It’s officially been one year since Verizon issued a $1 billion green bond to, in part, help the company reach its goal of 50 percent clean energy by 2025. In 2019, its major competitors announced new clean energy projects, shifting their networks further from reliance on fossil fuels. But Verizon did not announce any new clean energy contracts – until now.
Verizon recently announced that $133 million of the green bond is allocated to a purchase agreement for up to 130 megawatts of capacity from a new wind energy facility that will begin operation at the end of 2020. This is a step in the right direction, but Verizon still has a long way to go to reach its goal. Its competitors have made impressive progress, with T-Mobile reporting 95 percent of its energy use is now renewables and AT&T announced it now uses 1.5 gigawatts of clean energy. Verizon will need to allocate more funds from its green bond to increase its use of clean energy rapidly in order to meet its goal.
AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all made strong progress on renewable energy in the past two years, with $1 billion raised specifically for green initiatives, why isn’t Verizon moving faster?
What is a Green Bond?
A bond is an instrument for a company or government borrowing money from investors in the market with a commitment to repay in a certain timeline. A green bond means the money is lent in exchange for a commitment to repay on a fixed timeline and to use the funds for environmental initiatives in renewable energy, clean transportation, pollution prevention, water management, etc. On the business side, green bonds also provide tax incentives like exemption and credits.
Green bonds are rapidly growing worldwide, reaching an estimated $500 billion in value, but this is still just one percent of the larger global market. And their growth in North American markets is slower than in other regions. It was estimated that Verizon’s announcement would lead other US companies to follow suit, but that shift remains to be seen. In the past, there have been transparency issues in cases of green bonds around the world, such as the funding of "clean coal" projects in China. There are efforts underway to implement universal standards and expand the green bond market, but transparency from recipients of these funds remains a critical issue.
It's encouraging that Verizon is reporting out on its use of bond funding and using financing for renewable energy. But based on the progress made by its competitors without using $1 billion in bond financing, we would anticipate Verizon’s bond funding to allow Verizon to rapidly catch up with and surpass its competitors. We strongly encourage Verizon to rapidly build on this movement in the upcoming year and reach 100 percent renewable energy in 2025.
Tell Verizon that you support its step forward, but urge them to urgently build on this progress because the climate crisis demands rapid action on Twitter and Facebook:
Paste the below message in your Facebook status:
@Verizon, thank you for taking a step to progress on clean energy! As a consumer, I’m standing with @GreenAmerica and encouraging you to build on this action to #HangUpOnFossilFuels by committing to 100% renewable energy by 2025. http://greenam.org/2lFmk3q
Or contact Verizon on Facebook Messenger.
Don't Do Social Media? Call the Customer Line
Verizon makes it tough to contact them unless you're a customer. If you are a customer, you can call and use the below script:
"Hello, My name is _______ and I'm a Verizon customer. I want to thank Verizon for taking a first step on boosting its use of clean energy by investing in wind. As a customer, I'm urging Verizon to build on this progress and commit to reaching 100% renewable energy by 2025. This will reduce your company's climate impacts and create thousands of quality, green jobs in wind and solar energy. Thank you and have a great day."
(You will need to have your account and login information handy for this option. To do this, call 800.922.0204 or dial *611 from your mobile phone.)