The operator said it will bring forward its net zero emissions goal to 2030 for its own operations and 2040 for its wider supply chain

As the effects of clime are change are increasingly felt all over the world, from flooding to wildfires, the telecoms industry is stepping up to do its part.

Earlier this year, the UK government enshrined a new emissions target into law, aiming to reduce the nation’s total emissions by 78% by 2035, compared to 1990 levels. This new Carbon Budget not only encompasses the UK itself, but also its wider share of international aviation and shipping emissions. 

Overall, the government aims to make the country itself carbon neutral by 2050. 

Now, BT has announced the acceleration of its net zero carbon emissions targets, now aiming to reduce the company’s own carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, fifteen years ahead of its previous goal. The operator will also aim for its supply chain and customer emissions to be carbon neutral by 2040.

According to the company, these new goals are in line with the aims of the COP21 Paris Agreement, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

These targets will reportedly be achieved, at least in part, by retiring legacy networks, such as the planned switch-off of the company’s 3G mobile network in 2023 and its public switched telephone network by the end of 2025. Residual emissions will be covered by company investment in “high quality carbon offsets”.

In an effort to help engage its customers in the climate change discussion, the operator will also be launching what it calls the Big Sofa Summit, aiming to provide free practical advice on how to reduce household emissions.

“As the world looks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, we must remember that the global climate emergency hasn’t gone away. BT is committed to climate action and today’s announcement will see us not just deliver on our public commitments to date but exceed them,” said Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact & Sustainability Officer at BT Group.

BT’s environmentally friendly transformation has been underway for many years now. Since 2016, the company has already reduced the carbon emissions from its own operations by 56%, as well as those of its supply chain by 19%. Last year, BT announced that it had made the switch to 100% renewable energy, as well as pledging to transition its commercial vehicle fleet to electric or zero carbon emissions vehicles by 2030.

Of course, BT is not the only UK telecoms company that are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainability. Last year, both Vodafone and O2 also accelerated their net zero carbon emissions goals, bringing them forward to 2040 and 2025, respectively.


Want to hear the latest from the UK’s operators on their sustainability agendas? Learn from the experts at Connected Britain 2021, taking place LIVE tomorrow in the heart of London. 

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