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Greenhouse gas emissions of largest U.S. IT and telecom firms 2018

As of 2018, the leading U.S. telecom companies (based on market cap*), AT&T and Verizon, were emitting 16.9 and 11.2 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e), respectively. However, both companies are committed to going carbon neutral by 2035 in their direct and indirect emissions, making significant steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

Energy consumption

In order to lessen their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, AT&T and Verizon will have to continuously reduce energy consumption of their telecommunications networks. This reduction specifically in the networks is crucial for reducing the companies’ carbon footprint. Take Verizon as an example, the company has revealed in its 2019 Environmental, Social, and Governance Report, that 91 percent of its 2018 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) profile comes from the electricity generation used to power their telecom networks. Therefore, in order to decrease the consumption in electricity, Verizon is employing new cooling systems that will put less strain on the networks, allowing for increased energy efficiency.

Preventing greenhouse gas emissions

From 2017 to 2018 the United States saw a 2.9 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions. There is a broad spectrum of strategies to mitigate these CO2 emissions and to promote overall sustainable objectives, with various levels of degree. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by balancing CO2 emissions with removal (also known as carbon offsetting) or through eliminating CO2 emissions altogether. AT&T and Verizon are dedicating themselves to carbon neutrality by 2035 through a combination of the methods above. Many of the other leading technology firms, including Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook, and Salesforce, have also dedicated themselves to zero-sum emissions or have already obtained this objective.

Greenhouse gas emissions for leading information technology (IT) and telecom firms by market capitalization in the United States in 2018

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Release date

October 2020


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* The source indicates that the market capitalization (in billion U.S. dollars) of the firms is as of October 19, 2020.

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