricity a year. That much electricity accounts for 92 percent of our carbon emissions. That’s why for more than a decade, we have focused on improving our overall energy efficiency to reduce both our costs and our environmental footprint.
We’ve invested $137 million in solar and fuel cell energy to help power Verizon facilities across the country.
We’ve installed 22 megawatts of fuel cell and solar photovoltaic systems with another 2.4 megawatts in development. That is equivalent to 2,700 homes’ electric needs for a year. In other words, we prevented 20,000 metric tons of CO2 from getting into the atmosphere.
In our building operations, ENERGY STAR® and LEED certification has helped us to significantly reduce energy usage.
We are pursuing ENERGY STAR certification for all eligible Verizon retail stores and LEED certification for select retail stores. By the end of 2014, 177 stores were ENERGY STAR certified and 230 stores were LEED certified. We were named an EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the second straight year in 2014.
More than 16,000 employees representing 29 countries are members of the Verizon Green Team.
These passionate employees start and run energy efficiency programs and lead community-recycling events. Through our partnership with American Forests, Verizon plants a tree for every new Green Team member.
In 2014, our employees and their neighbors recycled more than 400,000 pounds of used electronics, phones and accessories.
We hold our suppliers to the same high standards by which we operate. Each year, we conduct a Supplier Sustainability Assessment to evaluate our suppliers’ sustainability strategy and CO2 emissions, solid waste management, water use and management, packaging practices, and sustainability in subcontracting.
Our goal was that 55 percent of our supplier spending would be with firms that measure and set public targets to reduce CO2 emissions by the end of 2015. We achieved this goal one year early.
Measuring carbon intensity allows us to assess how we are becoming more energy efficient even as our business expands. All of our energy efficiency strategies support our ultimate goal of cutting our carbon intensity in half by 2020. In 2013, we reduced our carbon intensity by 12.95 percent; since 2009, we have improved our carbon intensity by more than 40.03 percent over our baseline.
We are committed to continuously improving and refining our measurement and reporting systems. We engaged Ernst & Young to perform an independent review of our 2013 greenhouse gas emissions and carbon intensity reporting. Following Ernst & Young’s careful review, we chose a more conservative approach to measuring our network data and adjusted the 2009 baseline figure. The total decrease in carbon intensity from 2009 - 2013 was recalculated and is reflected on the 2013 Carbon Intensity Matrix. Our 2014 progress will be published later this year.
Our device recycling program allows our customers to trade-in phones, tablets and other wireless devices, regardless of carrier, or purchase date or location. Customers receive a Verizon gift card that they can use toward a purchase or to pay their bill, and business customers receive an account credit. We achieved a 37 percent device-recycling rate in 2014.
The ECO Specs label helps customers spot key environmental information at a glance – from recycled material content to the energy efficiency of the device. All wireless devices launched in 2014 have ECO Specs data online.
All of our wireless devices were evaluated for UL environmental certification and 12 were certified in 2014. The designation is made by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), which has developed sustainability standards for mobile device design and performance.
We’ve modified the packaging associated with cellphone accessories: chargers, batteries, earphones, etc. All Verizon-branded accessory packaging now uses materials sourced from certified sustainably managed forests and land, or is made with a minimum of 30 percent recycled content.
Last year, we reduced the rigid plastic component of prepaid device packaging by 33 percent. We also eliminated the use of plastic entirely in our packaging for tablet folio cases and reduced the package-to-product ratio by 50 percent. As a result, 85 percent less waste is now ending up in landfills.
In 2014, we released a Paper Sourcing and Use Policy: a statement that Verizon promotes sustainable lifecycle practices regarding paper consumption in the course of business operations.
We are committed to sourcing, using and disposing of paper resources in a responsible manner, consistent with the supporting guidelines outlined in the document. In 2014, we recycled more than 50 million pounds of combined paper and cardboard. We also saved more than 6,556 tons of paper through our paperless billing programs. This equates to saving more than 15,000 metric tons of CO2 — or 143,000 trees.
Our products and services help our customers reduce their environmental footprint. We do this in ways that might surprise you. For instance, did you know that just by providing broadband access, we’re able to help customers save time and money by increasing their ability to telecommute?
In 2014, solutions like vehicle telematics, smart buildings and smart meters helped our customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of approximately 3 million cars.
Networkfleet, our telematics product, has proven to significantly improve efficiency of fleet operations.
With information gathered from vehicles via Networkfleet, our fleet managers can streamline routing, promote fuel-efficient and safe driving practices, improve vehicle maintenance, avoid breakdowns and track metrics.
Networkfleet has translated to real-world success for customers:
- BLS Trucking, which runs 245 trucks throughout the Midwest, saved $188,000.
- Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department saves $500,000 in fuel in one year.