For many years, the climate impact of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry has gone relatively unnoticed but the effects are gradually gaining more attention. The industry accounts for 3 to 4% of global CO2 emissions which is about twice that of civil aviation. With the unprecedented demand for digital communication during the pandemic and the deployment of these tools throughout the workplace, digital global data traffic is expected to grow at around 60% per year and subsequently, the industry’s contribution toward global CO2 emissions will increase. The consumption of purchased electricity accounts for a large part of the carbon footprint of companies in the industry, thus, only sufficient energy efficiency improvements and renewables can offset the footprint growth effect.
Purchased goods and services as well as usage of the company’s own products and services are other major factors contributing to a telecom company’s climate footprint and some of the largest contributors to their Scope 3 GHG emissions. One way for operators to reduce Scope 3 emissions is to improve the energy efficiency of user devices provided to customers and integrate climate performance metrics into sourcing decisions.
The climate issue has become an urgent one for telecommunication network operators to consider and reducing GHG emissions through energy consumption reduction, energy efficiency, sustainable sourcing practices, as well as environmental product sustainability is at the core of the industry’s material priorities.
By applying materiality activation and through the implementation of climate strategies, the industry can address these issues and reduce the negative industry effects on human health and climate.
Challenges are real but not insurmountable.
Opportunities are waiting to be unlocked.
The company is among the pioneers in the field of climate strategy with the CEO himself overseeing climate-related issues on the board and the whole board being responsible for determining climate change targets and with regularly updates on the progress that are being made towards these targets.
Deutsche Telekom is committed to implementing the Task Force on Climate Related Disclosures (TCFD) requirements and using it as a guide on the organization’s climate journey. As a first step, the company conducted a gap analysis to see to which extent the measures in place already comply with TCFD recommendations. Then, a climate risk analysis was performed using IPCC scenarios on an initial exemplary basis of 500 Deutsche Telekom sites in Germany. The outcomes of these analyses have influenced the strategy of the organization whether it comes to its decision to reinforce its offering of sustainable products and services, adopt a TCO approach to understand climate costs along the value chain, or limit energy consumption in its own operations.
In line with the TCFD recommendations, the company’s climate strategy and transition plan focus on three areas:
(1) Determine where your organization currently stands on its climate journey
Assess where your company currently stands in its climate journey by making an inventory of all the objectives, targets, metrics, programs, policies, and practices that aim to reduce the company’s impact on the climate and vice versa.
(2) Understand the climate-related risks and opportunities relevant to your organization
Develop a concrete understanding of inside-out/societal impacts related to climate mitigation and outside-in/business impacts related to climate adaptation using the TCFD recommendations.
(3) Develop (or strengthen) the climate strategy
Implement a strong corporate governance of climate-related risks and opportunities and an effective risk management approach, and set metrics and targets for both climate mitigation and adaptation in line with stakeholders’ expectations and the TCFD recommendations
(4) Start value chain conversations on shared climate priorities
The climate challenge requires collaboration to maximize the value created for every unit of resource. In this way, engaging in collaboration across industries, along with key NGOs, suppliers, investors, and business customers to create a low carbon transition across the value chain is essential.
The downloadable Corporate Climate Strategy Checklist at the top of this article is a helpful tool for organizations to get a good view of climate-related risks and opportunities, develop or strengthen a corporate climate strategy, and keep stakeholders engaged along the way.
If you would like to know more or require assistance with working on your climate strategy, net-zero and/or science-based targets, or TCFD, get in touch with Gijs-Jan Groeneveld at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 6 28 02 18 80 to discuss how Finch & Beak can support you.
Photo by Beth Macdonald on Unsplash
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Finch & Beak
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