The operator announced a pair of new emissions targets, as well as launching a social impact-focussed start-up initiative, the Forward for Good Accelerator

Verizon today joins a number of operators around the world that are setting new climate and sustainability related targets for the future. 

The US giant first announced its environmental goals in 2019, aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2035 and will source or generate 50% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2025. Since then, the company has been making considerable progress towards these targets, becoming a leading corporate buyer of US renewable energy and beginning to harness on-site solar energy at eight of its facilities in 2020.

Now, the company has announced yet more specific targets for the future, committing to a 53 percent reduction in its operational emissions (Scope 1 and 2) between 2019 and 2030, and a 40 percent reduction in its value chain emissions (Scope 3) between 2019 and 2035. Naturally, these targets have been developed in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The company said that its solutions had enabled the avoidance of 12 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2020, with a goal increasing this total to 20 million metric tons by 2030.

“Our climate commitments and goals are ambitious, but the steps we’re taking now to reduce our carbon emissions and invest in renewable energy will help us become net zero in our operations by 2035,” said James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer and senior vice president, supply chain operations.

Alongside the announcement of these new climate-driven targets, Verizon also announced the creation of a new initiative aimed at driving social change through the use of new technologies, including 5G, mobile edge computing (MEC), artificial intelligence (AI) and extended reality (XR). The Verizon Forward for Good Accelerator initiative will see start-ups accepted into a 16-week programme where they are supported by a range of Verizon resources. The start-ups will be from a range of industries provided they focus on tackling climate-related issues and helping communities build resilience. 

The first cohort will begin this June, with a specific focus on helping communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

“We know the power of our technology and we’re partnering with innovators to bring technology-based solutions to a range of challenges facing communities now and moving forward,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon’s chief corporate social responsibility officer leading this climate justice effort. “Verizon is going beyond our climate impact to help communities to not only adapt to the changing climate, but reimagine how we live, work and innovate for a brighter future for everyone.”

Around the world, telecoms companies are increasingly rising to the climate challenge. Last month, the CEOs of 26 companies, including numerous telcos and equipment vendors, joined the European Green Digital Coalition, jointly pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. 


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