Verizon – Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2018)
Outcome: Omitted by the SEC.
RESOLVED: The shareholders ask the Board of Directors of Verizon Communications, Inc. (the “Company”) to prepare a report to shareholders that evaluates the feasibility of the Company achieving by 2030 “net-zero” emissions of greenhouse gases from parts of the business directly owned and operated by the Company, as well as the feasibility of reducing other emissions associated with
Company activities. The report should be done at reasonable expense and may exclude confidential information.
In 2015, 196 parties at the U.N. Climate Change Conference agreed to limit climate change to an average global warming of 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures, with a goal of limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that to reach this goal, CO2 emissions must fall to zero by 2040 to 2070, and scientists agree that reaching
the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees goal means that the world must reach net-zero greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions by 2030 to 2050, sooner than is currently planned by most corporations and nations.
Achieving net-zero emissions essentially means reducing the level of greenhouse gases emitted on an annual basis to a level roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created by an individual entity. We believe that achieving this goal is important for companies generally to achieve long-term shareholder value.
Although Verizon has taken some steps, more needs to be done. For example, Verizon recently achieved its goal of reducing its carbon intensity by 50%, but there is no current goal for further reductions. Although Verizon has also committed to adding 24 MW of green energy into its operations by 2025, that would generate under one percent of the 10.8 million MWh of electricity that Verizon reports it consumed in 2016. Thus, it does not appear that the Verizon board has adopted an overall longer-term policy in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Industry peer BT Group has committed to sourcing 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. BT achieved an 80% reduction in absolute carbon emissions 3 years early.
In implementing this proposal, Verizon may wish to consider The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, prepared by World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute, which provides a useful guide for quantifying and reporting corporate GHG emissions. That Protocol identifies three types of emissions for a company’s consideration:
• Direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the company; and
• Electricity indirect emissions from electricity purchased and consumed by the company.
• Other emissions that otherwise result from a company’s activities.,
We believe that offsets should be permanent and represent emission reductions not likely to have occurred otherwise. Also, offsets should represent carbon abatement that is not being counted by another party and should account for leakage, i.e., deducting material increases in emissions elsewhere that nullify or reduce the abatement. Finally, we believe that independently audited information about offsets should be available to interested parties.
We urge you to vote FOR this proposal.