By Timothy S. Harden, President – Supply Chain and Fleet Operations
Some sustainability issues are too big to tackle alone. I’m thinking of challenges such as transitioning to a clean energy economy, creating closed-loop waste streams, tackling greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing water usage. With our purchasing power, big companies like AT&T can help make those sustainability goals possible. Our supply chain encompasses many other firms and can spark ripple effects for sustainability both upstream and downstream.
We have an important role to play, but we can’t do it without dedicated sustainability allies in our supply chain. They help us turn our goals into reality.
That’s why today we awarded our AT&T 2012 Supplier Sustainability Awards to Cisco Systems, Inc., Quest Resource Management Group, Schneider Electric – Professional Services, and Water & Energy Systems Technology, Inc. The awards recognize suppliers who have been instrumental in helping us meet our sustainability goals. Beyond their relationship with us, they are helping to advance sustainability across the country. We are pleased to collaborate with them on the big sustainability issues mentioned above. Sustainability is a process, not a destination – and we still have room to grow. We’re grateful for these organizations’ help along the way.
2012 Award Winners
The AT&T 2012 Supplier Sustainability Awards recognize outstanding contributions in four categories: energy efficiency, environment, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use. These are topics of critical importance to both our business operations and the environment.
Transitioning to a clean energy economy
The most sustainable energy is the energy that is never used. Cisco Systems, Inc. received the Supplier Sustainability Award in Energy Efficiency for helping us reconcile increased data traffic on our network, which demands energy, and our desire for more efficient energy use. Smartphones and other modern technologies increased data traffic on our networks by 20,000 percent between 2007 and 2011. Cisco’s Carrier Routing System will help AT&T meet growing data demands while also staying on track to meet our goal of reducing electricity intensity 60 percent by 2014 over a 2008 baseline.
Closing the waste loop
Waste represents inefficiency for businesses’ bottom lines and is a negative for the environment. As such, many organizations, AT&T included, are diligently working to streamline their waste collection processes and collect the data that will uncover areas for improvement. Quest Resource Management Group provides a single source for all waste collection for AT&T Global Fleet Operations and provides us with garage-level data to help us reduce waste as much as possible. In 2012, they helped us recycle 138,000 gallons of oil, more than 13,000 gallons of antifreeze and more than 42,000 tires. Included in these numbers is an exciting closed-loop re-refined oil process that is reducing our fleet’s oil consumption. For this, we are pleased to name Quest the winner of the Supplier Sustainability Award in the Environment category.
Making greenhouse gas emissions measurable and transparent
We set a goal that by the end of 2015 the majority of our supply chain spend with strategic suppliers would be with those suppliers who tracked their own greenhouse gas emissions and have specific greenhouse gas goals. But we also want to lead by example. We measure our own greenhouse gas footprint, and Schneider Electric – Professional Services, formerly Summit Energy Services, is a critical resource for tracking and reporting our emissions. With their guidance on emissions, we secured positive Ernst & Young assurance on our 2011 GHG emissions.
Managing water in drought prone regions
AT&T’s corporate headquarters is in drought-prone Texas, so we understand firsthand the importance of water to communities and to business operations. We’re looking for ways to reduce our water footprint. One of the ways we’re doing so is to evaluate the potential to reduce the amount of water used in the cooling towers that keep commercial buildings chilled. It’s the reason we’re collaborating with the Environmental Defense Fund, and it’s also the reason that Water & Energy Systems Technology, Inc. is the winner in our Water Use category. Water & Energy Systems Technology, Inc. has helped us save 6.6 million gallons of water since November 2011 at cooling towers in Arizona alone.
KEYWORDS: Business & Trade, Energy, Environment, AT&T, awards, sustainability, supply chain, energy efficiency, water, greenhouse gas emissions, environment, collaboration, csr, Corporate Social Responsibility