Energy Management

Energy management is constantly evolving, so we continue to explore new strategies and creative ways to work toward our goals and more efficiently manage the energy we use. Visibility and accountability, innovation and collaboration, and technology are the building blocks of our approach. For more informatin, see our Energy Management issue brief. 

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)

We are committed to following stringent environment, health and safety (EHS) regulations applicable to our operations, providing products and services in an environmentally responsible manner and protecting the health and safety of our employees within the jurisdictions in which we operate.

Our operating companies had 1 significant environmental compliance-related enforcement action in 2017 (defined as actions that resulted in sanctions equal to or exceeding $100,000). AT&T reached an agreement with the California Attorney General’s office and the Alameda County District Attorney’s office over improper disposal of hazardous waste by DIRECTV, LLC in company dumpsters for a monetary settlement of $9.5 million. We cooperated closely with the state and Alameda County to resolve this issue following our acquisition of DIRECTV in a way that is in the best interest of the environment, our customers and all Californians. The settlement recognizes the company for taking prompt action, dedicating significant additional resources toward environmental compliance and improving DIRECTV’s hazardous and universal waste management compliance programs.

We take our EHS stewardship seriously and we evaluate our EHS performance through regular reviews and audits. For more information, see our Environmental, Health & Safety issue brief.

OSHA Incidents

We take our environmental, health and safety (EHS) stewardship seriously, and we evaluate our EHS performance through regular reviews and audits. When issues are identified, we partner with federal, state and local agencies to reach resolutions that are in the best interest of the environment, our customers and the citizens of our communities.

In the event an accident occurs in the workplace, our policy is to respond swiftly, investigate contributing factors, determine the root cause and take appropriate corrective actions. We require employees to report all alleged work-related injuries, illnesses and accidents. For U.S. operations in 2017, our OSHA total recordable occupational injury and illness rate was 1.85 per 100 employees. This rate is lower than the most recent (2016) average published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the telecommunications industry, which was 2.0 per 100 employees.For more information, see our Environmental, Health & Safety issue brief. 


Alternative Fuel Vehicles

AT&T is always looking for ways to modify its fleet strategy in an effort to reduce fleet-related emissions. These efforts include deploying an Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) fleet, deploying the most efficient technology and leveraging our own fleet management solutions for commercial trucks and vans.

By 2020, we plan to reduce the emissions of our fleet by 30% by 2020 from our 2008 baseline (including DIRECTV’s fleet).

U.S. EPA SmartWay Program

AT&T participates in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay program. Through this program, we benchmark and measure progress in our transport emissions management, which helps us further integrate energy efficiency, air quality and climate change considerations into our decisions. The program also enables us to identify potential carbon reductions and cost savings opportunities in our distribution network. For more informaiton, see our Company Fleet and Transportation issue brief. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)

We’ve been measuring and disclosing our GHG emissions since 2008. 

For our 2017 GHG inventory, we obtained independent assurance of our Scope 1, 2 and 3 (3 categories) emissions from Trucost. Their statement can be found in this Independent Accountant’s Report. We believe it’s important that this metric be accurate, and Trucost’s increased rigor around this process helps us realize continual, year-over-year improvements in accuracy.

AT&T GHG Inventory, Year over Year chart

For more information, see our Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Energy Management and Engaging Our Supply Chain issue briefs.

Product Life Cycle

Cell Phone Recycling

AT AT&T, we're always striving to increase cell phone recycling and encourage our customers to be a part of this ongoing initiative. Because a phone's usable life doesn't end after its first owner, collecting these devices makes both business and environmental sense.

At AT&T, customers can recycle their old phones by:

  • Dropping them off at an AT&T retail store recycle bin
  • Taking advantage of the Trade-In Program with an AT&T retail associate or online at
  • Returning their AT&T Next phone when they upgrade

When our customers turn in a phone, our goal is to see if the phone can be reused. First, our priority is to protect our customers’ privacy. We offer our customers detailed information about wiping their devices before they return the device. As an additional protection to our customers, once we receive the device, we wipe it of customer-saved data. If the phone can be refurbished, we do so and put it back into the marketplace. This is beneficial from an environmental perspective and has the benefit of making phones more affordable to those who might not be able to purchase a new phone at full cost. If the phone can’t be reused in its entirety, we take it apart and pull out individual parts that might be reusable (e.g., the camera). The remaining plastics and metals are recycled responsibly. These materials end up in consumer products such as cell phones, PCs and tablets. Read more about cell phone recycling at AT&T in our Product Life Cycle issue brief. 


At AT&T, we are beginning to use a lifecycle approach to evaluate impacts of packaging changes on key sustainability metrics such as energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions and packaging waste. We strive to ensure that the changes made minimize the environmental impacts of packaging. Our areas of focus include material reuse and reduction, use of environmentally friendly materials, increasing recycled/certified content, improving end-of-life recyclability and improving transportation efficiency. Past projects have focused on our prepaid phone packaging and our broadband and network equipment packaging. Learn more about our packaging efforts in our Product Life Cycle issue brief. 

AT&T Eco-Rating

It’s easy for customers to compare products on attributes such as cost, technology and appearance. But it’s more difficult for them to gauge the environmental and social aspects of how the devices we sell are made. That’s why we developed the AT&T Eco-Rating system in 2012. By the end of 2017, AT&T, working with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), had developed the initial roadmap for the next iteration of Eco-Ratings. Eco-Ratings 3.0 will be designed to provide consumers with an expanded base of information on environmental attributes and responsible recycling practices for all AT&T-branded network-connected wireless devices. Work will commence in 2018 with external stakeholders and device manufacturers to provide data that shapes the updated ratings system and expands to a broader portfolio of devices (i.e. Internet of Things). For more information, see our Product Life Cycle issue brief. 

Supply Chain

For a company to fully understand its economic, environmental and social impact, it needs to understand the impacts and opportunities related to its supply chain. Collaboration with suppliers is crucial for both addressing major issues facing society and realizing opportunities for advancing a clean-energy economy, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reducing water usage, and improving labor practices. We believe it is important to understand more about the social, economic and environmental performance of our suppliers, and expect our suppliers to share our commitment to citizenship and sustainability. We engage our suppliers in some the following ways:

Principles of Conduct for Suppliers

We outline our expectations in our Principles of Conduct for Suppliers, which cover topics including sustainable business practices, diversity, conflict minerals, ethics and labor rights.

Sustainability Clauses

All of our model supply chain-managed material and services agreements contain a standard Citizenship and Sustainability clause that requires the suppliers to align with AT&T’s Principles of Conduct for Suppliers, and to respond to sustainability-related information requests from AT&T. The clause is standard in all new master agreements as of 2011; AT&T has executed thousands of agreements that contain the clause. We also have several clauses in our contract library that cover sustainability considerations such as energy efficiency.

Contract Manager Training

We train our contract managers, more than 200 sourcing professionals, about sustainability in the supply chain and are providing the tools necessary to engage our strategic suppliers on sustainable business practices. We focus on how the contract managers can work with suppliers to ensure that the suppliers respond to our sustainability survey, with intention to help suppliers improve their performance and scores. As a result we are seeing greater awareness and participation by our suppliers. For more information, see our Engaging our Supply Chain issue brief.



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