Verizon's latest corporate responsibility report shows how the company's broadband and wireless technologies are tackling some of society's most pressing issues, such as education, health care, energy efficiency and conservation.
Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg notes in a letter in the report that at a time when private investment levels are at near-historic lows, Verizon in recent years has been investing $17 billion annually in fiber-optic networks, wireless broadband and high-speed Internet backbones. These investments have helped "sustain local economies and will play a critical factor in creating the technology-centric jobs that will reignite growth."
"We're also committed to using this platform for the future to tackle the big issues confronting our society -- challenges made more urgent by the current economic difficulties," Seidenberg's letter states. "When social problems grow faster than the resources necessary to combat them, the only way to bridge the gap is through innovation."
Articles in the corporate responsibility report, the company's sixth, illustrate how Verizon is bridging the gap through innovation and creating new ways of ways of doing things that are making an enormous difference for people. The examples cited include:
Assistive Technology - Verizon launched TALKS™, a technology that converts text displayed on a screen into speech for visually impaired wireless customers, and launched a Nationwide Messaging Plan for deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers.
Education - Verizon Thinkfinity.org, a free website, offers tens of thousands of educational resources across eight academic disciplines for teachers, community programs, parents and students. By partnering with the National Council of La Raza and National Urban League, the Verizon Foundation is creating an innovative, after-school program using resources from Thinkfinity.org to improve achievement and graduation rates among minority students. The program emphasizes literacy, math and science.
Employer of Choice - Verizon invested $450 million last year in the development, education and training of employees, and they logged more than 11.5 million hours of training. Employees who are called to active duty rely on one of the best military leave programs anywhere. And in addition to a 10 percent discount at more than 2,000 child care centers across the country, Verizon provides new parents with a generous Gradual Return to Work program.
Environment -- In 2009, Verizon's aggressive energy reduction and recycling measures reduced the company's CO2 emissions by more than 793 million pounds, approximately the amount of CO2 emitted by 46,700 homes in a year. Verizon has led the industry by setting energy efficiency standards for the company's suppliers of network equipment. This resulted in saving 91 million kilowatt hours and more than 114 million pounds of CO2 avoidance in 2009. The company's operations center in Basking Ridge, N.J., and two Verizon Wireless stores earned the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED silver and gold certifications, respectively. To date, 59 Verizon Wireless Communications Stores have been awarded the EPA's prestigious ENERGY STAR certification, the highest number for any wireless retailer.
Health Care -- Broadband technology, such as that being deployed by Verizon, has the power to help dramatically lower costs and improve health outcomes. Verizon is already offering health IT to its own employees and their families, and the company teamed up with Cisco to deliver Verizon Telehealth Collaboration Services. An integrated audio, visual and video communications offering, Verizon Telehealth (http://www.verizonbusiness.com/solutions/healthcare/care/collaboration.xml) enables health care professionals to provide care virtually anywhere, anytime.
Philanthropy -- Verizon continues to be one of the largest funders of education and literacy initiatives in the U.S. In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded nearly $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies. Verizon employees contributed more than 700,000 volunteer hours and donated more than $12.6 million, which was matched by the Verizon Foundation for a combined total of $26.1 million in community investments. Members of the company's legal staff also began offering free legal services to individuals in need and to nonprofit organizations.
(NOTE: To view a video of Kathryn Brown, senior vice president of public policy development and corporate responsibility for Verizon, discussing the importance of a companies behaving responsibly, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae8PORSewno.)
Verizon is the only telecommunications company in the U.S. to be named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, which lists North America's leading companies as measured by governance, social and environmental performance. In 2009, the company was also named to the Maplecroft Climate Innovation Index, a list of 300 of the largest companies in the U.S. selected for their climate-related innovation and carbon-management programs. Verizon has participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project's registry of corporate greenhouse-gas emissions since 2004.
A copy of the 2009/2010 Verizon Corporate Responsibility Report and more information about the company's commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen are available at http://responsibility.verizon.com/. To learn more about how Verizon is reducing the environmental impact of its operations and that of its customers, visit http://newscenter2.verizon.com/kit/green-press-kit/.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 93 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 217,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.