AT&T Issue Briefs

Our issue briefs provide additional details on topics identified as most important by our stakeholders. View all the issue briefs on the Reporting Library for a comprehensive overview or choose an issue in the drop-down menu.

 


Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures
Energy efficiency & renewables MA; 302-1; 302-3; 302-4; 305-4 


Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures
305-4


ESG Material Issues
Energy efficiency & renewables


ESG Material Issues
Alternative energy uptake; Company energy use

 

 

Our Position

 

Effective energy management directly impacts a company’s bottom line and is an important environmental consideration. It is critical to the competitiveness of our business and the reliability of our service to customers. 


Key Performance Indicators¹
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
Total energy consumption (megawatt-hour [MWh]) 
201719.5M
201818.7M
201917.9M
202017.5M
202117.1M (est.)
Total electricity use (MWh) (global direct billed and leased electricity)²
201714.3M
201814.3M
201914.1M
202014.1M
202114.0M (est.)
Total electricity use (gigajoule [GJ]) (global direct billed and leased electricity)²
201751.4M
201851.4M
201950.6M
202050.8M
202150.5M (est.)
Energy intensity (MWh electricity/1,000 subscribers)³
201777.31
201872.83
201965.88
202061.89
202156.73 (est.)
Energy intensity (MWh electricity/$ billion revenue) 
201791,274
201885,803
201977,557
202082,144
202183,020 (est.)
Percent total grid electricity/total energy
201773.2%
201876.4%
201977.7%
202079.1%
202180.5% (est.)
Percent grid electricity (kilowatt-hour [kWh]/total electricity [kWh used in operations])
201797.1%
201896.9%
201997.4%
202097.6%
202197.6% (est.)
Total on-site renewable energy capacity (kilowatt [kW]) 
20174,611
20184,611
20194,478
20204,478
20214,478 (est.)
Total on-site renewable energy production (kilowatt hour [kWh]) 
20176.63M
20185.70M
20195.31M
20204.71M
20214.71M (est.)
Renewable energy certificates purchased and power purchase agreements (MWh)
2017
2018
20191.99M
20202.26M
20212.25M (est.)
Total energy projects implemented (approx.) 
201718,000
201828,600
201926,700
20208,800
20214,600 (est.)
Total annualized energy conserved through energy savings projects (million kWh) 
20171,440
2018571
2019471
2020390
2021489 (est.)
Total annualized energy cost savings from energy projects
2017$148.0M
2018$51.1M
2019$39.8M
2020$40.0M
2021$123.0M (est.)

HTML Editor Component
*Contents may not have visible height

 

All 2021 data is inclusive of DIRECTV and Vrio. Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein.

Electricity is a subset of total energy. Electrical energy represents approximately 82% of total AT&T energy consumption globally. Other forms of energy include steam, chilled water and all types of fuel use. 

3 Electricity use is the numerator and is a proxy for total energy use. Total number of subscribers, including North America wireless, wireline voice and domestic broadband subscribers, as identified in our fiscal year 2021 Form 10-K, is the denominator and is a proxy for our production.

 

 

 

Our Action

Please note that all 2021 data is estimated. Final data will be available in Q2 2022

Our approach to energy management is constantly evolving as we explore new strategies to manage the energy we use more efficiently and incorporate renewable energy into our portfolio.

We take action to reduce energy consumption from non-renewable sources and source portions of our energy from renewable sources. We approach this effort in 3 ways: 

  • Investment: Purchasing large-scale renewable energy contracts that deliver clean energy to local grids and reduce our overall Scope 2 emissions 
  • Reductions and right-sizing: Eliminating unnecessary load by removing power from obsolete assets and properly diminishing capacity commensurate with the customer demand for services through a given technology or platform 
  • Optimization: Incorporating energy-efficient systems, products, methods and practices into building infrastructure and monitoring the holistic operation and energy performance of buildings and systems to identify and address energy-impacting maintenance deficiencies and opportunities 

We work with an integrated energy services provider to compile, analyze and produce annual reports related to our energy use. The content of those reports and all methods related to data calculation, estimation and aggregation are reviewed each year to identify opportunities for improvement. We also obtain independent assurance of select energy figures. For our 2021 reporting, TruCost assured calculations of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and select energy inventory. TruCost’s rigor in this process helps us realize continual, year-over-year improvements in accuracy. Learn more in the Independent Accountant’s Report.

