BT cuts emissions by 14% over 12-month period

Over the last 12 months, BT Group has reduced the carbon intensity of its operations by 14%, putting the company on course to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, while broadcaster Sky has had carbon reduction targets for its net-zero ambition approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

BT cuts emissions by 14% over 12-month period

Over a four-year period

The 14% reduction in emissions recorded over the last financial year means that BT has reduced emissions by 57% since 2016/17. This puts the company on track to reduce emissions by 87% by 2031 and reach net-zero by 2045.

In addition, over a four-year period, BT has reduced the carbon intensity of its supply chain by 19%. This is building towards a 42% reduction target set for 2031.

BT had set itself on the path to help limit global warming to 1.5C through a science-based target to reduce emissions by 87% by 2030 against a 2016/17 baseline, which was set back in September 2017. However, the company raised its ambitions again in 2018, when it committed to becoming a net-zero-carbon business by 2045.

BT’s chief digital impact and sustainability officer Andy Wales said: “BT has led the way on climate action for the last three decades and has long recognised the importance of setting ambitious carbon reduction targets. We were one of the first companies in the world to set a 1.5°C aligned science based target and today’s announcement underpins our commitment to becoming a greener more sustainable business.

“Our efforts alone aren’t enough though, which is why we’re calling on all other businesses to take action – working with their customers, colleagues and suppliers to make a difference.”

BT has confirmed that it helped its customers save 13 million tonnes of carbon last year – three times as much carbon as its own end-to-end carbon emissions – achieving its 3:1 carbon abatement target one year early.

Last year, BT has confirmed that all of its offices and shops globally are powered by 100% renewable electricity. The switch to renewable electricity will see BT’s carbon emissions in the year to March 2021 fall by an estimated 54,000 tonnes compared to last financial year

The BT Pension Scheme will also aim to achieve net-zero emissions across all three scopes by 2035, which will cover all of its £55bn portfolio that it invests on behalf of the 300,000 current and ex-members of the BT Group. The commitment will be met by reducing emissions in the Pension Scheme’s existing portfolio and investing in low-carbon assets.

Sky’s the limit

In related news, broadcaster Sky has confirmed that interim targets for its net-zero ambition have been approved by the SBTi.

In February last year, Sky committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 through strategies to make its products more energy efficient, its film and TV more sustainable and by engaging consumers and the value chain to “go zero”.

Sky’s commitment will see its entire fleet of 5,000 vehicles transition to zero emissions by 2030, alongside initiatives to make the technology products it offers and launches more efficient. TV and film recorded by the broadcaster will also be covered under the net-zero carbon ambition as well.

It binds Sky to reducing emissions from business operations, suppliers and customers (during the use of its products) by at least 50%, then investing in robust, nature-based offsetting schemes to address residual emissions. Sky has notably received carbon-neutral certification for its business operations every year since 2006.

Sky’s chief executive Dana Strong said: “Having our ambitious targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative shows the integrity of our Sky Zero commitment.

“We will report transparently and show how our carbon reductions are in line with the recommendations of climate scientists. Now is the time for action, not just intention and as a Principal Partner and Media Partner for COP26, we want to drive real change, because the world cannot wait.”

Matt Mace

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