The report, published annually by the GSMA to track the mobile industry's progress towards net zero, also demonstrates how operators are working to improve energy efficiency across their footprint, investing in 5G – which enables higher bandwidths with lower power usage per bit delivered – retiring power-hungry legacy networks and investing in electric vehicle fleets.
In addition, the report details the intent shown by players across the industry, including major handset and equipment suppliers, to make supply chains more sustainable by using recycled content, more renewable electricity in manufacture, extending the lifetime of devices and supporting repair and recycling.
To date, 62 operators, representing 61% of the industry by revenue and 46% by connections, have committed to science-based targets intended to rapidly reduce their direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2030; this is an increase of 12 operators since 2022.
Such commitments are significant as they require operators to transition to 100% renewable electricity, move away from use of diesel generators, electrify their vehicle fleets and engage their suppliers. A large proportion of operators have also committed to net zero targets by 2050 or earlier, accounting for 39% of mobile connections and 43% of global revenue.
The report illustrates significant regional variation in the adoption of renewable electricity, with gaps present in the global south and east where access and, at times, policy constraints make the shift to renewables more challenging.
The mobile industry is also improving its climate reporting, in both quantity and quality. Sixty-seven operators, accounting for 79% of mobile revenue and 66% of global connections, disclosed to CDP – the global disclosure system – in 2022; that’s an increase of seven operators on the previous year. And a record 36 operators received an 'A' score for their disclosures, up from 22 the previous year.