For corporations, profits are the name of the game. One way to increase those profits is to reduce waste and improve efficiency. AT&T, one of the world’s largest companies, has implemented an array of new policies with both profits and environmental protection in mind, and, in so doing, has earned the Vision of America Award for 2001. The award is presented annually by Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit organization with 500 chapters that educates people about reducing waste.
AT&T has created and actively promoted a “telework” program that allows employees to work from home using their computers. The company estimates that its telecommuters have avoided driving 110 million miles, saved 5.1 million gallons of gasoline, and kept 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
In addition to these environmental benefits, the company has benefited, too. AT&T credits its telecommuters with $100 million in increased annual productivity and savings of $25 million a year related to reduced office space.
The award also recognizes other achievements. The company replaced a company- wide paper newsletter with an intranet Web site, thus reducing its paper usage by 1.4 million sheets and its costs by $100,000 a year. Personal computers, cell phone batteries, and carpeting are now recycled or disposed of through end-of-product-life agreements with the manufacturers.
The company’s growing concern with economic activity and the environment is also expressed through the AT&T Foundation, which awards $25,000 Industrial Ecology Faculty Fellowships annually to six academic researchers at colleges and universities.