FarrPoint, the consultancy specialising in digital connectivity, is calling for businesses, government and individuals to embrace digital solutions to increase the chances of reaching the UK’s ambitious target of becoming a net-zero economy by 2050.

The case for achieving net zero is high on the agenda for many ahead of COP26 taking place in Glasgow later this year. Despite this, while clear targets have been put in place by governments around the world, being able to achieve them in a practical sense will require us to emit more Green House Gases (GHG) across a number of sectors in the short term.

Digital infrastructure, such as fibre broadband, more mobile masts and 5G, will be key to achieving net zero. Modelling from the consultancy has shown that for every tonne of GHG emitted to deliver the UK’s digital infrastructure ambitions, up to 8 tonnes of GHG emissions could be saved in the long term.

Darren Kilburn, principal consultant at FarrPoint commented: “The Government has set an ambitious net-zero target. However, moving towards a carbon-neutral future is not as simple as installing a smart meter or using electric vehicles. It is clear from the work we have done that, for developed economies, it is not possible to grow the economy, meet net-zero targets, and care for the social wellbeing of a nation, without digital solutions.

“If we do not increase the pace of investment and implementation in the UK’s digital infrastructure, we risk not reaching our net-zero target by 2050. However, we must also bear in mind that the work needed to put the infrastructure in place will increase our emissions in the near term before it helps to reduce them. Everything we do emits CO2 into the atmosphere – from agriculture to construction and from the development of digital infrastructure to the use of digital devices – and so we must ensure that we balance the impact that creating emissions will have versus the overarching and clear benefits that digital solutions will deliver.”