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February 27, 2020

Telcos Get a New Climate Roadmap: 29 Operators Signed Up

“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.”

By CBR Staff Writer

A telecommunications sector consortium spanning both the public and private sector has launched a new sector-specific roadmap intended to guide the whole mobile industry to carbon neutrality by 2050.

The move is led by GSMA, a group representing mobile operators across the world. It brings together nearly 400 companies and more than 750 operators in order to lobby for and standardise technical specifications. (GSMA also runs the recently cancelled Mobile World Congress.)

It has teamed up with International Telecommunication Union (ICU), Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and the environmental consultancy SBTi to deliver a “science-based target” (SBT) decarbonisation roadmap that draws in an array of data sources to help guide mobile and datacentre operators.

(Up until now there has been no SBTi approved sectoral target-setting approach for companies in the ICT sector. Its approach here is built around the ITU-T L.1420 guidance. It also builds on the ISO 14064-2 standard.)

Any operators who take part in the project are required to reduce their emissions by 45 percent in the next ten years.

Much of the reduction is expected to come from a fundamental switch from fossil fuels to renewable and low-carbon electricity sources.

Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA commented: “Our sector will form the backbone to the future global economy and has a unique role to play in reaching a Net Zero economy. A decarbonised world will be a digital world, so we must show leadership and take responsibility.”

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GSMA’s climate action roadmap for the mobile industry, which has already seen operators disclose their climate impacts, energy, and emissions via the internationally recognised CDP global disclosure system.

It says 29 operators are now signed up to “science-based targets”, from AT&T to Vodafone, with the roadmap intended to make it easier for others to follow suit.

Climate Change Action is Starting to Take Place in Industry

In many cases industry is moving quicker than governments in attempts to address the impending climate crisis.

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezoz has pledge $10 billion in investment towards climate change actions. Microsoft has already made itself carbon neutral and through further investment in technology and processes it aims to be carbon negative by 2030, meaning it will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it has produced since its founding.

Larry Fink CEO of the investment management firm BlackRock – which handles more than $7 trillion in assets – addressed climate change in his annual letter to CEOs. He stated that “Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.”

In the letter he points to the immense amount of research that is increasing our understanding of how humans are impacting the ecosystem and the Earth’s climate. He stresses that economic growth and the prosperity of industry is tied to the climate of the planet.

Fink noted: “Because sustainable investment options have the potential to offer clients better outcomes, we are making sustainability integral to the way BlackRock manages risk, constructs portfolios, designs products, and engages with companies. We believe that sustainability should be our new standard for investing.”

For CEOs the message was clear; if you do not start to look at and address your impact on the climate you will not be a candidate for future investment from BlackRock. Many investors are following suit and demanding increasingly robust Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) profiles for the companies in their portfolios.

See Also: Government IR35 Review: “The Changes Will Go Ahead”

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