This case study was published in the 2022 REIT Industry ESG Report, which details the REIT and publicly traded real estate industry's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and features 32 case studies showcasing REIT leadership and ESG innovation from a variety of sectors. The report serves as a practical tool for shareholders and stakeholders to assess the scale and impact of the REIT industry's ESG commitments and initiatives. Applicable footnotes and/or citations for this case study are available in the full report.
Achieving Science-Based Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Across Six Continents
American Tower Corporation is committed to operating with the least possible environmental impact. The company’s business model is inherently sustainable by reducing the consumption of energy, resources, and materials through co-location and infrastructure sharing across multiple communications providers.
In 2017, American Tower set out to reduce its scope 1 fossil fuel consumption and diesel- related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Africa and India by more than 60% by 2027, or 140 million liters of diesel annually. The company made significant progress, achieving more than 50% of this goal in the first three years. To continue driving impact, American Tower expanded its goal to include scope 2 and 3 emissions, adopting science-based targets (SBTs) across the company’s global operations and supply chain in October of 2021. The targets were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and are in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.
As tenants are the end-users of the energy at American Tower’s sites, the company recognizes that energy and GHG emission reduction success ultimately depends on implementing scalable, tenant-centered solutions. Some of the site-level solutions that the company employs include:
- Investing in solar generation capacity to eliminate the need for diesel while increasing infrastructure reliability and resilience;
- Replacing traditional lead-acid batteries with superior performing lithium-ion batteries for on-site energy storage;
- Optimizing HVAC configurations to lower cooling demand, which in turn reduces generator run hours and demand on the grid;
- Transitioning tower lighting to LED technology to reduce energy consumption and mitigate maintenance needs; and
- Installing intelligent automatic voltage regulators at certain sites to ensure they can continue to use grid power during periods of fluctuating voltage.
American Tower intends to build on this early success in reducing emissions and continue its methodical, collaborative approach to decreasing fossil fuel consumption in all areas as the company works toward achieving its ambitious SBTs.
“By investing close to $300 million in just four years in onsite renewable generation and energy storage, not only are we doing our part in tackling climate change, but we are also securing our place as a partner of choice for our tenants as they strive to meet their own GHG reduction targets.”
-Mneesha Ohri Nahata, Senior Vice President, Legal & Chief Sustainability Officer, American Tower Corporation
By enhancing the company’s environmental initiatives, American Tower demonstrates its dedication to advancing its sustainability program and reducing its GHG emissions. These sustainability goals are embedded throughout American Tower’s portfolio and reinforced through leadership-level accountability measures that accelerate the deployment of clean energy, including tying compensation metrics to these goals in its emerging markets.
American Tower, one of the largest global REITs, is a leading independent owner, operator, and developer of multitenant communications real estate with a portfolio of over 220,000 communications sites and a highly interconnected footprint of U.S. data center facilities.