BT pledges to become a net-zero-carbon business by 2045

As the UK Government announces plans to discuss a potential net-zero emissions strategy, technology giant BT has pledged to become a net-zero-carbon business by 2045.

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, with the recent UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that there are just 12 years left to keep global warming increases to a maximum of 1.5C, BT has decided to increase the ambition of its emissions targets.

BT Group’s chief executive Gavin Patterson said, “The recent IPCC report showed the urgency of the task we all face to tackle climate change in time. We think the Government is right to target a zero-carbon future. BT is determined to play its part and we encourage other businesses to do the same.”

BT’s efforts to reduce emissions and combat climate change span more than 20 years. The technology company has reduced emissions by more than 80% since 1996 and set the science-based target after reaching a previous emissions goal four years early.

As a member of the RE100, BT is reducing operational emissions by switching to 100% renewable energy. In 2016, BT sourced 82% of its electricity from renewables, contributing a 5.4% year-on-year fall in its overall operational emissions.

In addition, BT is attempting to reduce customer emissions by at least three times its own end-to-end carbon impact. BT’s range of consumer operations and products which contribute to carbon savings were worth more than £5.3bn last year for the second year running. The company also increased the amount of carbon it helped customers avoid by 1.3 million tonnes year-on-year.

BT currently purchases around 1% of the UK’s annual electricity. The UK is currently pushing towards an 80% reduction in carbon emissions under the Climate Change Act but following on from the publication of the IPCC report, the UK Government is now seeking advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on what a net-zero goal would look like.

Commenting on BT’s announcement, the CCC’s chairman Lord Deben said: “Congratulations to BT on their net zero target, a very fitting way of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act. I very much hope that other great companies will follow this lead.”

BT will continue to increase renewable electricity investments, transition its fleets to low-emission vehicles and decarbonise its building portfolio to help reach its science-based target and the subsequent net-zero goal.

BT to appear on edie’s science-based targets webinar

BT’s head of environmental policy, Gabrielle Ginér, is one of the four expert speakers confirmed for edie’s science-based targets webinar, which is taking place at 2pm on Thursday (18 October).

The webinar will cut through the complexity and provide you with the answers, by hearing from leading businesses and science-based targets experts to map out exactly how science-based targets can be used to future-proof growth.

BT’s Ginér will be joined by speakers from Capgemini, Signify and The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group for the one-hour webinar. Register for the webinar here.

Matt Mace

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