A Journey with Purpose… Don’t Stop Believin’

By Roman Smith, Director Sustainability Operations, AT&T
Jun 22, 2016 12:45 PM ET

I recently had the privilege and opportunity to represent AT&T at the Sustainable Brands 2016 conference in gorgeous San Diego. The conference brings together top brands that fill 4 days with extraordinary conversation and insight to inspire and activate business success toward a sustainable future.

The theme for the conference was Activating Purpose, focusing on the notion of companies having brand promises that are integrated into their core businesses. To me, the term “purpose” refers to a company’s mission or vision that is at the heart of what they do. What I found particularly compelling in conversations around the conference was the idea that purpose should be a journey, not destination – especially as I think about AT&T’s purpose: Using the power of our network to build a better tomorrow.

At AT&T, we strive to create a better, smarter, more connected future. That’s why we set a goal to enable carbon saving 10 times the footprint of our operations by year-end 2025. We call it our “10x” goal.

While at the conference, I was able to talk about AT&T’s purpose and our 10x goal on a panel about Net Positive, alongside our friends from Forum for the Future, BSR, Dell, Fetzer Vineyards and Harvard SHINE. The Net Positive Project is a cross-sector coalition of companies working together to go beyond reducing their negative sustainability impacts to contribute in a “net positive” way to the world. It’s a new way of doing business… one where we aim to put more into society, the environment and the global economy than we take out.

Together with our Net Positive Project peers, we will work to build a framework to assess how our products and services can help society and the planet, while continuing to assess and reduce our own environmental footprint. AT&T’s role in the Net Positive Project is to help measure and quantify the environmental benefits of using our network within that framework. Not only does this work have the potential to mitigate and even reduce global carbon emissions, it creates value for our consumers and builds a business case for environmental sustainability.

I am proud to be alongside my peers on a path toward creating a cleaner, stronger and more sustainable future. I hope our message at Sustainable Brands San Diego inspired other companies to come along for the journey.