Partners in Sustainability: AT&T
Many of the sustainability challenges that we prioritize at Samsung – whether it be realizing a circular economy or optimizing energy efficiency – are enhanced through partnerships and collaborative initiatives with credible, knowledgeable, and innovative brands, environmental organizations, and industry groups. Together with these like-minded eco-conscious allies, we are putting our scale, global presence, and pioneering spirit to work on building a more sustainable and equitable future. As part of our “Partners in Sustainability” series, Samsung’s esteemed partners are sharing their views on how tackling environmental challenges requires unparalleled cooperation.
|Title||Lead Sustainability Manager|
|Years working together||15 years+|
|Relationship focus||Samsung supplies mobile devices and accessories and network equipment for AT&T’s network.|
1. What does sustainability mean to AT&T – and how is it reflected in the facilities you operate, the suppliers that you work with, and the customers and communities you serve?
AT&T is extending our positive environmental impact and optimizing the resilience of our business through enhancements in resource efficiency and efforts to protect our network and stakeholders from environmental risk.
AT&T’s sustainability program encompasses all three letters of “ESG”:
- We are reducing our environmental impacts by setting ambitious emissions reduction targets and supporting our suppliers and customers in reducing their impacts.
- AT&T’s customers, communities, and employees are always at the forefront of our minds. Through programs to reduce the digital divide by addressing gaps in broadband access and affordability in under-resourced communities, our work in supporting communities affected by natural disasters, and our own diversity and inclusion programs for suppliers and employees, AT&T aims to be a socially responsible company.
- AT&T’s approach to ESG is integrated into our business through Board of Directors oversight, officer-level leadership of ESG initiatives across relevant departments and collaboration among dedicated teams of corporate responsibility professionals and subject-matter experts throughout the company.
2. How is the Company achieving its sustainability goals?
AT&T has set science-based targets (SBTs) for all three scopes of emissions. Our Scope 1 and 2 goal is to reduce emissions by 63% by 2030 (2015 base year). Further, our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2035. We aim to achieve this goal by enhancing our operational efficiency, investing in renewable energy, and transitioning to low carbon equipment such as electric vehicles.
Our commitment to reducing carbon emissions also extends outside of our own four walls. For Scope 3, we commit that 50% of our suppliers by spend will have their own Scope 1 and 2 SBTs by 2024. Through partnership with suppliers in setting their own ambitious emissions reduction targets, we are in-turn reducing our own footprint. We also committed to reducing a gigaton of CO2e by driving adoption of AT&T broadband-enabled technologies that can reduce GHG emissions, such as online collaboration tools and IoT solutions for fleet, asset and building energy management.
3. How are you realizing those goals in your relationship with Samsung?
Through connectivity technology, we can enable our customers to be more efficient and reduce their emissions. Technologies such as 5G, of which Samsung is a key supplier, can help businesses identify and respond to inefficiencies in their processes more quickly than ever, can connect a broader Internet of Things (IoT), and overall opens a new door towards innovations that will make our world more sustainable.
AT&T also asks all our large suppliers to participate in our annual sustainability assessments. Samsung reports yearly to CDP which helps us to better understand Samsung’s sustainability program, emissions data, and potential future areas of collaboration. Without this level of transparent and quality data sharing, it would be that much harder to work towards our collective climate goals. We appreciate Samsung’s support of these efforts!
4.What are some other ways that you’re helping your customers reduce their carbon footprint?
In 2021 we formed the Connected Climate Initiative to identify best practices, develop new products and use cases, and scale the innovations of startup partners building 5G- and other broadband-enabled climate solutions in collaboration with leading technology companies, AT&T Business customers, universities, and non-profits.
We also work to keep consumer e-waste out of landfills by reusing, refurbishing, and recycling. In 2021, we recovered more than 21 million devices including mobile phones, internet gateways and television set top boxes.
5. Why do you think collaboration is one of the keys to unlocking solutions to the climate crisis?
Climate change is not a problem that only AT&T faces nor is it something we can tackle alone. It is a global crisis that needs global attention and support. We need to collaborate with our suppliers, industry peers, and customers to bring forth solutions that will help us collectively reduce our carbon footprints.
Just as is necessary in solving any technological problem, we rely on our suppliers and customers to collaborate towards the best solution. Climate change is no different.
6. Lastly, how do you see climate change and equity intersecting?
At AT&T, supplier sustainability and supplier diversity are all one team. We recognize the need to pair the environmental and social sides of sustainability and want to support our diverse suppliers to set their own sustainability goals to not only make them more competitive and resilient, but also because we know that their communities are the most impacted by climate change.