 

AT&T has committed to be carbon neutral across our entire global operations by 2035. The company will achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions 4 4 Scope 1 emissions include direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the company (such as the fleet). Scope 2 emissions include indirect emissions that result from the generation of purchased energy. – saving the yearly equivalent of 1.1 million homes’ electricity use 5 5 Equivalency calculated using the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator. – by scaling our renewable energy use, accelerating network optimization and energy efficiency projects, and transitioning our fleet to electric vehicles. Learn more in our Climate Strategy & Transition Plan and Greenhouse Gas Emissions issue brief. 
Governance

We provide information about energy use, efficiency projects and renewable energy purchases to AT&T’s Corporate Social Responsibility Governance Council, composed of more than a dozen officers representing each of our operating companies with responsibility for business operations and management functions aligned to our most important environmental, social and governance focus areas. This council is led by our Chief Sustainability Officer, who works with the Governance and Policy Committee of the AT&T Board of Directors to achieve a wide range of sustainability-related business objectives. 

The AT&T Energy Policy states, “As a global communications leader, effective energy management is critical to the competitiveness of our business and the reliability of our service to customers.” The policy also outlines our commitment to “developing, in our offices and labs, new technologies and approaches to energy use” and calls for a comprehensive energy strategy with clear goals, metrics and management systems. 

Developing the policy spurred several energy management initiatives, beginning with the creation of a full-time energy management team staffed by certified energy and project management professionals. The energy management team is led by the Assistant Vice President – Network Engineering, as a part of the Implementation, Provisioning and Optimization organization. The energy team oversees a broad range of programs, including deregulated purchase strategies, regulated utility rate optimization, authorship of corporate energy and infrastructure policy directives, renewable energy purchases, and development and implementation of scaled energy efficiency and energy conservation measures. 

Our energy management systems, strategies and framework are reflective of ISO 50001 principles, including: 

  • Establishment of a defined Energy Policy 
  • Identification of suitable targets (buildings, systems, types of actions) for application of the Energy Policy 
  • Use of data-driven decision-making 
  • Critical evaluation of results of decisions 
  • Continuous improvement and adjustment to policies and systems to reflect advancement in energy management capabilities and best-in-class practices 

Our energy management systems have evolved over the last several years. Today, we increasingly rely on information flowing from fully instrumented buildings and platforms, energy use data feeds from serving utilities, and machine learning capabilities to help steer our program direction. 

Renewable Energy

AT&T works with internal and external organizations to identify better ways to source energy, including incorporating renewable energy into our portfolio. 

We continue to be one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the United States. AT&T is currently ranked 8th on the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Fortune 500 Partners List. In 2021, we supported the production of more than 2.3 billion kWh of renewable energy.

The energy production of our domestic renewable energy portfolio (both on- and off-site) is nearly 2.5 billion kWh annually, with more than 4.71 million kWh coming from on-site sources. 1 1 All 2021 data is inclusive of DIRECTV and Vrio. Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein. Most of our renewable energy now comes from off-site solar and wind contracts currently in production, along with hydropower received through supply contracts. Learn more in our Climate Strategy & Transition Plan and Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change issue briefs. 
Energy Projects

AT&T is always looking for ways to embrace advanced technologies and big-data analytics in the routine management of business functions. This is evident in our use of technology to support our energy efficiency goals and objectives.

We track and archive our global past, present and potential energy projects to facilitate energy reporting and analysis, project planning, energy commodity purchases and coordination of funding. In 2021, we invested more than $111 million to implement approximately 4,600 energy efficiency and reduction projects. These efforts will drive nearly 489 million kWh of annual energy savings and gross annualized energy cost savings of nearly $40 million. Our large-scale renewable energy projects delivered an additional $82 million in cost savings and more than 2.25 million renewable energy credits to help offset our greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2010, we have implemented more than 151,000 energy efficiency projects, resulting in annualized energy savings of nearly 8.1 billion kWh and cost savings of $733.8 million. 1 1 All 2021 data is inclusive of DIRECTV and Vrio. Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein.
Facilities

AT&T’s Energy and Building Management Solution (EBMS) is changing how we manage our operations and seek to reduce our energy consumption. EBMS uses our network to gather and centrally manage performance data from facility equipment across the country, allowing us to understand performance base years, monitor equipment status and move from reactive to predictive maintenance – while reducing unnecessary energy use. In 2021, we continued integrating EBMS across our footprint, with deployment complete at approximately 1,030 facilities.

Using EBMS building data, weather data and utility interval meter data, AT&T expanded its program to optimize energy use at an additional 199 central offices in 2021. We tailored the building management system programming and ensured critical mechanical repairs were completed. By implementing these optimization efforts, AT&T realized an average of 4.6% total building energy savings for larger facilities that required mechanical repairs. At smaller facilities where the building management system programming was optimized, AT&T realized an average of 3.5% total building energy savings. 1 1 All 2021 data is inclusive of DIRECTV and Vrio. Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein. We are continuing to expand deployment of EBMS and the central office optimization program in 2022.
We undertake thousands of energy efficiency projects in our facilities every year. These projects include smaller efforts, such as fixing a leaking chilled-water valve or replacing a lighting fixture with a high-efficiency model – as well as more complex initiatives, such as air-handler efficiency, controls upgrades, lighting retrofits, variable frequency drive installations and replacement of entire systems, such as chillers. We completed more than 349 projects in 2021, which will provide annualized savings of approximately 94 million kWh and nearly $10 million. 1 1 All 2021 data is inclusive of DIRECTV and Vrio. Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein. It typically takes 2.5 years or less to realize the benefits from projects to improve facility energy. Our 2021 projects will save an amount equivalent to providing electricity to more than 12,000 homes for a year. 5 5 Equivalency calculated using the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator.
Network Initiatives
We have opportunities to improve our energy use as we modernize our networks. In 2021, we executed nearly 4,100 energy-impacting activities, generating annualized savings of nearly 434 million kWh and $33 million. 1 1 These activities are detailed and complex; they comprise more than 140,000 individual tasks and projects across our entire network. 

Over this period, the AT&T Network organizations accelerated several transformation and decommissioning programs designed to improve overall asset utilization by systematically decommissioning and removing obsolete and outmoded network capacity and hardware. We continue to shift control from hardware to software to make our network faster, simpler and more scalable. Our software-defined network allows us to make advances in minimizing unused capacity, unnecessary energy expense and real estate square footage.

Energy Management Platform

Making energy data accessible and clear to energy managers across the company is essential to success. Each month, more than 300,000 utility invoices are uploaded to a centralized platform accessible to internal network operators, real estate managers and other AT&T employees who manage energy use. All bills are subjected to careful audit to identify anomalous usage and ensure proper application of all charges. The energy team uses this data to benchmark energy performance, set expectations and budgets, and assess usage trends over time. Employees and contractors across all organizations can access a dashboard in the energy platform with facility-level energy data and state-of-the-art energy management tools to inform decisions and analysis.

Energy Scorecard

Our energy scorecard is central to our energy management program. It provides visibility for facility energy consumption and project activity. Fed by the energy management platform, the scorecard generates easy-to-understand grades of our top 800 energy-consuming facilities and 1,200 energy-consuming retail locations. The grades are based on energy consumption and activity, including initiatives related to energy efficiency projects. Scorecards are available to facility managers, making energy consumption performance data available across the team. We have found that this increased visibility helps us set goals and promote innovation through shared learning.