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AT&T Environment and Safety

Company name

James Patell

World Resources Institute

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AT&T Environment and Safety

Year published 

Last year covered in case 


AT&T divested its local Bell telephone companies on January 1, 1984. The event focused the company on reshaping a new corporate identity and mission; environmental issues -- according to senior management -- "went underground" as more fundamental business imperatives took precedence.

In the ensuing years, environmental issues grew in importance to industry as legislation and public attention regarding the environment increased. With the passage of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) in 1986, AT&T became more aware of its environmental liabilities. 

Teaching note

Key Management Reading

  • Ambec, S. & Lanoie, P. (2008). Does it pay to be green? A systematic overview. Academy of Management Perspectives. 45-62
  • Reinhardt, F. (1999). Bringing the Environment Down to Earth. Harvard Business Review. July; 149-157 

Other Readings

  • N/A

Audio/Visual Material

  • N/A 

Discussion Questions

  • N/A

Green Chemistry Principle

  • Principle 1 Prevent Waste
  • Principle 3 Less Hazardous Synthesis

Electronics and Semiconductors

Teaching Topic
Corporate governance and accountability
Environmental issues
Social reporting/Social accounting
Voluntary disclosure
Global Environmental
Management Initiative (GEMI)

Management Discipline
Business, government and society

Business Logic
Managing environmental risks
Relations with external stakeholders
Managing competitors
Cost savings

Environmental Issue
Ozone depletion

Self Identified as Green Chemistry?

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