How a focus on green technology can build back better from the coronavirus pandemic

BT's chief digital impact and sustainability officer Andy Wales discussing how low-carbon and technological innovation can "reboot" Britain to help deliver a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

How a focus on green technology can build back better from the coronavirus pandemic

How is BT aligning to the green recovery?

BT has pledged to become a net-zero carbon emissions business by 2045 and we’re encouraging others to follow our lead by setting their own science-based targets to become net-zero by 2050.

As one of the largest consumers of electricity in the UK, 100% of the electricity BT directly purchases in the UK and 92% worldwide is renewably sourced. Last year, we helped our customers save 13 million tonnes of carbon and have reduced our own carbon emissions intensity by 42% since 2016/17.

We want to see greater investment in infrastructure, support for UK manufacturing and a focus on green technologies – helping to create decent jobs and sustainable growth. We believe we’ve got a big role to play and we hope others will follow.

How can technology drive a green recovery for transport?

With around 32,000 vehicles, BT Group has the second largest commercial fleet in the UK. Together with The Climate Group, we’re calling on the UK Government to target 100% electric car and van sales by 2030; extend grants for electric vehicles and charging points through to at least 2023 and speed up the rollout of public charge-points across the country.

This comprehensive package of measures has the potential to boost jobs in the UK and will help us and others transition towards a low carbon fleet.

How can innovation be unlocked to drive the green recovery?

The Green Tech Innovation Platform aims to uncover the latest green technologies from UK-based tech scale-ups that could support BT and its public sector customers.

 We’re also working with our suppliers to help them reduce their carbon emissions by 42% by 2030 and for the first time, progress on carbon reduction and on digital skills training will make up part of the bonus calculation for eligible BT colleagues.

Despite the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, we announced a once-in-a-generation investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure: full-fibre broadband to 20 million premises and continued investment in 5G mobile. In 2019 the Centre for Economics & Business Research found that connecting the UK to full-fibre broadband by 2025 would deliver a £60bn boost to the UK and enable half a million people to be brought back into the workforce and enable 400,000 more people to work from home more.

BT on edie’s green recovery sessions

The first raft of speakers has been confirmed for edie’s series of free green recovery-themed webinars and masterclasses taking place on Wednesday 23 September, with sustainable business experts from Aldersgate Group, BT, Bank of England, Ella’s Kitchen, UKGBC all among the line-up. 

Penelope Guarnay, Carbon Programme Manager, BT has agreed to appear on the “Practical case studies of building back better through sustainable business” online session. The session will explore the role of compliance in building back better and cutting carbon, what green buildings and sustainable transport looks like and how to accelerate climate action through effective collaboration.


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