Verizon is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2023 for their Scope 1 and 2 emissions. The telecom’s plan for achieving this target involves a combination of cutting emissions directly, purchasing carbon offsets, and procuring more renewable energy.
More than 92% of Verizon’s emissions come from the electricity used to power their networks, according to the company’s 2018 corporate sustainability report. “We place a particular emphasis on increasing the energy efficiency of our larger wireless core data centers,” the publication said.
The latest goal builds on a commitment made last year to source 50% of total electricity usage from renewable energy equivalent by 2025. During the same timeframe, Verizon wants to add 24 more megawatts of new onsite green energy and slash the carbon intensity of their operations in half. The 2018 report noted that the company had already reduced its carbon intensity by 28% from a 2016 baseline.
Scope 1 direct emissions — mainly fuel for Verizon’s fleet, buildings, and back-up generators — rose 1.1% to 376,735 metric tons of CO2e between 2016 and 2017, the latest date available. Scope 2 indirect emissions, primarily power for Verizon’s networks, went down 18.2% to slightly more than 4.5 million metric tons of CO2e during the same time period.
Consumer and environmental groups put pressure on Verizon to scale up renewable energy commitments and set more aggressive targets, CleanTechnica reported in December. The telecom’s renewable energy target had previously been 4% by 2025.
Earlier this year, Verizon launched a $1 billion “green bond” that quickly attracted ESG investors. The definition of a “green” for the purposes of the bond stretched to include deploying 5G wireless technologies and legacy network replacements, Alexandra Scaggs reported in Barron’s. However, she did credit the company with meeting the International Capital Markets Association’s green-bond standards as well as being transparent about how the money is spent.
“Verizon is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations,” chief sustainability officer Jim Gowen said at the time.
The 4th Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 13 – 15, 2019 in Denver. Learn more here.