Verizon Launches Major Sustainability Initiative

Verizon has just announced a comprehensive sustainability program that contains a number of new initiatives, as well as the expansion of existing efforts.

The company, which was ranked #27 by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in its list of 100 best companies, continues to emphasize its intention to grow responsibly. The initiatives range from additional greening of its vehicle fleet to new, high-efficiency set top video boxes.

Some of the new initiatives for 2010 include:

  • Adding 1,600 alternative energy vehicles to the company fleet. Verizon is purchasing more than 1,100 alternative energy vehicles including hybrid and compressed natural gas-powered aerial bucket trucks and vans, and hybrid pick-up trucks and sedans. The company will also increase its use of biodiesel and flex-fuel (E85) to power 470 vehicles. New hybrid aerial bucket trucks replace the diesel generators used in conventional trucks of this type with batteries that can be recharged by the vehicle. Video.
  • Teaming-up with Motorola for a trial of eco-friendly set-top boxes for FiOS TV customers in select markets. The new QIP models use significantly less energy than existing models. Packaging for both models will be 100 percent recyclable and made from 75 percent recycled cardboard.
  • A long-term awareness campaign to educate, encourage and make it easy for Verizon’s 220,000 employees to cut energy use, recycle and reuse at work and home. Recent examples include free electronic recycling days, open to the public, at various company locations. All materials collected during the campaign will be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, Verizon notes.

The company is also playing a major role in smart grid deployment. Its Internet Protocol and wireless networks provide an ideal foundation for the smart grid’s control and metering functions.

These initiatives are in addition to a number of sustainability initiatives announced last year. In 2009, the company reduced its CO2 emissions by more than 793 million pounds, while improving its rate of emissions per million dollars in revenue to 60.2 metric tons of CO2 in 2009, from 64.4 metric tons in 2008.

It opened a new lab in Columbia, Md., for federal customers interested in Optical LAN services and technology, which can reduce power consumption by up to 75 percent because it requires no additional regeneration of power for up to 12 miles from a campus data center. It also set energy efficiency standards for the company’s suppliers of network equipment, resulting in a savings of 91 million kilowatt hours and more than 114 million pounds of CO2 avoidance.

Verizon has begun reducing its travel-related carbon emissions by handling millions of virtual meetings each month for customers, and conducting virtual meetings between Verizon employees, customers, partners and suppliers.  Doing so allowed employees to avoid the equivalent of 8 million pounds of CO2, which is like taking nearly 700 passenger cars off the road for a year.

Monitoring building temperatures and installing energy-efficient lighting reduced energy consumption by 84 million kilowatt hours, enough energy to power 7,800 homes for a year. The company’s operations center in Basking Ridge, NJ, and two Verizon Wireless stores earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED silver and gold certifications, respectively.

Drivers of Verizon vehicles conserved 1.7 million gallons of fuel in 2009 as part of the company’s continuing efforts to reduce engine idling, the equivalent of taking 2,800 cars off the road for a year.

Encouraging business customers to opt for paperless billing from Verizon also made an environmental impact.  Each time a customer does so, Verizon donates money to the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf program, which replenishes trees in the U.S. American Forests planted more than 70,000 trees in 2009, through its partnership with Verizon.

Verizon also operates a fuel cell-powered switching center in Garden City, Long Island, which not only saves energy, but also improves network reliability in the event of a utility blackout. The facility earned the DOE Energy Star Award in 2008.

Who knows, perhaps someday it will be able to change its name from Verizon Wireless to Verizon Carbonless.

RP Siegel is the Executive Director of Cool Rochester and the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails.

RP Siegel

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His work has appeared in Triple Pundit, GreenBiz, Justmeans, CSRWire, Sustainable Brands, PolicyInnovations, Social Earth, 3BL Media, ThomasNet, Huffington Post, Strategy+Business, Mechanical Engineering, and among others . He is the co-author, with Roger Saillant, of Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP is a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 52 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. RP recently returned from Abu Dhabi where he traveled as the winner of the 2015 Sustainability Week blogging competition.Contact:

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