EXCLUSIVE: BT puts carbon ranking success down to ‘commercial rationale’

BT has cemented its position as the number one British company for carbon reporting in the UK by making a business case for sustainability, according to its director of energy and carbon Richard Tarboton.

Earlier this month, the telecommunications giant was ranked top in the UK for its level of public disclosure on greenhouse gas emissions reporting, under the Environmental Investment Organisation’s (EIO) index of the world’s largest 800 companies.

In addition, for the last four years running, BT has reduced its global energy consumption every year and Tarboton told edie that its recipe for success boiled down to one main ingredient – getting the business case agreed. 

“We have done a lot of work over the last few years to really develop the commercial rationale behind the organisation in order to get the full investment power behind energy saving and carbon saving,” he said.

“So many opportunities are there for companies, they just need business cases to be properly written, analysis done and proper negotiation with suppliers and in turn companies will be only too pleased to invest.

“They just need to make sure the business case stacks up and that has been the key to our success,” added Tarboton.

However, he noted that companies also had to have a clear understanding of where they are using energy, where it is being wasted and where the opportunities are to make savings.

“There is a lot of underpinning work to be done on measuring and monitoring,” he said.

To this end, BT has installed about 8,000 smart meters across its business and all of its 2,300 buildings feature smart controls which are linked back to a central control centre.

“From the control centre we can review live what energy is being consumed in each building, what the temperature in every room of those buildings is and we can make changes to adjust those temperatures based on the temperature outside,” explained Tarboton.

“Having smart control capability in place makes a huge difference.”

Nine out of ten companies in the EIO ranking are telecommunication businesses and Tarboton agrees that the sector is ideally placed to lead in sustainability.

“Our core business is networks and comms and where energy is moving in terms of energy savings, it is all moving towards smart networks.

“The days of having an energy manager in every building and leaving it to that individual to manage a building is history.

“It is now all about smart communications and connecting buildings to the internet and for us at BT, that is what we live and breathe every day,” he said.

Tarboton also believes that BT can play a key role in helping other companies reduce their carbon impact, as the very nature of BT’s business is about reducing the need to travel.

“We provide video conferences and a number of data and metering network services whereby business can reduce their amount of travel and we also enable them to monitor and create the same kind of smart control networks that we have,” he said.

Conor McGlone

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