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Verizon Wireless Sustainability

In: Business and Management

Submitted By bwilder44
Words 1283
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Typically when you think of a company like Verizon Wireless, you tend to think of things like technology or fast internet, not necessarily sustainability. However, if you want to be a major player in big business today, you have to adopt sustainability practices. It is an unfortunate fact that we are burning through our natural resources at an alarming rate and if we do not do something to change our habits, then there will be nothing left for the generations to come. It is the responsibility of big companies to set the example for others to do what is necessary to reduce the carbon foot print that we leave behind. Verizon Wireless is one of the companies taking the necessary steps in reducing the negative impact that, we as humans are causing on the planet. Verizon Wireless currently has a number of programs in effect that are taking the necessary steps in the right direction. Since 2001, Verizon has been collecting phones through a program called, HopeLine. Since then, they have collected over 10 million phones that were donated nationwide, were they refurbish and sell a majority of the phones, recycle the unusable phones, as well as donate a good amount of useable phones to victims of domestic violence. The proceeds that come from selling the refurbished phones are donated to domestic violence organizations; a total of $18.1 million has been donated since the beginning of the program (Verizon Wireless, 2013). Furthermore, a total of 151,000 phones have been donated to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. As a result of the program, over 22 million kilowatt hours of energy has been saved and over 2.1 million phones have been recycled. That is over 420 tons of electronic waste that was kept out of landfills. Verizon is also responsible for building and operating energy-efficient retail stores. More than 100 of Verizon’s stores across the nation have been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certification for 2012, as well as the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® qualification. Due to the steps that Verizon has made in their economical responsible buildings, over 200 tons of construction waste has been recycled at the 100+ LEED-certified / ENERGY STAR® qualified retail stores (Verizon Wireless, 2013). Additionally, Verizon has constructed 26 cell sites in the western U.S. that are completely solar powered. In doing so, Verizon has been able to provide reliable cell reception and internet connection in remote areas. Verizon Wireless is also a company that participates in a program called, Call2Recycle. Call2Recycle is a program operated by a non-profit organization called RBRC; it provides sites where rechargeable batteries can be recycled. There are currently 2,376 Call2Recycle sites active in the U.S., where more than 265,000 pounds of rechargeable batteries have been properly disposed of. In the sake of going green, Verizon is also offering a program called Green Bill. Through Green Bill, Verizon has created 1900+ stores that offer electronic brochures and receipts (Verizon Wireless, 2013). In doing so, Verizon has cut their costs as well as reducing the amount of paper consumed. In fact, around 70,000 trees are saved on a yearly basis because of the program. Verizon is also taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, by 2020, they plan to decrease their carbon foot print by 50%. Since 2009 alone, they have cut their footprint by about 37%.

Another big name in wireless networking is AT&T (American Telephone & Telegraph); they too are taking necessary steps in the right direction for sustainability. Just like Verizon, AT&T has a number of programs in effect to help combat the impact, they as a company is putting on the planet. AT&T main focuses of sustainability include: greenhouse gas emissions, human and labor rights, conflict minerals, lead acid batteries, energy efficiency, sustainable packaging, water, recycling, diversity and ethics. Since 2010, AT&T has completed over 14,300 different energy projects that have generated over $151 million in yearly energy costs. One of their biggest energy saving projects has been developing a means of alternative energy. Facilities in California have been retrofitted with fuel cells. Once the fuel cells are completely online, they will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 50% as well as completely eliminating any Sulfur or Nitrogen emissions (AT&T, 2013). As a result of the cells, over 149 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy will be produced annually. That is enough energy to power exactly 13,680 houses. AT&T is taking the extra step in sustainability. It is very rare that you will see a wireless provider taking a concern in the conservation of water. AT&T has joined forces with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to decrease the enormous 3.3 billion gallon water footprint we as a people have created (AT&T, 2013). The demand for water is always increasing; as a result the availability of water will be affected. AT&T is determined to reduce the amount of water used to cool larger buildings. By removing devices like cooling towers, that need huge amounts of water to cool buildings with things like free air cooling have shown very hopeful results. Additionally, AT&T is making changes to their vehicle fleet to reduce vehicle emissions. They plan to have around 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles in their fleet by 2018 (AT&T, 2013). Currently, out of the 71,000 vehicles in their fleet, just over 10% are fuelled by other means. Of the 7,061 alternative fuel vehicles, 5,226 run on compressed natural gas, 1,806 are hybrids, 3 are all-electric and 26 are extended range electric vehicles. So far, a total of 7.7 million gallons of unleaded gasoline has been saved by using alt-fuel vehicles. Furthermore, AT&T is utilizing their supply chain to transfer their goals and ideas companies they collaborate with. AT&T’s supply chain reaches from manufacturing, distribution, and service industries. Since 2008, AT&T has been awarding the companies through a program called the Supplier Sustainability Awards. They have awarded seven companies so far for their contributions to improvements in packaging, water usage, energy efficiency, alternative energy, greenhouse gasses, and overall any other steps to improve the environment (AT&T, 2013). These companies include: Battery Solutions, Cisco Systems, Sun Edison, Schneider Electric, TESSCO, Quest Resource Management Group, and Water & Energy Systems Technology. Both Verizon Wireless and AT&T are taking the necessary steps to help preserve our planet. Both companies do very similar things to better the environment, from recycling phones and other electronics properly, bringing in alternative fuel vehicles, and constructing energy efficient and green buildings. However, AT&T seems to being taking extra steps to preserve the environment. AT&T recognizes the fact that the demand for water is gradually increasing at a surprisingly alarming rate. AT&T is taking the step in the right direction by partnering with the EDF to help reduce the gigantic water footprint we are leaving behind. Due to the fact that they are going beyond their normal scope of business, AT&T definitely has superior sustainability practices.

Works Cited

AT&T. (2013). AT&T Environmental Sustainability Initiatives. Retrieved October 14, 2013, from http://www.att.com/gen/corporate-citizenship?pid=8506
AT&T. (2013). AT&T Sustainability Report 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2013, from http://www.att.com/gen/landing-pages?pid=24187#type_planet
Verizon Wireless. (2013). Our Commitment. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://aboutus.verizonwireless.com/commitment/sustainability/

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