Verizon expands its environmental initiatives to reduce global climate impact

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What you need to know:

  • Announces science-based targets and new carbon avoidance goal, and progress on its renewable energy goal

  • Launches new social impact accelerator program meant to help communities adapt in the face of climate change

  • Shares progress to its goal of planting 20 million trees by 2030, and announces an offer to plant a tree for every Verizon eco-friendly accessory sold this year, up to 1 million trees

  • Publishes 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Verizon today announced new goals to advance its sustainability initiatives and a new social impact innovation program called Forward for Good Accelerator. These initiatives are part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement.

Verizon announced two new science-based emissions reduction targets, committing to a 53 percent reduction in its operational emissions (Scope 1 and 2) between 2019 and 2030, and a 40 percent reduction in its value chain emissions (Scope 3) between 2019 and 2035. These targets have been approved by the Science Based Target initiative and support the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The company also announced a new goal that by 2030, its solutions will help avoid 20 million metric tons (MT) of CO2e annually, the amount equivalent to removing more than 4.3 million passenger vehicles from the road on an annual basis. In 2020, Verizon’s solutions enabled the avoidance of 12 million MTs of CO2e. The emissions avoided represent approximately 2.8 times the emissions generated by Verizon’s operations.

In 2019, Verizon set an ambitious goal to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2035 and committed to source or generate renewable energy equivalent to 50 percent of its annual electricity consumption by 2025. In January, Verizon announced that it became a leading corporate buyer of U.S. renewable energy, entering into thirteen long-term renewable energy purchase agreements totaling nearly 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity since December 2019. Verizon also activated more than 8 megawatts (MW) of additional on-site solar energy at eight of its facilities during 2020. Since 2013 the company has installed more than 28 MW of green power at 26 on-site locations. 

“Sustainability is in Verizon’s DNA, and we’re committed to doing our part to reduce our environmental impact,” said James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer and senior vice president, supply chain operations. “Our climate commitments and goals are ambitious, but the steps we’re taking now to reduce our carbon emissions and invest in renewable energy will help us become net zero in our operations by 2035.”

Verizon Forward for Good Accelerator

Verizon, in partnership with innovation agency Alley, is launching a new startup accelerator program, the Verizon Forward for Good Accelerator, aimed at driving meaningful social change through leading-edge technologies such as 5G, MEC, AI and XR. Startups accepted into the 16-week accelerator program will receive access to a wealth of resources provided by Verizon, including education, technology enablement, networking and non-dilutive funding to scale their technology solutions.

The multi-year accelerator program is expected to feature two cohorts per year, with each cohort focused on addressing a specific social impact issue. The first cohort is expected to begin in June 2021 with a focus on technology solutions that help communities build resilience and thrive as the climate changes, with a focus on advancing climate justice for populations who disproportionately bear the impacts of climate change. Start-ups from any sector are invited to apply, including but not limited to: agriculture, clean technology, water, human health and safety, food and shelter, ICT, mapping, finance, administration and data solutions. Applications are being accepted through April 30, 2021. Learn more and apply at

“We know the power of our technology and we’re partnering with innovators to bring technology-based solutions to a range of challenges facing communities now and moving forward,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon’s chief corporate social responsibility officer leading this climate justice effort. “Verizon is going beyond our climate impact to help communities to not only adapt to the changing climate, but reimagine how we live, work and innovate for a brighter future for everyone.”

Tree planting initiatives

Last year Verizon pledged to sponsor the planting of 20 million trees by 2030. The company has planted more than six million trees since 2009. To advance its efforts, the company will plant a tree for every Verizon eco-friendly accessory sold this year, up to 1 million trees. For a limited time, customers can get 25% off eco-friendly accessories made in part from plant-based or recycled materials, or that are 100% compostable.

Verizon also published its 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report today, which provides information on how Verizon is effectively managing the ESG risks and opportunities that arise from its core business operations.

Learn more about how Verizon is working towards a greener world.

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