O2 unveils carbon footprint of its services

Telecoms giant O2 has joined forces with the Carbon Trust to measure the carbon footprint of its services - becoming, it has claimed, the first network operator to gain certification.

As part of the initiative, O2 worked with the Carbon Trust to calculate and certify the carbon emissions of its voice and data services.

Using the Trust’s Footprint Expert tool, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions embedded throughout the entire lifecycle of O2’s telecoms were measured. Figures recorded found that the carbon footprint of making a one minute voice call made on the O2 network creates 3.6g CO2 while transferring one megabyte of data generates 11g of CO2.

According to O2, reporting on the carbon emissions of its telecom services and achieving independent certification demonstrates its commitment to understanding the environmental impact of its operations in line with its sustainability plan, Think Big Blueprint, unveiled earlier this year.

It also forms part of its three-year ambition with aims to deliver carbon benefits to customers that are 10 times the impact of their network by 2015.

To support this target, O2 is planning to launch tools which enable its customers to calculate the emissions associated with the services they use and provide comparisons with various other daily activities. For example; its report revealed that a five minute call on its network is the carbon-equivalent to boiling water to make one cup of tea.

O2 head of environment Gareth Rice, said: “Our aim is to develop the UK’s most carbon-efficient network, putting our own operations under the microscope and looking for ways to reduce the footprint we leave on the world. By evaluating our impact in conjunction with the Carbon Trust we feel we are doing just that.”

Earlier this week edie sister publication Sustainable Business hosted the Smarter Sustainability Reporting conference in London, which saw major brand leaders gather to debate the merits of sustainability reporting for businesses.

Edie is urging businesses who are already actively reporting on their sustainability credentials to enter the Sustainability Reporting category of the Sustainability Leaders Awards 2012. The deadline for entries is June 15.

Carys Matthews

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