Verizon has developed a new metric for measuring carbon efficiency, enabling the company, for the first time, to accurately quantify the impact of all of its green initiatives.
The metric will help Verizon continue to make improvements in energy conservation and efficiency, as the rapid increase in demand for broadband, IP network services, wireless data and video increases the demands on the company's network - and the amount of energy needed to operate the network.
Called the "carbon intensity metric," the new measurement was developed by Verizon's Sustainability Office and tested over the past 12 months. The tests showed an improvement of approximately 15 percent in the company's carbon efficiency, from 2009 to 2010.
The metric is derived by first combining Verizon's total carbon emissions (in metric tons) from the electricity, building fuels and vehicle fuels used to run the company's business. Then, that total is divided by the number of terabytes of data that the company transports across its network. (One terabyte equals about 300 feature-length movies.) Verizon transported 78.6 million terabytes across its global network in 2010 - an increase of about 16 percent, compared with 2009. By measuring how many metric tons of carbon emissions Verizon produces, on average, to move a terabyte of data, the company can better assess the success of its sustainability efforts and where it needs to focus more attention to continue improving.
"We want to make sure our sustainability claims are backed up by solid methodology and numbers that we can share with everyone," said James Gowen, chief sustainability officer for Verizon. "We developed this metric because we are a network company, and our core measure is the amount of information we transport on our network. So this ratio is closely aligned with our business and will allow us to assess how we are becoming more energy efficient even as our business expands."
Verizon is committed to reporting its carbon efficiency each year and has a goal of increasing its carbon efficiency by an additional 15 percent this year. "The information transmitted over Verizon's networks every day is already equivalent to 215 million copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and customers want more." said Jeremy Symons, senior vice president at the National Wildlife Federation. "It requires a lot of energy to deliver all that data. By setting a goal of a 15 percent carbon-efficiency improvement for 2011, Verizon is helping to minimize the carbon footprint of the digital age even as customers ask for more services."
A Green Verizon
Verizon has implemented a wide range of green initiatives, including adding more alternative fuel and hybrid-engine vehicles to its fleet, deploying more energy-efficient network equipment, hosting recycling and other green-awareness events, and launching a campaign to encourage customers to switch to paperless billing.
The company has received numerous awards for its green initiatives. In 2010, Verizon received 21 awards for its sustainability achievements, and in January, the company received the Groundbreaker Award from the Clean Economy Network Education Fund.
Verizon also deployed 1,642 hybrid-engine and alternative fuel vehicles in 2010, bringing the total to more than 1,900 or about 5 percent of its fleet. Those efforts were recently lauded by President Obama for leadership in deploying green solutions, which included vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, biodiesel and other alternative fuels as well as using hybrid-engine technology. By the end of 2011, 7.5 percent of the company's fleet will use alternative fuels.
Verizon has been named to several lists for sustainability, corporate ethical standards and social responsibility, including the FTSE4Good Index, Ethibel Sustainability Index and Calvert Large Cap Value Fund. The company also was placed on the NASDAQ Global Sustainability Index, a benchmark for stocks of companies that take a leadership role in disclosing their carbon footprint, energy usage, water consumption and other relevant data.
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