Companies Improve on Renewable Energy But Need Major Improvement on Equity and Impacts on Underserved Communities.
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The three major U.S. telecommunications companies are significantly underperforming when it comes to energy justice, according to a new report by Green America. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile each received C or D grades in the organization’s latest report, which investigates energy use in the sector and assesses the companies’ energy procurement on key principles of energy and environmental justice.
Calling for a Just, Clean Transition, part two, found that while telecom companies have made several of the largest corporate clean energy purchases ever since Green America launched its Hang Up on Fossil Fuels Campaign in 2018, the industry still has a long way to go to reach 100% renewable energy. And all of the companies must do more to ensure that their energy purchases support energy justice. It is not enough to simply purchase renewable energy. Companies also need to ensure that energy purchases support energy justice by benefiting communities most harmed by fossil fuels and incorporating these communities and workers into the process of siting and construction decisions.
The report includes a scorecard grading each company on renewable energy goals, renewable contracts, renewable use, and energy justice.
An overview version of the report is also available.
Dan Howells, climate campaigns director at Green America, said: “It is encouraging that the big telecoms are making progress in adopting renewable energy to protect the planet. Yet, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T all could be doing more to put new wind and solar power on the grid. And all three companies need to use their market power to advance energy justice and protect communities as well.”
The report finds that companies can improve their energy justice scores by contracting for energy from companies that make improvements around the following RFP criteria: Decision-making power, Sourcing and Siting, Energy Burdens, Economic Opportunities (entrepreneurship), and Economic Opportunities (inclusive workplaces).
Elizabeth Silleck La Rue, report author and CEO of Silleck Consulting Services, LLC, said: “Systemic inequities won’t reverse themselves; it will take genuine, intentional, and sustained effort to create a renewable energy industry that fairly distributes decision-making power, benefits and burdens. Where the fast-growing and increasingly critical telecommunications and renewable energy industries intersect, there’s an opportunity to level the notoriously imbalanced power dynamics that plague the energy sector. Let’s take it.”
Fossil fuel extraction, combustion, and waste disproportionately harm communities of color, leading to significant environment and health impacts. In the transition to renewables, it is also essential to ensure that jobs in wind and solar benefit impacted and underserved communities. Currently, women of all races, and Black, Latino, and Indigenous peoples are underrepresented in the clean energy workforce. When solar and wind facilities are built in or near vulnerable communities, those communities must have key roles in the process and obtain benefits from the installations.
Part one of the report was released in 2022 and outlined the steps companies need to take to improve on energy justice. The report can be found at https://reports.greenamerica.org/energy-justice.
ABOUT GREEN AMERICA
Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses, investors, and consumers to solve today’s social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org
Max Karlin for Green America, (703) 276-3255, or firstname.lastname@example.org