10×13 Episode 9: Jim Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer at Verizon, on Harnessing the Network

Verizon’s network of employees, suppliers, facilities, and telecom assets is a powerful platform to make an impact on resource efficiency. Jim Gowen, Verizon’s Chief Sustainability Officer, explains his company’s emphasis on “People, Process, and Products”, and the different initiatives—and surprises—coming out of each pillar.

In this interview, Jim explains the overwhelmingly positive response to the company’s “Green Team” – a staff volunteer program for sustainability efforts that now claims over 10,000 members. Verizon has had similar success collaborating with its large number of suppliers to track and set goals for GHG emissions, water, and waste management.

Another area of focus for the Sustainability Office has been to pursue LEED certification within its large real estate portfolio (retail stores). As Verizon has recently entered the cable TV market, Jim explains his team’s push to make the set top boxes more energy efficient.

Finally, Jim’s latest ongoing project, the “Powerful Answers” campaign, features a competition for individuals or small companies harnessing Verizon’s backbone technologies (broadband and 4G services) in pursuit of innovations in energy management, sustainability, or health care. The winners will be announced in early 2014.