Vertical Bridge REIT, LLC yesterday announced it has realized its goal to become 100 percent carbon neutral. The company is the first telecommunications tower company in the world to reach net zero emissions, according to Bernard Borghei, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Operations for Vertical Bridge, who led the initiative. Official certification was obtained as a CarbonNeutral® company in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, a global framework for carbon neutrality.
Taking an assessment of its carbon footprint, Vertical Bridge analyzed energy consumed by offices, operations and construction of towers and business travel in partnership with Natural Capital Partners. Building on a number of carbon-lowering tactics across its operations, the company said they are supporting four projects in North America to offset its unavoidable carbon emissions. The projects, which reduce and remove greenhouse gases, are focused on nature-based climate solutions and resource recovery:
- Grasslands Portfolio — Preserves grasslands across Colorado and Montana, locking carbon into the soil and avoiding the emissions from conversion to agriculture.
- Seneca Meadows Landfill Gas — Reduces the environmental impact of landfills through methane capture, electricity generation and wetland enhancement.
- Mississippi Valley Reforestation — Reforests more than 2.4 million acres of native woodland to restore the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
- Darkwoods Forest Conservation – Protects 156,000 acres of Boreal forests in British Columbia, Canada, from subdivision, high-impact logging and other
The CarbonNeutral certification is the latest in the company’s ongoing ESG and social responsibility initiatives, which include its employee-run philanthropic arm, the Vertical Bridge Charitable Network (VBCN). Through VBCN, Vertical Bridge has donated more than $5.11 million and contributed nearly 6,000 volunteer hours to 501(c)(3) organizations selected by its employees since its founding in 2014.
“Being a profitable and at-scale company doesn’t mean much if you don’t foster the right culture. That’s why philanthropy is such a big component of Vertical Bridge and why it’s an employee-driven program,” said Alex Gellman, Co-Founder and CEO of Vertical Bridge. “As we thought about our company’s growth and overall social responsibility goals, becoming carbon neutral was a natural progression and something everyone at Vertical Bridge would be excited to be a part of. I am tremendously proud of our entire team’s continual efforts to make a difference and look forward to seeing these programs continue to grow.”
“We are extremely proud to be recognized as a carbon-neutral company, and even more so to be the first carbon-neutral tower company in the world. This is just the first step, and we are committed to continuing to decrease our carbon footprint and to supporting additional carbon-reduction projects,” said Borghei. “As the communications infrastructure sector prepares to deploy a record number of assets to support 5G networks, it is critical that we find ways to continue to mitigate environmental impact. We believe that achieving sector-wide carbon neutrality is possible and that our actions build upon the meaningful strides the wireless industry has taken thus far. We hope we are just the first of many in our sector to take this important step.”
“Vertical Bridge’s certification as a carbon-neutral company is just one more example of how they are paving a new path forward for the communications infrastructure sector,” noted Marc Ganzi, Executive Chairman of Vertical Bridge and CEO of Digital Colony. “As Executive Chairman of Vertical Bridge, and as someone who has known this leadership team for more than twenty years, I am incredibly proud of this company and initiative, and as a communications infrastructure investor and CEO, I believe it sets an ESG framework for many other companies – including those in the Digital Colony portfolio – to follow.”