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Measuring and Reducing Scope 3 Emissions

Sprint reports its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an international corporate-accounting and reporting framework developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol defines scope 3 emissions as all other indirect emissions that are a consequence of the activities of a company, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company (see figure below). The final standard was released in September 2011 after a three-year period of multi-stakeholder development and testing. The standard, called the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard, categorizes scope 3 emissions into 15 distinct categories from both upstream and downstream activities as shown in the figure below, taken from the Scope 3 Standard.

Sprint has been publicly reporting on portions of its scope 3 emissions since 2009 and expects to complete its scope 3 inventory by the end of 2013. In 2010, Sprint decided to measure and report on the scope 3 category it believed could be the most significant — supply-chain emissions. Sprint selected Trucost to complete the initial supply-chain assessment in 2010 and early 2011, publicly sharing the results on this website. For its most recent assessment, Sprint built on its previous supplier assessment by expanding the categories to include Purchased Goods and Services, Capital Goods, Waste from Operations, and Upstream Transportation and Distribution. This analysis was completed in June 2012. The Highlight Report can be found here.

The table below provides a summary of Sprint's scope 3 GHG emissions as reported in its 2012 CDP submission.

Sprint's scope 3 Business Travel emissions have consistently decreased over the past four years. This is due primarily to two factors: (1) a decrease in employee headcount and (2) cost-avoidance measures. Sprint has maintained restricted travel policies for the past several years. If an employee needs to travel, he or she must secure Vice President approval prior to booking travel arrangements. Employees have been encouraged to use the strong mobility tools Sprint has to offer such as Unified Communications, remote-collaboration toolsets, and audio- and videoconferencing. Sprint sees the benefit of adopting its own mobility solutions and offering its own success in reducing travel costs and carbon emissions as a business case for others.

Sprint has started to complete its scope 3 inventory, but has only measured and reported on five scope 3 categories so far. Sprint plans to assess Product Use emissions and Employee Commute emissions later in 2012. Sprint believes these two categories will have the greatest volume of emissions. Of the remaining seven categories, most are not expected to provide material emissions.

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Supply Chain Carbon Footprint Conclusions and Next Steps

Sprint has been pleased with the supply-chain carbon assessments that have been completed over the past two years. The assessments offer a unique opportunity to quickly and affordably get a cradle-to-gate assessment of Sprint's supply-chain emissions and identify supply-chain "hot spots" to focus on for emissions reduction. Sprint now has a clear understanding of its total supply-chain emissions, which sectors contribute the most, and which suppliers make the most sense to work with for a targeted-reduction program. Sprint has already begun working with its suppliers in device manufacturing, network equipment, information services, and print and paper procurement. As part of its WWF Climate Savers Commitment, Sprint is requesting that targeted suppliers track, report and publish their 2012 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) (scope 1 and 2) and, by the end of 2013, set a goal to reduce their GHG emissions. The 2011 Supply Chain Carbon Footprint assessed the emissions associated with the four supplier categories of scope 3 referenced earlier, and also compared results with Sprint's 2010 assessment. Click here to see a copy of the 2011 Highlight Report.

2011 Report Highlights

    • The total GHG emissions arising from Sprint's supply chain amount to 2.4M metric tons of CO2e, representing 55 percent of Sprint's total reported emissions (all 3 scopes).
    • 96 percent of Sprint's sourceable supply-chain expenditure is covered by the footprint analysis
    • The top 10 suppliers of Sprint's supply chain contribute 82 percent of the total carbon footprint. The top 50 account for 95 percent. Trucost has been able to verify the carbon emissions of all 10 of the top suppliers.
    • Manufacturing is the most carbon-intensive sector with 31 percent of the total carbon emissions and 25 percent of the expenditure. Within the manufacturing segment, device manufacturers comprise 60.8 percent of the total carbon emissions and 48.1 percent of the spend.
    • The carbon intensity of Sprint's supply chain is relatively low compared to many other industries.
    • Within Sprint's supply chain, 8 percent% of the carbon is generated by direct emissions (scope 1) from the suppliers, 11 percent from indirect emissions (electricity consumption — Scope 2), 24 percent from their tier 1 suppliers (scope 3) and 24 percent from our tier 1 suppliers' suppliers (scope 3).
    • It appears that Scope 3 Category 5 (Waste Generated from Operations) will not be a significant category. Based on this initial assessment, Category 4 (Upstream Transportation and Distribution) would not be significant either, but we believe there may be additional data we need to collect.

Year-over-Year Comparisons

    • The total spend included in Sprint's supplier assessment increased 19 percent from 2010, consistent with Sprint's expected spend increase for devices (increased sales) and for Network Vision (hardware and engineering). Sprint also included categories of spend that weren't included in the 2011 assessment — waste supplier expense and some transportation expenses.
    • The CO2e emissions increased 15 percent -- less than the increase in our spend.
    • The carbon intensity of our spend decreased by 4 percent, apparently due to a shift in our top 10 suppliers and their relative carbon intensity.

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