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AT&T, Sprint Top Telecoms Sustainability Metrics

AT&T leads the US sustainable telecoms market in customer offerings and Sprint in corporate sustainability performance, according to a new study from independent analyst firm Verdantix.

Smaller operators like CenturyLink, Level 3, Earthlink and Windstream have not invested as much as their larger competitors, according to Green Quadrant Sustainable Telecoms (US) 2012. These providers score poorly on corporate sustainability and service capability due to limited portfolios of sustainable telecoms solutions, embryonic corporate sustainability programs and minimal sustainability product marketing, Verdantix says.

However, despite the strong sustainability offering from AT&T, Sprint and fellow major wireless firm Verizon, these firms have not yet made sustainability central to their business strategy and product marketing in the way that European telecoms firms have started to do, the report says.

This may be because they do not think US telecoms buyers are as sustainability-aware as their European counterparts, Verdantix says. But figures suggest that assumption may not have much basis in truth. Depending on the category of telecoms solution, between 13 percent and 35 percent of panel respondents – all of whom are US-based – consider sustainability to be the primary purchase driver ahead of cost savings, efficiency, productivity and brand enhancement.

Assessed in their home markets, the European telecoms operators scored higher than their US counterparts, reflecting the fact that sustainability investments tend to flow out over a period of years from the HQ country, Verdantix says.

The report analyzes the sustainable telecoms offering and corporate sustainability performance of the twelve largest telecoms service providers in the US. The study’s conclusions are also based on interviews with buyers of telecoms services representing firms with revenues of over $316 billion.

AT&T reduced the energy intensity of data carried on its network by 17 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the communications giant’s 2011 sustainability report. In 2011, AT&T used 344 kWh of energy for every terabyte of data transferred on its network, down from 415 kWh per terabyte in 2010 and 654 in 2008. Since 2008, AT&T has recorded annual reductions in this metric of at least 17 percent every year.

As well as reducing its energy intensity, the company increased its renewable energy use by over 11 percent from 2,849,896 kWh in 2010 to 3,182,923 kWh in 2011.

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