Verizon today unveiled a new, three-pronged business plan called Citizen Verizon that commits the company to sustainability, human prosperity and digital inclusion.
The plan, which has been in the works for several years, has its roots in a 20-year-old commitment to corporate responsibility, according to Verizon‘s head of brand development, Kristin McHugh. Those efforts were accelerated when Hans Vestberg joined the company as CEO in 2018, she added.
“It’s really important for us to tell the broader narrative about what we’re doing and why,” McHugh said. Citizen Verizon, she explained, is “our plan for economic, environmental and social advancement.”
While today marks the plan’s official launch, Verizon is also hosting the first of a series of virtual events on July 28 that it’s calling the Citizen Verizon Assembly: Charging Social Change Forward. The event will feature thought leaders, activists and business leaders discussing the importance of corporate responsibility in addressing social issues.
The first aspect of the plan—digital inclusion—includes a commitment to providing digital access and skills training to 10 million youths by 2030. The telecom is working on an online education platform that will support teachers, administrators and students handle the complex learning environment created by Covid-19—a piece of the project that developers tweaked after the novel coronavirus pandemic—while focusing specifically on skills that will serve young people as technology continues to transform our economy. These efforts will be focused on underserved schools, low-income communities and rural populations to increase access to the skills and experience necessary to increase opportunities for students.
The role that Verizon plays in its customers’ lives “has never been more important than during Covid, when you think about the reliance on networks and what people needed in terms of connectivity,” said McHugh. Because the plan was in its final stages as the global health crisis began spreading through the country, the specific needs of consumers and employees during the pandemic played an important role in shaping the final product, she said.
As part of its sustainability commitment, Verizon said it plans to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2035 by reducing emissions, investing in renewable energy and purchasing carbon offsets. It’ll also be deploying 24 more megawatts of on-site renewable energy by 2025 and planting 10 million trees by 2030, in addition to yearly benchmarks to ensure that Verizon is on track to honor its commitments.
The last prong of the plan is aimed at preparing the workforce for the “jobs of the future,” Verizon said. The telecom is committing to training 500,000 individuals through a platform that provides digital tools and services, job placement and collaborative partnerships to promote skills-based hiring.
“There has never been a more critical moment to demonstrate the power of purpose,” said Vestberg in a statement. “To continue being one of the world’s technology leaders, we must address the economic, environmental and societal issues that are most pressing.”