09/14/2022 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Making substantive progress on ESG issues involves going beyond individual corporate actions to encompass industry-wide efforts to bring about real change, says Mneesha Nahata, SVP, Legal & Chief Sustainability Officer at American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT).

Speaking on the REIT Report, Nahata noted that in addition to finding practical solutions, making investments, and innovating as a company, “it is really about working together and collaboration with other like-minded companies to make a substantive difference, whether that is working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or bridging the digital divide to provide upskilling opportunities to underserved communities.”

Nahata said American Tower has placed sustainable operations at the core of its business. “We believe we can be champions of change in the industry and that requires addressing ESG holistically across our organization. And that includes at the very top.”

The tower model business is inherently green, given the opportunity of a shared infrastructure model which provides network operators the opportunity to reduce their physical infrastructure, as opposed to constructing, maintaining, and powering single-use assets.

Elsewhere in the interview, Nahata noted that as of the end of 2021, American Tower had established over 300 Digital Communities in eight countries to promote digital inclusion among underserved communities. The program has facilitated critical access to essential services, she said. “It's helping bridge digital divides and resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs.” The REIT has set a goal of reaching 2,000 communities by the end of 2026.

Nahata also addressed other topics, such as the progress American Tower has made toward its science-based targets; how the company has gone about implementing scalable tenant solutions that target energy and greenhouse gas emissions; steps it is taking to address supply chain diversity; and, the impact of signing the UN Global Compact on human rights, labor and the environment, as well as adopting the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.