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AT&T: The role of broadband in addressing climate change and enabling a net-zero economy

8th September 2021 Charlene Lake, Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP-Corporate Social Responsibility, ATT 2 min read

As the world sets its sights on a net-zero economy, businesses are stepping up. Fifty-five percent of Fortune Global 200 companies have established targets for the partial or total elimination of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and 23% of these businesses have set dates for reaching carbon neutrality.

At Climate Week NYC 2020, AT&T announced our own goal to be carbon neutral for Scope 1 and 2 emissions across our global operations by 2035. This year, we are going further.

Recently, we announced a new goal to help other businesses collectively reduce a gigaton (or 1 billion metric tons) of GHG emissions by 2035. That’s equal to approximately 15% of U.S. emissions produced in 2019.

To help us meet this goal, we are launching a new program called the Connected Climate Initiative (CCI) to accelerate the adoption of broadband-powered climate solutions through innovative solutions and collaborations at scale. We are bringing together knowledge and expertise across businesses, startups, NGOs and academia to identify best practices, develop new technologies and use cases, and support innovative startups.

We are looking for participants across CCI’s four key focus areas:

  • Technology companies who will help us co-create broadband-driven solutions and use cases that drive operational and cost efficiencies through reduced emissions.
  • Universities with expertise to explore the possibilities of 5G for enabling emissions reductions in heavy-emitting industries like transportation, energy, agriculture and manufacturing.
  • Customers looking to use broadband to fundamentally change how work gets done by fueling innovation and disruptive technologies.
  • Technology collaborators – many software and other infrastructure companies – to scale innovation around edge-to-edge digital transformation, making integration of emissions-reducing solutions easier and faster for our customers to access and adopt.

All of us attending Climate Week NYC are here because we understand the risks of climate change are urgent and are dedicated to finding solutions. For our company, the opportunity is clear: Ubiquitous connectivity — nationwide broadband, which includes 5G access, for businesses everywhere — has the power to dramatically accelerate emission-reduction efforts. Between 2018 and 2020, AT&T has worked with Carbon Trust, a leader in emissions measurement, to calculate the emissions reduction enabled by AT&T connectivity for over 20 use cases. In that time, we calculate that AT&T connectivity from those use cases helped businesses reduce more than 72 million metric tons of CO2e, which is approximately 7% of our gigaton goal.

As businesses transition to a net-zero economy, we know broadband will continue to play a vital role.

Connectivity is already supercharging solutions, with innovations in AI, IoT and mobile-edge computing helping the manufacturing, energy, agriculture and transportation sectors manage and reduce the cost and consumption of electricity, fuel, water and raw materials that add to harmful emissions.

To learn more about this work, please check out our new AT&T Business website.