How We Identify, Assess and Manage Climate-related Risks
AT&T explores both mitigation and adaptation strategies when considering climate change risks. To help identify and assess climate-related risk to our operations, we use the AT&T Climate Change Analysis Tool (CCAT) on an ongoing basis. For example, AT&T uses CCAT to cross-reference the location of network assets and operational facilities with projected inland and coastal flooding, or overall sea level rise, decades into the future – analyzing short, medium and long-term timeframes to inform our decision-making. As risks are identified via our CCAT tool, we use such information to help plan for maintenance, disaster recovery and future construction to best serve our customers and communities.
AT&T also uses such modeling to guide our capital investment spending, including deciding whether to elevate cell towers and other infrastructure in anticipation of sea level rise, or to protect such assets with barriers. For example, we have thousands of cell towers, some of which with batteries at ground level that are susceptible to flooding. CCAT is one tool we use to help determine which towers require retrofit to elevate the batteries above an identified risk zone.
Our CSR Global Environmental Sustainability team works with network and facilities experts across our operating companies to monitor and address climate-related impacts and required actions, as well as policy changes and other developments within and outside the company. As needed, such issues and identified solutions are communicated to our CSO, other relevant organizational leaders across our business, and to the AT&T Board of Directors.
In 2022, we engaged a third-party agency to help us expand and update our analysis of physical and transition climate-related risks. This effort will enhance our strategic planning, and we will update our TCFD disclosure with the outcomes of this analysis.
For more information, see our Climate Change issue brief and our CDP Response (questions C2.1, C2,2 and C2.2a).
Integrated Risk Management
Climate change-related risks are also integrated and analyzed through AT&T’s company-wide internal risk management processes.
The Governance and Policy Committee (GPC) of the AT&T Board of Directors (Board) oversees the entirety of AT&T’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy – including related risks, policies, programs and ESG reporting. This oversight includes our climate-related strategy, which addresses emissions reduction objectives, consumption of electricity and water, investments in renewable energy, waste management, fleet operations and policies governing our supply chain.
The Audit Committee of the Board oversees AT&T’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, as well as internal enterprise risk assessment activities and audit functions which incorporate ESG risks and disclosures.
Our Senior Vice President – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ESG, who is also our Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), oversees AT&T’s climate-related risks, opportunities and strategy-setting process, and receives weekly updates on climate-related activities and developments throughout the business. In addition to discussions with individual GPC members throughout the year, our CSO presents on relevant topics and is present at all GPC meetings for ESG dialog.
Our SVP – Network Engineering and Operations has responsibility for the resilience of our network, including energy and water use, and oversees the management of climate-related impacts to our operations. This includes our commitments to renewable energy, network disaster response and business continuity planning, as well as implementation and adoption of tools such as AT&T’s Climate Change Analysis Tool, which helps us identify climate-related risks to our infrastructure and operations up to 30 years in the future.
Our SVP – Audit Services, as well as our Chief Compliance Officer, oversee the integration of ESG issues, including environmental and climate-related impacts, into corporate enterprise risk assessment activities and audit functions. This includes analysis of ESG risks and disclosures, and associated processes, controls and assurance. The Chief Compliance Officer and the SVP – Audit Services each meet with the Audit Committee 4 times per year.
Our CSR Governance Council (Council) is led by our CSO and is comprised of more than a dozen officers representing each of our operating companies and departments with responsibility for business operations aligned to our most important ESG focus areas, such as climate change, emissions and use of energy and water resources. The Council meets 3–4 times per year and collaborates across a broad range of initiatives, competencies and perspectives.
In addition to the Council, we convene 5 core issue committees led by senior CSR management – including a committee focused on environmental issues, led by our Assistant Vice President (AVP) – Global Environmental Sustainability, a direct report to our CSO.
Members of our Global Environmental Sustainability team monitor internal and external climate-related developments and work closely with business unit experts throughout our operating companies to implement and enhance programs and policies addressing climate-related risks and opportunities for AT&T.
For more information, see our Climate Change issue brief and our CDP Response (questions C2.1 and C2.2).