BT Group, the joint-largest private purchaser of electricity in the U.K., announced that its network, offices, and shops worldwide are now powered by 100% renewable electricity. BT will run its global operations on renewable energy wherever markets allow and will purchase the remainder from nearby markets until local solutions can be sourced.
BT said making the switch to 100% renewable electricity would help it reduce carbon emissions in March of next year by an estimated 54,000 tons compared to the previous financial year. Currently, 99.9% of the global electricity sourced by BT will be renewable. The balance 0.1% are in markets that don’t offer renewable electricity, which represents eight countries out of the 85 that BT Group does business in.
In its endeavour to transition to a low carbon business model, BT has pledged to become a net-zero carbon emissions business by 2045. Moreover, BT has set targets in line with the COP21 Paris Agreement. The company has reduced the carbon emissions intensity of its operations by 42% since 2016-2017 and has reduced carbon emissions by 8% in its supply chain over the same timeframe.
Cyril Pourrat, chief procurement officer at BT, reiterated that as an organisation that consumes nearly 1% of the UK’s electricity, it was important for BT to demonstrate its commitment to a green recovery. Cyril stated that the team had worked hard to secure renewable electricity contracts for their sites globally, which is a crucial step towards the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C target.
Along the same lines, BT’s Openreach which has the second-largest commercial fleet in the U.K. will switch to a third of its 27,000 combustion engine vehicles to electric by 2025.
In June 2020, BT Group including Openreach joined forces with the Climate Group to launch the U.K. Electric Fleets Coalition. The coalition which includes 27 companies have pioneered in communicating the benefits of switching to electric vehicles (EVs). Furthermore, they have called for supportive policy measures which target 100% electric car and van sales by 2030, and extend grants for EVs and charging points through to at least 2023.
Over the past few years, the telecommunications industry has stepped up its renewable energy and green initiatives. In June, Telefónica announced a green bond in 2019 and reiterated its plans to reach its target of zero emissions across four main markets by 2030 instead of 2050.
Moreover, Google announced one of the most ambitious environmental pledges across the telecoms industry in September, which included its goal to only use carbon-free sources by 2030.
On Earth Day in 2019, Verizon declared that it would go carbon neutral by 2035 in terms of all sources of emissions owned or controlled by Verizon and all sources of emissions purchased by Verizon. It’s also watching out to source or generate renewable energy that’s equivalent to 50% of its total annual electricity consumption by 2024.