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 and network operations while enabling a circular economy through our offerings.
To ensure action, we have set a number of short- and mid-term goals, including our Science Based Targets (SBTs) aligned with a 1.5° C pathway. The full list of goals and our performance in 2020 is available under Goals and performance.
Our strategy captures both our responsibility to forcefully address our negative footprint and business 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 used 100% renewable electricity thus reaching our goal two years ahead of schedule, and achieved climate neutrality by offsetting remaining GHG emissions. An assessment of our total value chain emissions shows that most emissions (85 percent) are generated 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 network equipment but also to a lesser extent from consumer electronics such as mobile phones and routers. To address these waste flows, we apply the “Prevent – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle” principle while exploring and expanding the use of circular business models. These models are applied in all of our work, for example when it comes to reusing network equipment or providing devices “as a service” which allows us to get electronics back for reuse and proper recycling. 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.
According to our estimations for 2020, customers’ GHG reductions from the use of our remote meeting services and some of our Internet of Things (IoT) solutions applied in buildings, transportation and utilities were close to 490,000 tons CO2e. This is equivalent to the GHG emissions from around 3.5 million return trips by air between Stockholm and Helsinki. Many of these services also deliver significant electricity savings. We estimate that in 2020 we helped save almost 290 GWh electricity, the annual consumption of 30,000 average Swedish households. 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, “The digital sector has the potential to directly reduce fossil fuel emissions 15% by 2030 and indirectly support a further reduction of 35% through influence of consumer and business decisions and systems transformation.”
More information can be found on pages 58-63 in the Annual and Sustainability Report.
Below are examples of the steps we are taking on the road to zero.