US telco giant pledges to become 'carbon neutral' by 2035
The current occupant of the White House may be somewhat less convinced of the urgent need to shift to a low carbon economy, but the US corporate sector continues to ramp up action in response to escalating climate risks.
On Monday US telecoms giant Verizon Communications announced plans to become a 'carbon neutral' across its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2035 through a combination of cutting its own emissions, switching to renewable energy, and purchasing carbon offsets.
The company also said it now aims to cut its carbon intensity in half by 2025, having already achieved a 28 per cent reduction since its 2016 baseline, as well as sourcing 50 per cent of its electricity from renewables by the same date, in part by adding another 24MW of on-site green energy systems.
Verizon now boasts 22 onsite renewable energy installations with a total of more than 22MW of capacity, as well as 278 buildings certified by Energy Star for energy efficiency, it said.
In addition, Verizon said it had worked with consultancy Carbon Trust to calculate that its products and services had helped customers cut energy and reduce emissions equivalent to 8.2 million metric tonnes of CO2, or about the same as removing 1.6 million cars from the road for one year.
The move follows Verizon's announcement earlier this year that it had become the first US telecoms firm to launch a Green Bond, which it estimated would deliver $1bn in net proceeds for renewables, energy efficiency, green buildings, water management, biodiversity, and conservation projects to help advance the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
James Gowen, chief sustainability officer and vice president of supply chain operations at Verizon, claimed sustainability and social responsibility were "part of Verizon's DNA".
"As an emerging leader in sustainability, Verizon understands its responsibility to continuously evolve and innovate to meet new challenges and expectations," he added.
The news came on the same day as business and financial software giant Intuit revealed it has made rapid progress towards its climate goals, which have now been validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative.