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
102-56; 305-1; 305-2; 305-3; 305-4; 305-5; Greenhouse gas emissions MA

Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures
102-56; 305-1; 305-2; 305-3; 305-4; 305-5; Greenhouse gas emissions MA

Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Company energy use; Impact of company fleet

Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Company energy use; Impact of company fleet



Our Position


We’re committed to measuring our GHG emissions and taking steps to reduce them.


2018 Key Performance Indicators
Domestic carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 & 3 in metric tons [MT] CO2 equivalent [CO2e])¹
Domestic and international carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 & 3 in MT CO2e)¹
Greenhouse gas emissions intensity (Scopes 1 & 2 in MT CO2e/$ million of revenue)¹
Greenhouse gas emissions intensity (Scopes 1 & 2 in MT CO2e/petabyte of network traffic)¹
Alternative-fuel vehicles in the domestic fleet as of end-of-year 2018

2020/2025 Goals

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2020 Goal
We will continue to drive reductions in emissions and increases in resource efficiency and alternative energy deployment. We will enable AT&T customers to lead more sustainable lives by expanding access to technology, further integrating sustainability solutions into products and measuring the impacts.
2025 Goal
AT&T will enable carbon savings 10 times the footprint of our operations by enhancing the efficiency of our network and delivering sustainable customer solutions.

Targets to Our 2020/2025 Goals

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2020 TARGET: Reduce our Scope 1 GHG emissions by 20%, using a 2008 baseline of 1,354,054 metric tons (MT) CO2e.³
PROGRESS: In 2018, we emitted 1,019,696 MT CO2e (Scope 1). This represents a 24.7% decrease compared to our 2008 baseline. Year-over-year, our Scope 1 GHG emissions are down 4.6% from 2017.
2020 TARGET: Reduce the GHG emissions of our U.S. fleet 30% from our 2008 baseline of 865,777 metric tons (MT) CO2e.
PROGRESS: By the end of 2018, AT&T reduced U.S. fleet emissions by 227,588 MT CO2e or 26% from our 2008 baseline. 100% of passenger sedans procured for our domestic fleet in 2018 were hybrid vehicles. In addition, AT&T reduced the size of our domestic fleet by more than 6,400 vehicles in 2018.
2020 TARGET: Develop and deploy a robust methodology to understand the impact of the AT&T network’s GHG emissions on society.
PROGRESS: With leading non-government organizations, industry groups and peer companies, AT&T developed a credible methodology to measure the GHG impacts of customers’ use of AT&T technology in an effort to track progress against our 10x Carbon Reduction Goal.
2025 TARGET: Enhance network efficiency to achieve a net-positive ratio between our operational footprint and the carbon reductions our technology makes possible for customers using our services.
PROGRESS: We continue to reduce our GHG emissions through extensive energy efficiency efforts in our buildings and network, optimization of our vehicle fleet and our large-scale renewable energy purchases. We also continue to leverage our technology to identify opportunities for additional improvements. Please see our Climate Change and Energy Management issue briefs for more information.


1All emissions data containing Scope 2 emissions references the location-based Scope 2 emissions of AT&T unless otherwise specified.

2In 2018 and going forward, we include satellite traffic in our total network traffic. Prior to this addition, our 2018 GHG emissions intensity metric would have been 52.2 metric tons CO2e/petabyte. Learn more about how we calculate total traffic for our GHG emissions intensity metric in our Energy Management issue brief.

3In 2017, AT&T restated our 2008 Scope 1 baseline to 1,354,054 MT CO2e to include a back-cast of DIRECTV’s business Scope 1 emissions for the baseline period. AT&T also migrated our fuel cell–related emissions to Scope 2 in accordance with GHG Protocol guidance. Both actions are discussed further in the Scope 1 narrative above.



Our Action


We’ve been measuring and disclosing our GHG emissions annually since 2008. Our GHG emissions management program and reporting tools evolve to keep pace with the changing landscape and scope of our company — as well as with all relevant standards, protocols and best practices. Since the majority of our emissions are tied to our energy use, we focus on large-scale energy management programs that target our networks and facilities. Our approach focuses first on eliminating unnecessary load and then on improving facility operations and maintenance.

The AT&T Global Infrastructure Optimization and Implementation team oversees numerous aspects of our business that impact GHG emissions, including our energy efficiency and energy conservation measures, decommissioning activities and renewable energy programs and purchases. Other measures impacting our emissions — such as our fleet, employee travel and expense policies — are managed within distinct business units in accordance with organizational directives and procedures.

We work with an integrated energy services provider to compile, analyze and produce annual reports related to our GHG emissions. The content and all methods related to data calculation, estimation and aggregation are reviewed each year to identify opportunities for improvement. We also obtain annual, independent assurance of our Scope 1, 2 and 3 (select categories) emissions. For our 2018 reporting, TruCost assured our GHG emissions 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.

For additional detail about the AT&T GHG emissions and calculations methodology, please see our Methodology and Process document.

  • Performance

    Our GHG emissions reduction programs generally focus on buildings, including their infrastructure and network systems. The majority of our initiatives seek to eliminate unnecessary energy load and to operate building systems with maximum efficiency, lowering our energy bills and extending the life of critical assets. For more information about programs that drive our emissions reductions, please see our Energy Management issue brief.

    In 2018, our combined Scope 1 and location-based Scope 2 emissions decreased by 4.22% compared to 2017.

