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How green is thy telco?

Verizon steps up corporate sustainability program
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Hmmm, am I sensing the latest trend in plays for telecommunications subscriber loyalty? Telecommunications giant Verizon has substantially stepped up its practical efforts to reduce its global carbon footprint. And it is getting real public about it.

Its actions include ways to get more responsible about the direct impact of its operations, such as adding 1,600 alternative fuel-source vehicles into its repair and service fleet. That includes hybrid and compressed natural gas-powered aerial trucks and vans, hybrid pick-up trucks and sedans, and vehicles that use biodiesel and flex-fuel.

Verizon is also working with companies, such as Motorola, to trial more energy-efficienct versions of the technology that it puts in your home or business. One example involves updated FiOS-TV set-top boxes with features that use less energy while simultaneously increasing storage capacity.

Verizon's declaration comes as pretty much every communications carrier faces increasing demand on its broadband and wireless networks. The demand, in turn, means more demand on data centers, more demand on repair trucks, more demand to make its technology more energy efficient.

Last year, the company reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 793 million pounds, which Verizon estimates is the same amount produced by 46,700 homes. Another calculation that I kind of appreciate: Emissions per million dollars in revenue. From 2008 to 2009, Verizon reduced that amount to 60.2 metric tons from 64.4 metric tons one year earlier.

Verizon is doing many things technology-wise that have come to my notice over the past year that are also green-worthy. One thing that I HAVE written about is its demonstration facility in Columbia, Maryland, for showcasing how passive optical network technology can reduce power consumption. One thing that I HAVEN'T written about, however, is its move to set energy efficiency standards for those that supply it with network equipment. This move has saved more than 91 million in kilowatt hours since 2008, according to Verizon.

Am I naive enough to think most people will ditch their carrier because it can demonstrate higher standards of green business strategy than others. Not really? But you ARE going to pick someone who gives you equipment -- from set-top boxes to mobile phones -- that help you reduce your own personal or corporate energy consumption. Which is one reason I'm going to start watching all of the telecommunications companies just a little bit more closely in the future.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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