When it comes to AT&T and environmental responsibility, the company’s approach involves making smart choices: smart workplaces and smart transportation and logistics.

Through this effort, AT&T seeks to limit its environmental impact while providing a model for other companies to begin doing the same.

AT&T conceptualizes these smart choices as creating a “network effect.” In the simplest terms, the network effect explains how the addition of each new user or device on a network will result in an increase in value.

In terms of the environment, AT&T believes that the more options and services it makes available that help the environment, it only enhances the ability to eliminate, reduce, or simply make more efficient choices.

For instance, to create better workplaces, AT&T uses its own Telepresence Solution to conduct its meetings from various offices instead of having employees fly and drive to a central location.

The company estimates that using the technology internally will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 31,000 metrics tons over the next six years.

With traveling in mind, AT&T's solutions for better transportation and logistics involves TeleNav Vehicle Trackers that allow managers to see where a vehicle is at any time and better manage the miles of driven per day.

In addition, WebTech Wireless Quadrant, a service that provides real-time and historical data about driver and vehicle performance.

Also, AT&T uses Xora GPS TimeTrack to tracks the locations of mobile workers carrying a supported AT&T mobile phone.

Based on an initial trial using six tractor-trailers, AT&T achieved a 10-20 percent reduction of idle time per truck, resulting in an anticipated fuel savings of close to $5 million and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 20,000 metric tons on an annual basis.

While AT&T engages in environmental responsibility in making smart choices for itself and encouraging other companies to do the same through its products, it also has comprehensive internal plan for waste management.

In 2009, AT&T kept more than 72.1 million pounds of materials like copper, lead, batteries, steel, plastic, and aluminum out of landfills by recycling the materials for other uses.

AT&T also works to minimize e-waste. In 2009, the company collected more than 63,000 computers, monitors and servers for donation, reuse and recycling, including more than 10,000 desktops, 2,400 laptops, and 32,000 monitors.

Due to the success of this process, AT&T has centralized its product recovery process into a single procedure that incorporates the best practices and complies with all e-waste regulations that affect AT&T.

Customers can help AT&T be environmentally responsible, too.

AT&T has set up a reuse and recycle program for wireless phones. Regardless of the make or carrier of the phone, AT&T allows customers either to bring their unwanted phones to any AT&T location for recycling or they may download a postage-paid mailing label to send their phones through the mail.

Some of the funds from the recycled cell phones go to Cell Phone Soldiers, a program that purchases prepaid phone cards for active members of the military.

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Editor's note: AT&T is a sponsor of the Mother Nature Network.