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
Climate change & greenhouse gas emissions MA; 
102-56; 305-1; 305-2; 305-3; 305-4; 305-5


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


Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Climate change & GHG emissions

Stakeholder Engagement Topics
Climate change & GHG emissions

 

 

Our Position

 

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


2019 Key Performance Indicators (Greenhouse Gas Emissions¹)
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
U.S. carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 & 3 in metric tons [MT] CO₂ equivalent [CO₂e])
201511,611,524
201611,620,252
201710,716,169
201811,081,005
20199,387,488
Global carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 & 3 in MT CO₂e)
201511,795,685
201612,295,999
201711,639,219
201812,035,873
201910,419,308
Greenhouse gas emissions intensity (Scopes 1 & 2 in MT CO₂e/$ million of revenue)
201559.03
201654.33
201749.96
201844.99
201936.01
Greenhouse gas emissions intensity (Scopes 1 & 2 in MT CO₂e/petabyte of network traffic)²
201584.58
201635.39
201730.52
201826.89
201921.15

 

As of 2019 and moving forward, AT&T will report all emissions data containing Scope 2 emissions using the market-based Scope 2 calculation method, in accordance with the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, unless otherwise specified. Emissions data for 2018 and earlier was calculated using the location-based emissions methodology unless otherwise specified. Select historical data has been restated due to improvements in data collection, analysis and reporting methodology.

As of 2018, we include satellite traffic in our total network traffic. Learn more about how we calculate total traffic for our GHG emissions intensity metric in our Energy Management issue brief.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Goals

 

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.
 
2035 Goal: AT&T will be carbon neutral across our entire global operations.
 

 

Targets & Progress
2020 TARGET:  Reduce our Scope 1 GHG emissions by 20%, using a 2008 baseline of 1,354,054 metric tons (MT) CO2e. 3 3 In 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. In addition, 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.

 

PROGRESS: We emitted 990,955 MT CO2e (Scope 1) in 2019. This represents a 26.8% decrease compared to our 2008 baseline. Year-over-year, our Scope 1 GHG emissions are down 2.8% from 2018.

 

 

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 2019, AT&T reduced U.S. fleet emissions by 267,379 MT CO2e, or 31% from our 2008 baseline. In addition to reducing the size of our domestic fleet by more than 8,200 vehicles, 100% of passenger sedans procured for our domestic fleet since 2017 were hybrid vehicles. 

 

 

2020 TARGET: Develop and deploy a robust methodology to understand the impact of the AT&T network’s GHG emissions on society.

 

PROGRESS: Working 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. Read more at our 10x website.

 

 

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 in operational efficiency. 

 

 

 

Our Action

We’ve been measuring and disclosing our GHG emissions annually since 2008. In 2020, we committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2035 across our entire global operations. We will achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions through steps like accelerating network optimization and energy efficiency projects 4 4 Scope 1 emissions include direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the company (such as the fleet). Our 2019 Scope 1 total emissions of 990,955 MT CO2e can be further broken down by component - CO2: 822,550 MT CO2e (822,550 MT CO2), CH4: 769 MT CO2e (27 MT CH4), N2O: 7,392 MT CO2e (28 MT N2O) and HFCs: 160,244 MT CO2e. Scope 2 emissions include indirect emissions that result from the generation of purchased energy. Our total Scope 2 market-based emissions of 5,534,088 MT CO2e include indirect CO2 emissions of 5,501,525 MT CO2e (5,501,525 MT CO2). which realized 471 million kWh of energy conserved, the equivalent of 38,428 home’s energy use, in 2019 alone 5 5 EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator — virtualizing many network functions, expanding sustainable media production and scaling our renewable energy use. In addition, in 2019, we set science-based targets (SBT) to reduce our GHG emissions in line with international consensus on limiting global temperature increases. Our targets were approved in 2020 by the Science Based Targets initiative – a joint effort of CDP, WWF, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the World Resources Institute. Our goals are to:
  • Reduce our absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions 26% by 2030, from a 2015 base year.
  • Work to ensure that 50% of our suppliers (covering purchased goods and services, capital goods and downstream leased assets as a portion of spend) set their own science-based Scope 1 and Scope 2 targets by 2024.

Since the majority of our emissions are tied to energy use, we aim to meet these targets by optimizing energy use in our facilities and networks, purchasing renewable energy, and engaging our key suppliers to encourage emissions reductions upstream. Read more in our Energy Management issue brief.

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 evolve our GHG emissions management program and reporting tools to keep pace with the changing landscape and scope of our company – as well as with relevant standards, protocols and best practices. We work with an integrated energy services provider to compile, analyze and produce annual reports related to our GHG emissions. The content and methods related to data calculation, estimation and aggregation are reviewed each year to identify opportunities for improvement. For additional detail about the AT&T GHG emissions and calculations methodology, please see our Methodology and Process document.

We also obtain annual, independent assurance of our Scope 1, 2 and 3 (select categories) emissions, as well as select energy figures. For our 2019 reporting, TruCost conducted this assurance effort and their rigor in this process helps us realize continual, year-over-year improvements in accuracy. Learn more in the Independent Accountant’s Report.

Performance
In 2019, our combined Scope 1 and market-based Scope 2 emissions decreased 15.8% compared to 2018 combined Scope 1 and market-based Scope 2 emissions. 6 6 As of 2019 and moving forward, AT&T will report all emissions data containing Scope 2 emissions using the market-based Scope 2 calculation method, in accordance with the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, unless otherwise specified. Emissions data for 2018 and earlier was calculated using the location-based emissions methodology unless otherwise specified. In previous years, we reported comparisons to location-based Scope 2 figures. As of 2019, we calculate year-over-year comparisons using the Scope 2 market-based methodology, which enables us to account for renewable electricity in our portfolio.

 

 

Scope 1 (Direct Emissions)

Scope 1 (direct) emissions account for 9.5% of our total reported emissions. We met our goal 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).3 In 2019, we emitted 990,955 MT CO2e, representing a 26.8% decrease compared to our 2008 baseline. This also represents a year-over-year decrease of 2.8% in Scope 1 emissions.

We also met our goal to reduce the GHG emissions of our U.S. fleet 30% from our 2008 baseline of 865,777 metric tons (MT) CO2e. Through 2019, our U.S. ground fleet emissions have decreased 267,379 MT CO2e – or 31% – from our 2008 baseline. This also represents a year-over-year decrease of 39,739 MT CO2e – or 6.3% – from 2018.

To reduce fleet emissions, we are exploring several opportunities, including electrifying our fleet. In early 2020, we joined the Corporate Electric Vehicles Alliance (CEVA), which serves as a platform for companies to collaborate to increase corporate demand for electric vehicles (EVs). Through our membership in CEVA, we can work with other companies to identify challenges and opportunities involved in adding EVs to our fleet.

 

 

Scope 2 (Indirect Emissions)

We report emissions figures using the market-based Scope 2 emissions in accordance with the GHG Protocol to enable us to account for renewable electricity in our portfolio.6

Scope 2 emissions (from purchased electricity and steam – CO2, CH4, N2O) account for the majority of our total operational emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2, i.e., direct and indirect). 7 7 Our emissions targets do not include specific goals related to nitrous oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (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. Our market-based Scope 2 emissions account for 84.8% of our total operational emissions. Year over year, our 2019 market-based Scope 2 emissions footprint decreased 17.8%.

The primary reduction in Scope 2 emissions was due to additional renewable energy in our portfolio, decommissions of network and real estate assets, and improvements in network radio resource efficiency. We also implemented various efficiency projects, 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)

Our most relevant sources of Scope 3 emissions include:

  • Waste Generated in Operations: To calculate our emissions related to waste generation, AT&T uses the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model 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. In 2019, our waste-related emissions were 34,267 MT CO2e.
  • Business Travel: Our business-related travel includes air and rail travel and rental car use. It does not include rideshare and taxi use. In 2019, our Scope 3 business-related travel increased 67% from 2018, largely due to the inclusion of WarnerMedia and rail travel data in our calculation.
  • Downstream Leased Assets: We track emissions from the operation of assets owned by AT&T and leased to other entities (e.g., customers) that are not already included in Scope 1 or Scope 2 for the reporting year. Total emissions for leased assets in 2019 were 3.7 million MT CO2e, a 12% decrease from 2018.
  • Supplier Emissions: AT&T works with the CDP Supply Chain program to collect emissions data from our top suppliers. This data enables us to estimate 3 categories of Scope 3 supplier emissions: purchased goods and services, capital goods, and upstream transportation and distribution. In calculating the emissions estimates, we apply the economic allocation model. Each year, CDP receives data from the previous year’s emissions, so data received in 2019 covers 2018 supplier emissions. Given the annual 1-year lag in supplier emissions availability, they are not included in the overall 2019 Scope 3 emissions total but are listed in the 2018 table below. Please see our Responsible Supply Chain issue brief for further details about our supply chain efforts.

 

Scope 3 2018 Supplier Emissions 8 8 Estimated for 3 categories only based on economic allocation of 2018 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. MT CO2e
Purchased Goods and Services 2,166,116
Capital Goods 167,125
Upstream Transportation and Distribution 64,038