I've done my share of bashing AT&T lately and posting articles that didn't put them in the best light, but as a tree-hugger myself, I have to give them credit where credit is due. ABI Research named the telecommunications giant the “top new North American green carrier,” on September 16th, followed closely by Sprint, based on their own Green Carrier Matrix. "The Vendor Matrix provides a clear understanding of vendors’ positions in specific markets" according to ABI and "Vendors are assessed on the important parameters of “innovation” and “implementation” across several criteria unique to each vendor matrix." It "ranks carriers on their clean technology and environmentally friendly initiatives, primarily focused around infrastructure, equipment, handsets and handset recycling."

The report says, "AT&T takes a slight lead over Sprint partly due to its focus on green innovation and [research and development]. AT&T has already implemented programs and defined goals in the green network infrastructure area [and] defined new metrics to measure carbon reduction." This isn't a necessarily new trend by manufacturers and carriers, but one that is starting to garner much more attention as governments tighten regulations on companies for environmental responsibility and the even the public demands more accountability. The first 'green' handset was the Motorola Renew W233 which was made from recycled plastic and just a short time ago, we saw the Samsung Reclaim hit the market. The Reclaim was not only made from recycled plastic, but the packaging was recycled paper and the ink was soy based.

As technology progresses, so do our demands on the planet's resources and seeing new ideas from companies on ways to cut down on this while maintaining profitability should be encourage and applauded. In an article on EWeek Nokia's VP of environmental affairs said that by reducing the size of the packaging their devices come in, they've managed to reduce the number of trucks needed to ship, equating to about 12,000 flatbeds no longer on the road. In the long run, it's innovations like that that will give companies a real competitive edge as governments starting taxing CO2 output and further limiting the impact companies can have on the environment.

Read more about the study and matrix here.