Making Progress on Sustainability

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the OECD’s Inaugural Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct in Paris. The goal of the Forum was to bring together government, business, trade union, civil society and international organisation representatives to address the core challenge of how to do well while doing no harm in an effort to contribute to sustainable development and enduring social progress.

At AT&T, sustainability is deeply engrained in the fabric of what we do, both in our company and throughout the communities where we live and work. Our 2012 Sustainability Report – which we recently released – is a testament to that focus. For example, last year, we:

  • Reached more than 1.3 million pledges through the “It Can Wait” no texting while driving campaign.
  • Introduced Aspire Mentoring Academy, with the goal of providing 1 million hours of mentoring by our employees through the end of 2016.
  • Deployed our 7,000th alternative fuel vehicle and announced that 10 per cent of our corporate fleet of more than 71,000 vehicles is now comprised of alternative fuel models.
  • Implemented 5,659 energy projects that totalled an annualized savings of $65.6 million.

We’re very proud of the progress we’ve begun to make and we hope it motivates others to take steps to operate more sustainably and gives our customers and the broader community an idea of the work we’re doing every day for a better future.

As part of the Forum, the OECD also hosted a special event on Responsible Business Conduct on human rights and Internet freedom. The session was intended to deepen dialogue on the OECD Guidelines in relation to the information and communications technology sector. The Guidelines are recommendations to multinational enterprises providing voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct. The recommendations include promoting “Internet Freedom through respect of freedom of expression, assembly and association online.”

At AT&T, we believe the freedom to access information, the freedom to communicate and the respect for personal privacy are essential to the advancement of human potential. At a most basic level, the infrastructure we build and operate is part of a global platform which enables the ability to connect and communicate. Through our services and platforms, we make it possible for our users to hold and share opinions freely, to seek out the ideas of others and to communicate their own.

And, we believe that open, smart, and robust broadband networks are the foundation for the future of the Internet. We live in a world where ideas have no borders and where information can travel instantly and without regard to national boundaries. Given the rapid evolution of technology, it is critical we set out high-level principles that can adapt with the pace of technology and keep consumers connected.

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