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 complying with all applicable environment, health and safety laws and regulations and to maintaining and improving management systems throughout the company to ensure environmental responsibility and employee safety. AT&T complies with the environmental laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which it operates. We take our environmental, health and safety (EHS) stewardship seriously, and we evaluate our EHS performance through regular reviews and audits. See our Environmental, Health & Safety issue brief for more information.

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.See our Environmental, Health & Safety issue brief for more information.


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.

See our Company Fleet and Transportation issue brief for more information.

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

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 device recycling and encourage our customers to be a part of this ongoing initiative. Because devices can be reused, refurbished or recycled 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; or
  • 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. We developed this rating system in collaboration with BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability. Upon its launch, we also found that the system is driving innovation as we work with manufacturers to continuously improve performance. Rather than focus on a single device or environmental attribute, it helps us gain a holistic view of our entire portfolio across its lifecycle—from design to end-of-life—and advance accordingly.


We have also started research and strategy planning for Eco-Rating 3.0. The next phase of Eco-Rating will span a broader spectrum of consumer devices and products to provide consumers greater transparency on environmental impact and elevate compliance standards for suppliers. In 2018, we are planning to continue working with BSR to develop an Eco-Rating 3.0 program by applying ratings to a larger range of devices including IoT devices and accessories, and greater transparency for customers on the products they choose to purchase.

See our Product Life Cycle issue brief for more information.

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.

See our Engaging our Supply Chain issue brief for more information.

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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