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Zayo – A Shared Vision of Sustainability


by Mike Nold, EVP, Corporate Development & Strategy

We’re all responsible for a clean environment, inclusive social belonging, and disciplined governance

This week, Zayo proudly released its annual Sustainability Report. The report is a reflection of our commitment to drive sustainable change and create thriving communities where we work and live. We are driving industry-leading Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ambitions, and we’re proud of the progress we’ve made over the past year. We focused on developing our path to net zero emissions, improving organizational diversity, and expanding broadband to all.

Why is ESG a priority for us?

Because the pillars of ESG drive sustainability and fulfillment for Zayo, its customers, and its employees. 

Environmentally, climate change is a growing threat to people, ecosystems and economies. Zayo is taking the threat seriously and investing in efforts to lead the industry in addressing the issue.

Socially, our ESG practices are a fundamental component of who Zayo is as a company. Zayo’s talented employees can count on the company to support their employment as whole people, to engage with our communities, and to be the industry leader in making a true difference. Inherently our social initiatives align to our values:

  • BE AUTHENTIC – by bringing our full selves to work and showing up with respect
  • WIN TOGETHER – by collaborating and inspiring collective brilliance
  • THINK BIG – by staying curious, pushing boundaries, innovating, and advancing
  • DRIVE EXCELLENCE – by setting the bar high and then surpassing expectations
  • WOW CUSTOMERS – by putting our customers at the center of all we do
bptw badge 2023

Since we began reporting our ESG progress, Zayo has been named one of Colorado’s best large companies to work for by Built In. Built In’s “Best Companies” list is filled with technology organizations that understand that attracting and retaining talent is intrinsically tied to community involvement. These companies understand and act on the human need for purpose.

We’re proud to be among them.

Our Governance practices ensure Zayo’s ultimate sustainability so that we can continue to thrive while doing good. Our ESG activities are not only good for the community and the environment, but they’re also good for business.

Through our loyalty to ESG, Zayo is building trust and strengthening relationships with customers, employees, investors, and communities, leading to their increased loyalty to us, positive brand perception, and ultimately improved financial performance.

2022 was a pivotal year for Zayo’s ESG successes and commitments. We’ve outlined these in each section below.

Environmental Stewardship

We have committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2030. We think big, and this is a big, bold endeavor that requires bold action. We have developed an emissions reduction roadmap to reach net zero emissions through deliberate commitments, planning, and actions across the business.

In 2022, we worked to understand our own emissions and developed our action plans for go-forward emissions reduction and reporting. We developed our path to net zero by 2030 and significantly improved our CDP score (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project score).

The sun beautifully illuminating the green treetops of tall beech trees in a forest clearing, panorama shot

In addition to our constant vigilance to reduce our operational energy use, in 2022 Zayo financially supported the development of renewable energy projects by purchasing enough megawatt hours of Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset 100% of our electricity use. We recognize the environmental impact of our operations and will continue to work to reduce consumption while also supporting the development of renewable energy technologies.

Take a look at Zayo’s 2022 Sustainability Report  for our Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions reporting and plans for next year.

Social Stewardship

Our commitment to the well-being of people inside and outside of Zayo is unwavering.

Within Zayo, we continue to foster a culture of welcoming inclusion, improve our gender and ethnic diversity at all levels, and work toward the optimal health, safety, and overall happiness of all employees.

One major development toward these ends: Zayo re-launched six executive-sponsored Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in 2022, focused on the collective concerns of their members. Each ERG shares common priorities, aligns efforts, and provides a space where employees who identify with the group and their allies come together to share experiences and ideas, and provide professional development, education, and mutual support.

Close up photo of volunteers preparing donation boxes with food at the food and clothes bank

In 2022, these groups collectively held nearly 100 executive-sponsored meetings, events, readings, and gatherings of all kinds.  All employees are welcome in all ERGs.

In 2022, we unveiled our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) statement and initiatives. We know that diverse perspectives drive innovative ideas and fuel our growth. Our goal is that every Zayoite feels valued, respected, and empowered to be their most authentic self, with a strong sense of belonging within the workplace. We recruit toward these ends, and we work with partners who share these values. 

In the community, Zayo used our massive fiber network for good! We expanded our network in support of students in rural areas, helping to bring broadband connectivity to every student, no matter how remote, underserved, or low-income. In 2022 we acquired Education Networks of America (ENA), and we now connect over 19,000 K-12 schools across the United States (over half of these in low-income areas).

We provide “VTO” – or volunteer time off – company-sponsored time granted to all employees to get involved in areas of personal interest, to spend time volunteering with  nonprofit organizations. We donate financially to a number of nonprofits as well, and our executives are frequent speakers and participants in events that enhance the development of women in technology. 

For our specific results and plans for 2023 within Zayo and within our communities, again, please see our Sustainability Report.

Group of concentrated business people using tablet and analyzing documents while working together and preparing business proposal in conference room

Sound Governance

Companies can promise anything. Accountability and leadership make it happen, and good governance keeps us all on track. I’m a proud member of our ESG steering committee. The committee is a team of cross-functional executives who report our milestones, progress, results and future ambition to our Board of Directors, across all of our ESG initiatives. In addition to the environment and social initiatives discussed earlier, additional ESG initiatives governed by the committee include:

  • Ethics and Compliance
    We train all employees annually, and expect all employees and suppliers to comply with laws pertaining to corruption, bribery, child labor, human trafficking, and to avoid even the appearance of unethical conduct. We encourage reporting through our whistleblower program and address issues quickly. 
  • Sustainability in Procurement
    We hold our suppliers to our exacting standards, and in 2022 started tracking their performance against our ESG goals.
  • Cybersecurity, Physical Security, and Data Privacy
    Our Chief Security Officer develops and implements our information security policy and makes sure it’s followed. Further, we ensure that all personal information is protected from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction, and that our physical locations and equipment are accessed only by those authorized to do so.
  • Crisis Management, Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery
    Crisis management protects our people, and BCDR keeps the business running, protecting our customers’ continued operations during a disaster. Our network is inherently protected from failure, and performs consistently well during harmful impact. Our Crisis Management Program governs our preparation, response, and recovery from emergencies that impact our people, customers, and business.
  • Health and Safety
    We operate a safe work environment and train employees annually on preventing hazards, mitigating OH&S risks, avoiding work-related injuries, and maintaining good health. We offer a generous benefits program focused on the physical and mental health of all employees.
Shot of a group of businesspeople high fiving while sitting in a meeting

As our CEO Steve Smith said: “This past year, we worked diligently to nurture and evolve our culture and values, to create an ideal blend of beliefs and behaviors that make Zayo both unique and special, and pave the way for us to rally around a shared vision.”

Through our ESG activities, Zayo is:

  1. Keeping our stakeholders happy – they expect us to act and generate results
  2. Mitigating risk – disciplined governance manages real and reputational risk
  3. Complying with regulations – our actions are voluntary but we’re committed
  4. Fostering innovation – we invest in the development of renewable technologies

You can read a complete description of how Zayo’s unique approach toward ESG makes our customers, our employees, and me proud.  A full account of our shared vision can also be found in Zayo’s 2022 Sustainability Report.

About the Author

by Mike Nold

EVP, Corporate Development & Strategy

As EVP Corporate Development & Strategy, Mike leads global M&A and develops the strategic planning for Zayo. Mike’s team identifies and drives key strategic levers, developing insights to accelerate value-creation. He also oversees Zayo’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) program.

Mike brings over 25 years of experience as an operator, corporate development & strategy executive, and investor with deep experience in broadband communications, information technology, and business services. Prior to joining Zayo, Mike spent nearly 10 years in private equity, dedicating a portion of that time as CEO of two portfolio companies, one of which a regional, fiber communications service provider. Previously, Mike served as VP Strategy & Corporate Development for Hewlett Packard, leading both pan-HP corporate strategy and corporate development for HP’s $16B Services division. Mike also led product marketing for Avanex (now Lumentum), a leader in optical communications components and subsystems, and served as a consultant with Bain & Company.

Mike is a graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering (BSE) and The Wharton School (MBA) of the University of Pennsylvania.