  • Scope 1 (Direct Emissions)

    Direct (Scope 1) emissions account for 8.5% of our total reported emissions. Our goal is to reduce our Scope 1 emissions by 20% by 2020, using a 2008 Scope 1 baseline of 1,354,054 metric tons (MT) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). We began collecting Scope 1 emissions data in 2008, but have restated our 2008 Scope 1 baseline to include DIRECTV’s business. In 2018, we emitted 1,019,696 MT CO2e. This represents a 24.7% decrease compared to our 2008 baseline . 4 4 Natural gas fuel cell emissions are excluded from all annual Scope 1 emissions figures. The fuel cell emissions are included in Scope 2 emissions in accordance with guidance from the GHG Protocol. This also represents a year-over-year decrease of 4.6% in Scope 1 emissions.

    Our U.S. ground fleet emissions have decreased 26% (227,588 MT CO2e) from our 2008 baseline and 7.5% (52,598 MT CO2e) from 2017. Realized reductions against our baseline are in line with our expected reductions of 25%.

    One of the ways in which we reduce our fleet emissions is by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into our logistics planning. In our dispatch optimization center, we used AI to determine the most efficient schedules for technicians. In the process, we reduced travel time by 7%, avoiding more than 36 million miles of technician travel from 2017 to 2018.

    Our emissions targets do not include specific goals related to NOx, SOx or other significant air emissions. We do not measure significant air emissions as they are not a substantive source of Scope 1 emissions for AT&T. 


  • Scope 2 (Indirect Emissions)

    AT&T calculates both location- and market-based Scope 2 emissions 5 5 The location-based methodology reflects the average emissions intensity of grids on which energy consumption occurs (using mostly grid-average emission factor data). The market-based methodology derives emission factors from contractual instruments. Source: GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance
    in accordance with the GHG Protocol to enable us to more accurately account for renewable electricity in our portfolio.

    Scope 2 emissions (from purchased electricity and steam — CO2, CH4, N2O) account for the majority of our total operational emissions (direct, i.e., Scope 1 plus indirect, i.e., Scope 2). When using the location-based methodology, our Scope 2 emissions account for 86.7% of our total operational emissions. When using the market-based approach to Scope 2 accounting, our Scope 2 emissions account for 86.8% of our total operational emissions. Year over year, our 2018 location-based Scope 2 emissions footprint saw a 4.16% reduction, whereas our market-based Scope 2 emissions footprint saw a 0.35% decrease.

    The primary reduction in Scope 2 emissions was due to energy conservation efforts in our network and real-estate decommissioning. We implemented various efficiency projects as well, including building optimization modifications and repairs such as HVAC upgrades and lighting retrofits.

    See our Energy Management issue brief for more information about our energy programs.

  • Scope 3 (Other Emissions)

    For 2018, we’re able to report several categories of Scope 3 emissions and have expanded our reporting capabilities to include U-verse and DIRECTV Latin America set-top boxes. Our most relevant sources of Scope 3 emissions include: 

    Waste Generated in Operations

    For the first time in 2018, AT&T is reporting emissions related to waste generation. AT&T utilized the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waste Reduction Model (WARM) to report emissions from several different waste management practices. We delineated our waste material by corrugated containers, office paper, dimensional lumber, yard trimmings, mixed paper, mixed metals, mixed plastics, mixed recyclables, food waste, mixed organics and mixed municipal solid waste. Our recycling efforts enable us to offset our waste-related emissions for a net total of -25,920 MT CO2e.

    Business Travel

    In 2018, our Scope 3 business-related travel (combined air travel and rental car use) decreased by 1.09% from 2017.

    Downstream Leased Assets

    We track emissions from the operation of assets that are owned by AT&T and leased to other entities (e.g., customers) in the reporting year, and not already included in Scope 1 or Scope 2. In 2018, AT&T expanded our Scope 3 reporting capabilities to include residential gateways along with set-top boxes for DIRECTV, U-verse and DIRECTV Latin America. In 2018, AT&T had approximately 15 million residential gateways in use in the U.S. We had more than 66 million set-top boxes in use domestically and more than 20 million in use in Latin America. Total emissions for leased assets exceeded 4.2 million MT CO2e, a 19.6% increase from 2017. This increase is due to the inclusion of residential gateways in our accounting. For a more detailed understanding, please see our Methodology and Process document.

    Supplier Emissions 

    AT&T works with the CDP Supply Chain program to collect emissions data from our top suppliers. Because of these efforts, we are able to estimate 3 categories of Scope 3 supplier emissions: purchased goods and services, capital goods and upstream transportation and distribution. The economic allocation model is applied in calculating the emissions estimates. Each year, CDP receives data from the previous year’s emissions, so data received in 2018 covers 2017 supplier emissions. Given the annual 1-year lag in supplier emissions availability, they are not included in the overall 2018 Scope 3 emissions total, but are listed in the 2017 table below.

    Please see our Responsible Supply Chain issue brief for further details about our supply chain efforts.

    Scope 3 2018 Supplier Emissions MT CO2e
    Purchased Goods and Services 2,208,205
    Capital Goods 103,628
    Upstream Transportation and Distribution 143,815

    This table, estimates for 3 categories only based on economic allocation of 2017 supplier GHG emissions, revenue and spend data for AT&T Communications, not including content and entertainment companies or suppliers’ own upstream Scope 3 emissions. The emissions are calculated from supplier responses to CDP supply chain using the industry-accepted economic allocation model.



Since the acquisition of WarnerMedia in June 2018 and the launch of Xandr in September 2018, we are continuing to integrate operationally and through our CSR reporting. For this reason, information for these 2 affiliates is not included in this brief, except where specifically referenced.


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