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Paper Consumption

Materiality Assessment Topic: Company paper consumption

Issue Summary

Paper usage has environmental impacts, from sourcing issues to paper waste. Companies have an opportunity to reduce paper use at several points in operations including internal printing and customer billing.

Our Position

Minimizing paper use helps to reduce pollution, waste, and unnecessary use of water, energy and land resources. When we must use paper, we have a comprehensive, companywide Paper Procurement Policy that guides our paper sourcing. 

Data Highlights

Our Action

Progress Toward Paper Policy Goals

In 2011, guided by our Paper Procurement Policy, we set out to achieve goals on reducing, reusing and recycling paper products; increasing our role in promoting responsible forest products; and encouraging a market that conserves, protects and restores forests.

One of our goals is to increase Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) certified purchases of direct mail and office paper to 50 percent. In 2014, we ended the year by exceeding our objective with 77 percent of our direct mail, commercial print and office copy paper purchases being FSC certified.

We are in line to achieve our 2015 target of reducing our weight of paper purchased for consumer billing by 50 percent from the 2010 baseline year. In 2014, we achieved a 46.8 percent reduction of paper purchased in these areas from the 2010 baseline year. That equates to a reduction of more than 18.8 million pounds of paper.

Paperless Billing

Paperless billing helps to reduce the pollution, resource use and waste associated with paper bills. It’s also more efficient for our customers – and it improves our bottom line.

Our website is a one-stop resource paperless and self-service. Additionally, EcoSpace is an award-winning consumer website geared at engaging with our customers around our sustainability programs and empowering consumers to live more sustainably. It also provides information on paperless billing.

In 2014, more than 1.1 million additional customers opted to receive only an electronic bill, bringing the total number of customers going paperless to approximately 20.9 million at the end of 2014. Our goal is to continue to grow the number of customers using this service.

We actively encourage our customers to sign up for paperless billing service at


In 2014, AT&T’s internal Global End-User Print Services (GEPS) team (formerly Print360) continued multiple efforts to successfully reduce print and paper, including use of duplex print settings and optimization of the print environment with a focus on reducing and leveraging existing hardware and improving utilization.

Office paper purchases for printers and copiers are down 21 percent since 2012; this equates to 268,556 fewer reams of paper. This reduction in paper volume further contributes to AT&T’s sustainability efforts with the following environmental impacts:1

2012 Paper (Baseline) 2013 Paper 2014 Paper Net Impact
Quantity Paper (tons) 3,221.51 2,956.22 2,550.12 -671.39 tons less
Wood Use (tons) 8,419 7,726 6,664 -1,755 tons less
Trees 54,121 49,664 42,842 -11,279 fewer trees
Net Energy (million BTU's) 94,460 86,681 74,774 -19,686 million BTU's less
Greenhouse Gases (pounds COequiv.) 16,045,336 14,724,009 12,701,352 -3,343,984 pounds CO2 equiv. less
Water Consumption (gallons) 62,780,431 57,610,488 49,696,457 -13,083,974 gallons less


Updated on: Oct 28, 2015