Verizon Chief Sustainability Officer James Gowen's job is to create sustainability initiatives that make sense for both the company and the environment. He has a lot to work with: Verizon operates more than 46,000 cell sites, 120 million square feet of real estate and 200 data centers.
Verizon's goal is to reduce its carbon intensity 50% by 2020. "We're measuring our carbon intensity by calculating the amount of carbon emissions required to move a terabyte of data across our networks," Gowen says. "And then we do everything possible to be more efficient."
For starters, Verizon is expanding its already considerable use of renewable energy sources, investing over $100 million in solar and fuel cell energy in the next year. By the end of 2014, the company will be generating more than 89 million kWh of electricity in year one to power critical data centers, central offices, and office buildings across six states. This effort will also eliminate more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide—enough to offset the annual CO2 emissions from more than 1 million gallons of gas.
As an early adopter of fuel cell technologies, Verizon currently operates one of the largest fuel cell sites of its kind, which helps power an environmentally-friendly call-switching center and office building in Garden City, New York. Verizon also uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas in the western U.S. to help power a portion of the nation's largest and most reliable wireless network.
Building design is also being used to reduce carbon intensity. Currently, 141 Verizon retail stores have been ENERGY STAR® certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ENERGY STAR-certified buildings release an average of 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, 172 retail stores are also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified.
In the Verizon fleet, telematics technology is reducing both fuel usage and emissions. Verizon has implemented our Networkfleet product in approximately 18,000 company vehicles. Networkfleet allows us to optimize fuel consumption, monitor for mechanical issues, and provide customized, just-in-time maintenance. Improved fleet performance not only reduces costly mechanical issues, but it also decreases fuel consumption and associated carbon emissions. Monitoring also allows us to configure the fleet so that the right vehicles are in the right place at the right time, reducing idling and emissions.
Verizon is also increasing the number of charging stations available to our employees at the workplace. In addition, it has launched both internal and external campaigns to reduce paper usage, and is using only recycled or responsibly sourced paper in accessory packaging.
Verizon is working to reduce carbon emissions in its supply chain, too. More than fifty percent of supplier spending is with firms that measure and set targets to reduce carbon emissions.