U.S. Sustainable Telecom – Making Progress but Room to Improve

Our business, like many others these days, is under pressure to do more with less. It comes in many forms – pressure to use less energy to run a growing network or to meet with our customers more often while reducing costs and emissions. At AT&T this challenge forces us to think about how we can operate more efficiently and enable our customers to do so as well.

Take an Information Communications Technology (ICT) like telepresence for example. Telepresence is HD quality video conferencing technology that provides an in person type experience without having to travel cross country or around the globe. By using telepresence to hold business meetings in lieu of travel, users can save money and reduce emissions. Through our company’s use of the technology, we realized savings of more than $13.9 million in travel dollars and the equivalent emissions of more than 1620 passenger cars annually in 2011.

This week, research firm Verdantix issued a report –reen Quadrant® Sustainable Telecoms (US) 2012–that evaluates new and traditional services offered by fixed and mobile telecoms operators that verifiably help customers achieve sustainability benefits as well as fulfilling specific business needs. In the report, I’m happy to say that AT&T was listed among the Leaders.

The study concludes that we’re not there yet – even among the Leaders, as the US sustainable telecoms market is “very immature.” Yet there’s hope for the future. The study also predicts that the market is evolving in three phases and that by 2015 US-based telecom operators will have completed the transformation to making sustainability services a core part of corporate strategy.

As we seek to push the sustainable telecom market, it’s not enough to just offer these ICT products and services.  We need to be able to do a better job of quantifying the savings – both environmental and economic –which is why in 2011 we launched the AT&T Carbon Impact Assessment Tool.  Business customers can easily calculate the estimated GHG emissions and cost savings of using solutions that replace or reduce business travel and increase productivity and collaboration.

We’re making strides, and we know ICT can help all of us do more with less, and in the end save money and help minimize our impact on the environment.

How do you utilize ICT to lessen your impacts?
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