With renewable energy sourcing commitments estimated to cover just 4% of its total energy usage by 2025, Verizon did not fare well in a report released in March 2018 that examined the big four telecommunications companies in the United States and their relative commitments towards sourcing clean, renewable energy.
What a difference a year makes!
After Green Century filed a shareholder resolution with the company in November, Verizon announced a new commitment to source 50% of its entire electricity usage from renewable energy sources by 2025, a significant increase for one of the country’s largest energy consumers.
Besides the obvious environmental impetus, there are solid financial justifications for sourcing more renewable energy, as the economics around renewables have changed dramatically in the last decade.
Since 2010, the cost of generating power from onshore wind and solar photovoltaic panels has fallen 23% and 73%, respectively. Technological developments in the renewable energy sector have led organizations, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency, to predict that all renewable energy technologies will be cost competitive with fossil fuels by 2020.
Verizon isn’t the only company recognizing the ability to do good while doing better.
In fact, 2018 saw the greatest amount of renewable energy ever sourced by corporations in the United States: 6.43 gigawatts, or nearly twice that of the second greatest year on record.
Despite this acceleration of renewable energy sourcing, the United States still has a long way to go. In 2017 over 80% of energy came from fossil fuels or nuclear energy, with just 17% attributable to renewables.
That is why Verizon’s forward-looking commitment is so important – signaling the demand for large quantities of sustainably produced energy is critical to keeping the momentum and helping to shift the balance in favor of renewables.
As renewable energy continues to scale, and prices continue to drop, more and more companies should recognize that renewable energy is good for their bottom lines and the environment.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to press companies to source more renewable energy and foster the transition to a fossil fuel free economy.
*As of December 31, 2018, Verizon Communication, Inc. comprised 1.51%, 2.34%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund, respectively. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
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