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UK telcos commit to reduce GHG emissions

July 13, 2023

The UK’s largest connectivity providers are committing to agreeing to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the telecoms supply chain.

At a roundtable meeting in May convened by Ofcom and Accenture, twelve telecoms and network infrastructure companies were invited to discuss and identify priority areas where they could work together to reduce GHG emissions in the supply chain.

The participants have committed to work via the Digital Connectivity Forum’s Climate & Sustainability Work Group, to building industry consensus on these areas to drive action, ahead of COP28, while ensuring compliance with Competition Law.

The group will meet a further four times before the end of COP28 and will collaborate with other telecoms groupings and bodies that are committed to tackling climate change.

The following companies and organisations have signed up to a statement of commitment:

  • BT
  • Energy Systems Catapult
  • Cellnex
  • CityFibre
  • Hyperoptic
  • Openreach
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk techUK
  • Three
  • Virgin Media O2
  • Zen

Alex Mather, Head of the Digital Connectivity Forum (pictured), said: “We commend the collaborative commitment of these companies in reducing the climate impact of the telecoms sector. By understanding and addressing the complexities of the industry, we can pave the way for industry-wide transformation. The enthusiasm and support for the DCF’s climate working group are inspiring, and we look forward to their proposals ahead of COP28.”

Will Ennett, Chair of the Digital Connectivity Forum Climate & Sustainability Work Group & Head of Sustainability, TalkTalk, said: “The Digital Connectivity Forum welcomes the signatories’ commitment to work together to reduce GHG emissions and support the sector and nation’s net zero ambitions. Individual companies within the telecoms sector have long-established commitments at a company level, however the UK telecoms industry is a complex and interlinked system. It is therefore essential that the sector collaborates and works together to address these challenges and achieves industry-wide transformation. I am delighted by the enthusiasm and support for the DCF’s working group on climate issues, and look forward to the work that it will undertake.”

Ed Leighton, Director of Strategy & Policy at Ofcom, said: “We welcome the commitment of these companies to work together to reduce the climate impact of the sector. Better understanding the supply chain is as critical for sustainability as it is for security, so this is the right focus. We look forward to seeing further specific proposals ahead of COP 28.”

Toby Siddall, Sustainability Lead, Accenture UK & Ireland, added: “Companies have a leading role in scaling the ambition of a more sustainable future into a reality. The commitment we saw from all participants at May’s roundtable to work together and identify priority areas for collaboration will accelerate the innovative solutions and sustainability services needed for real action. We will continue to support the members of the Digital Connectivity Forum with insights on embedding sustainability as a core objective in the communications industry.”

Stephen Warburton, Managing Director for Consumer and Partner Divisions at Zen Internet, said: “It’s great to see our industry take positive steps towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, not just directly but also throughout the supply chain. Zen has already achieved B Corp certification, something which we’re extremely proud of alongside our Carbon Neutral status. Our B Corp status legally requires us to consider the impact of our actions across five key behaviours, including the environment. We have also had our commitments to achieve Net Zero approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in line with their net zero standard. This initiative is another positive step on that journey.

“Significant change can only come if we do things at scale, so while we might be competitors on one front, when it comes to the planet we need to leave competing priorities behind. At Zen we are looking forward to this much needed industry wide collaboration that is crucial to accelerate change and positive impact.”


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