Verizon funnels $500k into climate resilience schemes, posts update on $1bn green bond

Pictured: Winning scheme Coral Vita's facility for growing coral on land. Image: Coral Vita

The $500,000 was awarded by the telecommunications giant as part of its first Climate Resilience Prize, which closed to applications last November. The aim of the prize is to support start-ups working to mitigate the physical impacts of the climate crisis on vulnerable communities.

Three winners will receive a share of the funding. The first is Hyfi, which uses digital technologies to improve the quality of data on water levels that is provided to organisations responding to floods. Flooding will become more common in many parts of the world in the coming decades, with the global temperature increase fuelling hotter and wetter summers.

Also receiving funding from Verizon are Coral Vita and the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Programme (FFRP). Coral Vita has developed a reef restoration and creation system that involves growing corals on land before planting them. It claims that the growing process can be up to 50 times faster.

The FFRP, meanwhile, provides training employment to ex-convicts in the fields of forest fire prevention and firefighting. Its biggest operations are in California, which was last year affected by more than 8,600 wildfires. Fires burned in the state virtually all year long amid an ongoing drought.

All three winning schemes are registered in the US, where Verizon is headquartered. They were announced at an event hosted by GreenBiz on Wednesday (16 February). Verizon received assistance from experts at the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Climate Resilience Centre in the judging of the entries.

“Our Climate Resilience Prize winners have proven they are ready to bring positive change to at-risk communities immediately, and we’re proud to support and help scale these game-changing innovations for the betterment of our planet and for those who live in it,” said Verizon’s director of social innovation Carrie Hughes.

The Prize forms part of Verizon’s overarching ‘Citizen Verizon’ sustainability plan, which also features a commitment to carbon-neutral business operations by 2035.

Green bond and clean energy update

Also this week, Verizon has issued a report outlining how it has allocated the proceeds from the green bond package it issued in September 2021. That package raised almost $1bn, bringing the firm’s total green bond issuance to date to $3bn.

The report confirms that all net proceeds from the bond are being allocated to Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) with renewable electricity generators. The Agreements will support 910MW of new renewable energy generation in the US, in an even split between wind and solar.

Verizon has notably committed to sourcing and generating renewable electricity equivalent to 50% of its total annual consumption by 2025. The company stated in its most recent ESG report that it is on course to achieve this target, despite disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Readers keen to learn more about VPPAs and other types of Corporate Power Purchase Agreement are encouraged to download edie’s free new guide on the topic. Hosted in association with EDF, this guide answers FAQs on the PPA market and outlines how businesses of all sizes and sectors can undertake an agreement. Download your copy by clicking here.

Sarah George

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