Mobile operators unite to combat climate change

Mobile operators unite to combat climate change

The GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has announced a new initiative aimed at developing a mobile industry climate action roadmap in line with the Paris Agreement.

The GSMA says that over 50 mobile operators, accounting for more than two thirds of mobile connections globally, have already subscribed to the initiative. They include such major names as BT, Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, China Mobile, Bharti Airtel, Millicom International, Zain Group and Vodafone.

All groups involved will disclose their climate impacts, and energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via the internationally recognised CDP global disclosure system. CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, runs the global disclosure system that enables companies, cities, states and regions to measure and manage their environmental impacts. It has built the most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data in the world.

The disclosures form the first phase of an industry-wide climate action roadmap. The next step will see the development of a decarbonisation pathway for the mobile industry, aligned with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), to be in place by February 2020. This will include the development of an industry-wide plan to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Science Based Targets initiative champions science-based target setting as a way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. It is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

The GSMA is working with participating operators and says it will be partnering with the international community, climate experts and third-party organisations to advance industry progress, establish best practices, and support disclosure and target setting.

At a time when melting ice, burning forests, record heat waves and devastating hurricanes, and their potential links to climate change, are high up many news agendas, the timing of this initiative could hardly be bettered. It also gives the mobile industry a chance to show how wireless technology can benefit the environment by advancing mobile technology innovations in areas such as big data and IoT that can enable energy-efficient and environmental solutions across multiple sectors, including transport, manufacturing, agriculture, building and energy.

Expect to hear a lot more about this new initiative at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, where the mobile industry will have a presence. It opens on 17 September 2019. The initiative will also be a focus of the Mobile World Congress Americas event being held in Los Angeles next month. 

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