O2 has pledged to be the first ‘net-zero’ mobile network in the UK by removing all carbon emissions from its business by 2025.
The Telefonica-owned operator has made sustainability a key priority over the past decade, investing £400 million in renewable energy sources, implementing flexible working practices, and taking action to reduce the amount of electronic waste.
O2 was the first mobile operator to be awarded the Carbon Trust Triple Standard for Carbon, Waste and Water and claims to have saved more than 20,000 tonnes of emissions by allowing staff to work from home.
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O2 carbon emissions
The O2 Recycle scheme has prevented more than three million devices from reaching landfill – the equivalent of 450 tonnes – and waste has been further reduced by a decision not to sell new phones with a charger as standard.
The network has also been upgraded to save power. During periods of low demand, capacity is automatically reduced, saving over 6,000 megawatt hours of energy.
O2 argues that its new, more ambitious targets are the most comprehensive ever undertaken by a UK operator, and include both operational and customer-facing initiatives.
It already uses renewable energy wherever it has control of the supply, but to meet its new targets it will switch third-party landlords that support its infrastructure over to sustainable sources.
There will also be collaboration with the wider Telefonica group to make the supply chain more sustainable, and O2 will also examine how mobile technology in general can help other industries achieve their sustainability goals.
“Today, we’re putting a stake in the ground. We want to go further and faster, setting the bar in our industry to tackle climate change and build the greenest network for our customers,” said Mark Evans, O2 CEO. “Every office, every store, every mast. We will get the changes done to be a net zero business by 2025."
“Mobile can play a pivotal role to make our country more sustainable. From smart metering to smarter working. O2 will work with suppliers, partners and customers to ensure that this industry plays its part in delivering a greener country for us all.”
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.