BT’s bold customer emissions target passes halfway mark

Telecoms giant BT is on course to help its customers reduce carbon emissions by three times the end-to-end carbon impact of its own operations by 2020, with the group's latest sustainability report revealing that it achieved a customer-to-business carbon reduction ration of 1.6 to one last year.

The Delivering Our Purpose report highlights that BT saved customers an estimated 7.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2015/16, with the companies various carbon-reducing products and services – some of which are now in the ‘Internet of Things’ space – generating £3.6bn revenue in the process, signifying a 16% increase over the previous two years.

Commenting on this success, BT’s chief sustainability officer Niall Dunne said: “With purpose at the heart of BT we’re continuing to make a positive impact on the world, and helping to tackle a diverse range of global challenges.

“This report shows that we’re on track to meet our 2020 goals, and that we’re contributing to solving some of the bigger challenges we as a society will face over the coming years, from climate change to access to an inclusive approach to connectivity and growth.”

Customer savings

The company’s flagship sustainability initiative – which aims to lower consumer carbon emissions by three times as much as the company itself – has increased from a ratio of 1.5:1 a year earlier. Within the report, BT details the various ways it is helping customers mitigate their environmental impacts. 

Through product and service solutions such as providing fibre optic broadband and secure remote access to an organisation’s system, BT has helped to reduce emissions from the manufacturing of physical products in addition to reducing the need for commercial space and associated energy use. That means BT is helping customers save 1.6 times more carbon emissions than those that result from the company’s business activity, and the manufacture and use of its products.

Speaking exclusively to edie recently, BT’s global environmental sustainability spokesperson Gabrielle Giner revealed that this pioneering target is also creating a real shift in the way BT board members interact on the topic of climate action.

Supply chain assessment

Elsewhere in the group’s sustainability report, BT revealed it had decreased its own energy use by 3% in 2015/16, through a focus on energy efficiencies – enabling reductions in global operational emissions by 10%, to under 350,000 tonnes of CO2. Additionally, the company achieved an 81% reduction in its science-based climate stabilisation intensity (CSI) measure compared to a 1997 baseline, securing an 80% target set for 2020.

BT’s strong progress in carbon reductions will now need to be matched with equivalent sustainability efforts across the supply chain in order deliver far-reaching environmental change. The report reveals that supply chain emissions actually increased by 5% last year, due mainly to increased spending throughout the business.

Future supply chain sustainability developments will be assisted by a new online sustainability assessment tool which aims to help BT’s suppliers understand how to reduce their carbon impacts.

Nevertheless, a moderately unexceptional performance in supply chain activities failed to overshadow a generally polished CSR report. BT has recently established itself as an industry leader when it comes to sustainable business, securing the top spot in an index of the carbon reporting performance of the top 100 companies floated on the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE 100).

A seperate report from BT last week revealed that utilising and enhancing smart manufacturing, smart buildings and smart energy could reduce the European Union’s (EU) carbon footprint by more than 1.5Gt by 2030.

Gabrielle Giner at edie’s Sustainable Supply Chain Conference

BT’s head of sustainable business policy is speaking at the edie Sustainable Supply Chain Conference about creating a framework and tool to benchmark against best practice.

Now in its fifth year, the edie Sustainable Supply Conference equips procurement, supply chain and sustainability professionals across all industriesthe with the tools needed to overcome the multifaceted challenges of creating a truly sustainable and ethical supply chain.

View the full agenda for the conference here and register to attend here.

George Ogleby

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