The Numbers Behind T-Mobile US’s Sustainability Success

T-Mobile US CEO Mike Sievert
T-Mobile US reveals impressive recycling and carbon-reduction progress in its 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report as it targets net zero by 2040

T-Mobile US has revealed a number of significant steps towards its sustainability targets as it focuses on becoming a net-zero business by 2040.

T-Mobile US has 67,000 employees and total assets in 2023 of US$207.7bn.

Its 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report reveals impressive recycling and carbon-reduction progress as it arrows in on its 2040 net zero target.

Writing in the report’s foreword, T-Mobile US CEO Mike Sievert says: “We find purpose in working with our employees and partners to provide critical connectivity, but we’re also glad to be doing it in a sustainable way.

“Thanks to renewable energy certificates, the T-Mobile network is powered by 100% renewable electricity and serves as the cornerstone for our industry-leading environmental commitment to reach net-zero emissions for our entire carbon footprint by 2040.

“We were the first in US wireless to set this ambitious goal and are making notable progress.”

T-Mobile US shared its 5G coverage aims

A long list of achievements

The report is peppered with positive stats illustrating T-Mobile’s achievements in 2023. They include:

  • 66% of suppliers completed environmental and social assessments through EcoVadis – up from 48% in 2022 and 38% in 2021
  • 56% of suppliers had set science-based emissions targets by the end of 2023
  • 30% reduction in total Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions since 2020
  • 10 million customer devices collected and processed to be reused, resold or recycled
  • 62% reduction in energy (MWh) per PB of data since 2019
  • 100% of purchased electricity sourced from renewable energy
  • 19,000 metric tons of network e-waste was collected in 2023.
Janice V. Kapner, Executive VP & Chief Communications & Corporate Responsibility, T-Mobile US

Time for a stretch

Despite having achieved so much, the message from T-Mobile is that it wants to do a great deal more.

Janice V. Kapner, Executive VP & Chief Communications & Corporate Responsibility, T-Mobile US, said: “Our progress inspires us to do more as we pursue our mission to be the best in the world at connecting customers to their world.

“This means looking at how we can do better and where we can dream bigger to have a positive impact on people and the planet together.”

Janice added: “That’s why our strategic approach to corporate responsibility focuses on where we can drive the greatest impact and propel our business and communities forward through our operations, technology and our people in the years to come.”

T-Mobile’s headline goals include:

  • Achieve net-zero emissions across entire carbon footprint by 2040
  • Continue to source renewable energy equivalent to 100% of total electricity usage
  • Achieve a 95% reduction in energy consumption (MWh) per petabyte (PB) of data traffic by 2030, from a 2019 baseline.
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Net zero is the North Star

The report double-underlines T-Mobile’s aims, stating that all of its sustainability work is tied to its 2040 net zero target.

It says: “As our business continues to grow to keep pace with customer data use and connected technologies that leverage 5G, we’re combining our relentless passion for innovative thinking with bold actions to create a more sustainable future.

“Our 2040 net-zero goal is the north star that guides our environmental efforts, with all of our other targets and initiatives tying back to this important milestone.”

It adds: “We aim to achieve our science-based net-zero target and employ sustainable solutions that allow us to decouple our emissions from our business growth.

“We’ve already reduced our total carbon footprint year-over-year since announcing our net-zero goal, achieving a 30% reduction across Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions between 2020 and the end of 2023.”

The report says, In 2023, the company’s total carbon footprint decreased by approximately 14%.

It continues: “In total, our year-over-year emissions associated with purchasing goods, services and capital goods decreased by over 940,000 MT CO2e.

“We were also able to lower emissions related to transportation and shipping by over 200,000 MT CO2e as a result of reduced spend and network decommissioning activity as well as efficiencies that allowed us to remove more than 1,000 trucks and expedite vans from the road.”

T-Mobile's logo

Circular economy

T-Mobile said its commitment to the circular economy is built on four pillars:

1 – Design and Manufacturing: Designing for Longevity: since many of the products sold are designed and manufactured by suppliers, T-Mobile’s product team partners with them to utilise and achieve the UL ECOLOGO and EPEAT sustainability certification for handsets and tablets.

2 – Packaging: Reducing Waste and Improving Recyclability: once devices are ready to ship, T-Mobile’s packaging guidelines, developed in coordination with the CTIA, encourage suppliers to use certified paper fibres and sustainable printing processes, avoid using single-use plastic and hard-to recycle components, and clearly label packaging with guidance on recycling.

3 – Distribution: Partnering Across the Value Chain: moving products from the point of manufacturing to the hands of customers puts a demand on a variety of resources. Switching from physical to digital products, like eSIMs, and removing wall charging blocks from packages can have a positive impact on the efficiency of the shipping and distribution network. Anything that reduces the size of the product packages and helps streamline shipping routes, reduces emissions associated with distributing products across stores and delivering them to customers. 

4 – End-of-life: Recycling and Reusing to Extend the Life of Materials and Products: Customers can either trade-in eligible devices using T-Mobile’s trade-in estimator tool or visit a store for the Device Reuse and Recycling Program. With millions of devices returned each year, T-Mobile’s logistics partners leverage robotic solutions that perform an automated, machine-based evaluation of cosmetic quality and functionality to determine whether they can be reused or recycled.


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