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article imageOn Earth Day — Verizon announces plan to go carbon neutral

By Karen Graham     Apr 22, 2019 in Business
Verizon announced on Monday, April 22, the communications giant will go carbon-neutral by 2035 for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, encompassing direct emissions and those from the purchase of energy.
And very appropriately, Verizon has chosen Earth Day 2019 to make its announcement on going carbon neutral along with a thought-provoking article penned by Verizon CEO, Hans Vestberg, called "It’s Earth Day. How will you disrupt climate change this year?"
As Green Tech Media is reporting, this commitment by the company is the third in a "trifecta" of recent corporate sustainability moves according to Jim Gowen, the company’s chief of sustainability.
In February this year, Verizon announced the creation of its $1 billion green bond program. Proceeds from the program will go toward energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability projects. The February announcement came on the heels of a commitment made in December that Verizon would reach 50 percent renewable energy by 2025.
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Gowen claims that Verizon is in the middle of a "sustainability revolution," and that is one way to describe the situation with big corporations today. But some of Verizon's peers have been quicker to embrace sustainability. Take T-Mobile, for example. In 2018, T-Mobile pledged to reach 100 percent renewables by 2021.
In 2018, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance ranked AT&T second for corporate renewables deals. Last year AT&T procured 820 megawatts of wind. Verizon is now ready to compete with its peers, even as it expands its 5G network.
"When Verizon does things...we go all in," said Gowen. "We will continue to push the needle."
Verizon has a lot of catching up to do
Not only will Verizon have to focus on increasing its use of renewable energy sources, but it will have to focus on other initiatives, such as infrastructure improvements and upgrading its fleet operations. According to Gowen, onsite renewable generation now makes up less than 3 percent of the company’s consumption.
There has been a lot of talk about companies being transparent in reporting the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and their company's "carbon footprint." Verizon has taken its responsibility very seriously and for those readers interested in what one of these reports looks like, you can view the company's 2018 CDP Climate Change Response.
Verizon believes it can reach its sustainability goals through a combination of reducing GHG emissions directly, migrating energy procurement in favor of renewable and clean energy and through the purchase of carbon offsets. “Sustainability and social responsibility are part of Verizon’s DNA," says Gowan.
“As an emerging leader in sustainability, Verizon understands its responsibility to continuously evolve and innovate to meet new challenges and expectations.”
Mr. Vestberg ends his Earth Day article with a challenge to all of us: "This Earth Day, join me in thinking about and answering what may be the most important question of our time: What are you doing to disrupt climate change? I would love your thoughts. Tweet at me at @HansVestberg to continue the conversation."
More about Earth day, Verizon, carbon neutral by 2035, scope 1 and 2, Greenhouse gas emissions
 
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