How telecom companies can be powered by renewable energy

Hardware and Software giants like Apple, Amazon and Google have been buying green power for nearly a decade. Sector leaders in the telecom industry, like AT&T and BT, are also shifting fast towards renewables. BT is one of more than 170 influential companies that have joined the collaborative, global RE100 initiative, which commits them to using 100% renewable energy to power all their global operations

The business case for BT to go green

For BT the process of implementing corporate sustainability started in the early 2000s, targeting to reduce 80% of its carbon emission intensity by 2016. The target was reached four years early and the estimated cost savings totalled GBP 220 million. The business case for climate action was clear (We Mean Business news).

BT has 18,000 suppliers and over two-thirds of the end-to-end carbon emissions come from the supply chain. Their goal is to reduce scope 3 emissions from supply chain by 42% from 2016/17 levels within 2030. So far, BT has worked with suppliers to achieve an 8% reduction to 3m tonnes, mainly by encouraging suppliers to report to CDP, benchmark their performance and drive emissions reductions.

November 2020 BT hits 100% renewable electricity milestone worldwide. BT has pledged to become a net-zero-carbon business by 2045 with targets to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Read more about the business case and what makes BT a sustainability leader.

Use renewables for branding

The business case for telecom companies as illustrated by BT goes beyond cost savings. Dr Thomas Hillig from THEnergy points out: “Beyond costs there are quite some additional advantages from renewable energy sourcing. Telecom companies are in constant and close interactions with their end customers. They are in an ideal position to use renewables to polish up their brand. In general, I see that energy branding will become more important. Independent power providers that sell electricity to telecom companies might need to think of how to brand their energy to provide a better value proposition for renewables.”