How Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Can Deliver a Low-Carbon Future
At Verizon, we believe that our communications solutions can support the important goal of transitioning to a low-carbon future.
To advance research into how information and communications technology, or ICT, can deliver a low-carbon future, I serve on the board of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, an industry association known as GeSI (http://gesi.org/). GeSI provides research and best practices for achieving integrated social and environmental sustainability through ICT.
In June 2015, GeSI released the SMARTer2030 report (http://smarter2030.gesi.org/), which indicates that ICT — such as our network-based telematics and smart city solutions — can enable a 20% reduction of global CO2e emissions by 2030. CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, describes different greenhouse gases in a common unit and signifies the amount of CO2 that would have the equivalent global-warming impact.
The findings are significant. Historically, every 1% increase in global GDP was accompanied by approximately a .5% increase in carbon emissions. However, this new research suggests that deploying effective ICT solutions could reduce total global emissions of CO2e by 12Gt (Gigatons) by 2030, decoupling economic and emissions growth, and promoting a path to sustainable growth.
The SMARTer2030 report illustrates that as ICT has become faster, cheaper, and more accessible globally, it generates powerful environmental, economic, and social benefits. The report’s key findings include:
• Emissions avoided through ICT are nearly 10 times greater than the emissions generated by deploying it (1.97% of global emissions in 2030).
• Eight (8) sectors (energy, food, manufacturing, health, building, work, learning, and logistics) will deliver the most significant ICT-enabled sustainability benefits — over $11 trillion — to the global economy.
• The most substantial environmental benefits identified include increasing agricultural crop yields by 30%, and saving over 300 trillion liters of water and 25 billion barrels of oil per year.
ICT is a powerful tool for corporations to increase their operational efficiency while minimizing their carbon footprint. At Verizon, our smart solutions enable our customers to better manage their buildings and fleets, run power grids, and telecommute.
In 2015, our services empowered our customers to reduce their CO2 emissions by 5 million to 7 million metric tons — the equivalent of taking more than 1 million cars off the road.
At Verizon we take a multi-pronged approach to reduce the impact of our operations:
• In 2009, we began certifying our retail stores in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, and by the end of 2014, 230 of our stores met this energy-efficiency standard.
• We have invested $137M in green energy, deploying over 24 megawatts of solar and fuel cell energy to reduce our carbon footprint.
• Finally, we are providing customers with more self-service options, which enables us to reduce the number of service dispatches, reducing our fuel consumption and emissions.
At the heart of Verizon’s solutions is the Internet of Things, which connects people, systems, and machines in innovative ways. A Smarter 2030 for Verizon means using our connectivity to deliver solutions that help communities become more sustainable and resilient.