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WATER preservī€žg our most precious resources

With the pressures of increased water demand and strained supply, we must be strategic about how we use this critical resource. We also know that in the new possibility economy, some of the best ideas are born out of collaboration. With these two concepts in mind, AT&T teamed up with MBA students from Vanderbilt University, starting in 2009 and lasting through 2010, to conduct a water assessment to quantify our use and identify the greatest areas of consumption across our company while integrating the concept of water stress into our prioritization efforts. We spoke with John Schulz, senior energy manager at AT&T, to learn more about this project.

Can you tell us a little bit about the background of the project and how you decided to embark on it?

Water management is becoming increasingly critical for industry as our society experiences more constraints associated with water. There’s also a growing awareness about the relationship between water use, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Recognizing the need to get a better understanding of our own water use, we assessed organizations that could help us inventory our water footprint. We’d heard about Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management from its water management work for other companies and involved it on a project examining how the issue impacts AT&T. The students conducted the assessment as part of a class and completed it start to finish during their semester. In addition to compiling the actual footprint, they assessed projects that could have the biggest savings if implemented, as well as general best practices across operations. Working with them brought fabulous energy, perspective and expertise to the project.

Working with them brought fabulous energy, perspective and expertise to the project.

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