Climate action – How technology can help organisations achieve their goals
In podcast episode 29, we discuss climate action, and specifically about what part technology can play to help stop and reverse climate change. I am joined by Steven Moore, Head of Climate Action at GSMA, the industry association representing the worldwide mobile communications sector. We talk about the impact of technology on sustainability goals, from supply chain, through to product lifecycle.
With COP26 having concluded just over a week ago, journalists, businesses and interest groups are all still assessing the fine details of the commitments that were made, as well as those that were not.
As the body representing the mobile technology industry, the GSMA brought together the largest mobile network operators in the world together in 2019, and set a milestone ambition – to transform the mobile industry to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. It has led every operator to take action to reduce their carbon footprint – at Virgin Media O2 we’ve been working to reduce our carbon footprint since 2008, and in March 2020 we announced our commitment to be a net zero carbon business by 2025. For us, that means achieving net zero in our own operations, by 2025, as well as reducing carbon emissions by at least 30% across our whole supply chain within the same timeframe.
Steven is part of the GSMA’s climate action task force, which aims to lead the way on climate action for mobile operators worldwide, develop policy, conduct research and share best practice amongst its members. One of the challenges is establishing metrics and measurement common throughout the world:
“If we don’t have everyone measuring in the same way then we’re not going to be speaking a common language. So we looked at best practice in this space, and asked – What are most of our leading members using? We found that it was a platform called CDP, which was originally termed the carbon disclosure project. They’ve reached more than 10,000 organisations worldwide, who complete their climate questionnaire every year. CDP enables our members to measure their impacts in broadly the same way, and you can start to evaluate and compare individual operators.”
Steven highlighted that going green, and aiming for net zero, can reduce the costs of a business, as well as being good for the planet:
“How do you make your own business more efficient? What investment do you need to make in your business to reduce the costs? There are lots of things that you can do specifically involving green technological solutions, energy efficiency solutions, automation, and so on. Investing in renewables will give you a return, and those returns have become much more attractive over the last 10 years.”
Of course, reaching net zero must involve the entire supply chain of a business, not just the business in isolation:
“It isn’t just about your own operations, it includes your upstream, including the emissions created by your supply chain. But it also includes your downstream, taking into account the impact made by your customers using your equipment. We need businesses to put their hands up and say, we have a responsibility for all of these emissions.”
Steven has been focussed on finding ways to make positive change for years, and I could have continued our discussion for the rest of the day. Listen to the podcast to hear his thoughts on:
- Return on investment and risk mitigation for business investing in green technology and renewables.
- How ‘being good’ is good for business.
- The impact of blockchain.
- The role that 5G must play.
- His assessment of COP26.
Remember to visit GSMA.com/climate, which provides research, infographics and a wealth of other resources illustrating what is needed, and what can be done, across different industries; from the mobile industry, through to energy, manufacturing, transport and construction.