The urge to “do the right thing”—and a convincing business case—are driving U.S. telecom giant Verizon to embrace a 2035 deadline to make its operations carbon-neutral, a target that will encompass its energy purchases as well as direct emissions from its operations.
The emissions pledge follows Verizon’s December promise to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2025, and its February announcement of “a US$1-billion green bond program, with proceeds going to projects such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability efforts,” reports Greentech Media.
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Achieving carbon-neutrality in 16 years will be a heavy lift for the company, Greentech states, considering that it is still a long way from meeting its earlier 50% by 2025 pledge. Verizon Chief of Sustainability Jim Gowen said onsite renewables currently supply less than 3% of the company’s electricity, but told Greentech to expect further “significant” announcements soon.
With investments in solar dating back to 2013, and a commitment to purchase “another 24 megawatts of onsite projects by 2025,” Verizon is “investigating wind and other onsite options as well as power purchase agreements and virtual PPAs,” Greentech adds. And the company “will be looking at sites that can power its larger locations in states like New Jersey and California, which also happen to have healthy renewables incentives.”
Which is good news for the telecom giant, Gowen said, since the company does nothing without a business case. “We are a for-profit,” he told Greentech. “We’re going to be looking where the business case make sense, where incentives make sense, and where we can strike the right business relationship.”