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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have given Verizon their most prestigious award in recognition of the company's industry-leading energy efficiency program.
The top Energy Star honor, the Corporate Commitment Award, was presented to Verizon President and Co-CEO Ivan Seidenberg last night at a dinner in Washington. This marks the second year in a row Verizon has received Energy Star recognition.
"Corporate social responsibility is more than just a slogan for Verizon -- it's part of who we are," said Seidenberg, who also gave the keynote address at the Energy Star Award dinner. "Few companies touch as many people as we do."
Verizon's energy reduction program -- which has included installing low-energy-use lights in buildings, using more efficient cooling fans in central offices, and recruiting over 250 employee volunteers called energy champions -- enabled Verizon to cut expenses by about $40 million last year and by about $60 million over the last two years, and prevented some 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Citing the nearly five billion kilowatt hours of electricity Verizon uses to provide local, long-distance and data services to customers across the country each year, Seidenberg said the company has a major responsibility to its customers and the communities it serves to control the rising use of electricity.
"And as with all serious issues in our very complex business, this presents us with a leadership challenge: to balance our various obligations to control our costs, maintain reliable service for customers and preserve the environment," Seidenberg said.
Verizon is controlling energy use by focusing on personal employee accountability and management culture, working with industry and government leaders, and seeking out and implementing innovative solutions to the company's energy needs.
He noted that last week Verizon announced the world's largest deployment of fuel-cell technology to power a major company switching center on Long Island. Fuel cells are cost-saving and environmentally friendly systems that quietly produce electricity from natural gas and emit virtually no air pollutants.
"Verizon is very proud of our record," Seidenberg said. "The recognition we're receiving here is a tribute to the passionate involvement of some Verizon employees and their partners in the EPA and DOE."
Earlier this week, the EPA also recognized Verizon as part of that agency's annual Climate Protection Awards, a separate EPA program designed to recognize companies for significant contributions to protecting the environment.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit