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