In a recent announcement, the operator took 25 years off their original carbon neutral target of 2050

The last few years have seen Deutsche Telekom steadily transforming their global operations into a model of climate conscientiousness.

In 2019, Telekom announced their commitment to achieving climate protection goals, seeking to reduce their carbon emissions by 90% by 2030, with a Group-wide carbon neutrality achieved by 2050, in line with targets set by the GSMA. Significant action began almost immediately, with the company running its network in Germany on 100% renewable energy from the beginning of 2020.

One year later, seemingly unhindered by the pandemic, this focus on renewable energy was quickly reinforced throughout Telekom’s entire international footprint, with the Group’s global network switching to renewable energy at the start of 2021.

Now, the company says its progress is such that it can accelerate its carbon neutrality goal by 25 years, now aiming to become carbon neutral for in-house emissions by 2025. The company claimed that by 2025 it would decrease its total emissions by up to 95%, compared to 2017, with the final 5% being neutralised via carbon removal projects as early as 2025.

It also pledged to achieve carbon neutrality throughout its value chain (known as Scope 3 emissions) by 2040, a decade earlier than the original target. It is here that the majority of Telekom’s emissions are actually produced, in the form of usage by customers and production of equipment by vendors.

Part of achieving net-zero emissions will be through ensuring that energy is used more efficiently, with Telekom currently measuring their energy consumption in proportion to their managed data volumes. One of the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) is Energy Intensity, a metric achieved by dividing the annual energy consumed by the Group (in millions kWh) by IP data volume (in millions of terabytes). Here the efforts in efficiency by the group over the past few years are clear to see, with the figure standing at 194 in 2017, but down to 119 in 2020.

Deutsche Telekom is not alone in advancing its carbon neutrality goals significantly. In June last year, Telefonica said that it had taken 20 years off its climate targets, now aiming to reduce the group’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030. Vodafone has similar goals set for 2040, with its entire European network set to run off of renewable energy no later than July 2021.

The imperative to go green is becoming clear for telecoms operators around the world. In January, research from Omdia showed that all the telcos measured by the study released announcements surrounding green energy in 2020, making it clear that the industry is united in its push for a greener future.


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