Ongoing climate change and unsustainable use of natural resources is putting both ecosystems and humanity at great risk. Digitalization can accelerate the transformation needed to change this course. The time for forceful action is now. That’s why we have committed to reach zero CO2 and zero waste by 2030.
The road to zero - CO2 and waste
In 2019, Telia Company adopted two daring environmental goals: by 2030, our CO2 and waste footprints will be zero. The zero CO2 ambition focuses on creating a climate-neutral value chain by 2030. The work on zero waste focuses on our own operations while enabling a circular economy through our offerings.
To ensure action, we have set a number of goals to be reached by 2022. These include:
- Use 100% renewable electricity in all our operations – achieved in 2020
- Become carbon neutral in our own operations (covering energy consumption and business travel) – commitment made to be achieved in 2020
- Significantly increase the re-use of customer hardware, such as phones, routers, and network equipment
- Have comprehensive green offerings on all markets
- Engage with suppliers to create plans to reach zero CO2 by 2030, including in their supply chains
We are in the process of adopting science-based targets (SBTs) aligned with a 1.5° C pathway. External approval by the Science Based Targets initiative is expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Our environmental agenda covers both challenges and opportunities. We are forcefully addressing our negative footprint as well as maximizing our opportunities to help our customers reduce theirs.
Negative footprint to address
In the past few years we have significantly reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our own operations. In 2020 we made the decision to only use renewable electricity and to become climate neutral in our own operations by offsetting remaining GHG emissions. From a value chain perspective, most GHG emissions (over 80%) are emitted in the supply chain. Working closely with suppliers to enable them to transition to a low-carbon economy will be key in achieving the 2030 goal of zero CO2. Through this work we contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 7: Renewable energy and Goal 13: Climate action.
When it comes to waste, the largest amounts in our own operations are generated when we develop our network infrastructure. Significant e-waste volumes are generated from consumer electronics such as mobile phones and routers. To address these waste flows, we apply the “Reduce – Reuse – Recycle” principle while exploring and expanding the use of circular business models in particular when it comes to reusing mobile devices, routers and TV boxes. Through this work we contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 12: Sustainable consumption and production.
Enabling societies to transform
Several research reports such as the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap and the GSMA Enablement Effect report show the importance of connectivity and digital solutions for societies to become low-carbon and circular. Already today, Telia Company is enabling customers across many industries to significantly reduce their GHG emissions and increase resource efficiency through the use of our services. We estimate that in 2019, customers’ GHG reductions from the use of our remote meeting services, take-back initiatives and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions applied in buildings, transportation and utilities were over 500 000 tons CO2e. This is equivalent to the GHG emissions from more than 3.5 million return trips between Stockholm and Helsinki, or taking more than 200 000 cars off the roads annually. By enabling our customers to reduce their environmental impact we contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure and Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities.
We are actively contributing as a supporting partner to the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap project, which lays out 36 solutions to halve global CO2 emissions by 2030. The project highlights the role of digital solutions as an enabler for many other industries, stating that globally, “digital services have potential, tenfold their footprint, to reduce energy and materials across the economy and could directly enable a third of the GHG emissions reductions needed by 2030”.
Below are examples of the steps we are taking on the road to zero.