Many of the world’s largest mobile operator groups have agreed to start disclosing their climate impacts as part a new initiative led by the GSMA.
The aim is to develop a mobile industry roadmap for action on climate change in line with the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°c by 2050.
More than 50 mobile operators – which together account for more than two-thirds of mobile connections globally – are now disclosing their climate impacts, energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via the internationally recognised CDP global disclosure system.
The move will enable full transparency for investors and customers involved in the mobile sector, the GSMA said, noting that many of the companies are disclosing for the first time.
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.
Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said, “[This] announcement marks the start of a collaborative action by the mobile industry to tackle the climate emergency, demonstrating how the private sector can show leadership and responsibility in addressing one of the gravest challenges facing our planet.
“The mobile industry will form the backbone of the future economy and therefore has a unique opportunity to drive change across multiple sectors and in collaboration with our suppliers, investors and customers.”
Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, said that through the disclosures, “mobile operators will be able to measure and understand their environmental impact, helping them to build sustainability into the heart of their businesses.”
GSMA operator members that are disclosing via CDP include América Móvil, AT&T Inc., Axiata Group, Bell Canada, Bharti Airtel, BT Group, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, DNA Plc, Elisa Corporation, Far EasTone, Globe Telecom, Inmarsat, KDDI Corporation, KPN, KT Corporation, LG Uplus, Magyar Telekom, Millicom International, MTN Group, MTS, NTT DOCOMO, Oi Móvel, Orange Group, Proximus, Reliance Jio, Rogers Communications, Singtel, SK Telecom, SoftBank Corp., Spark New Zealand, Sprint Corporation, StarHub, STC, Sunrise, Swisscom, T-Mobile USA, Taiwan Mobile, Tele2 AB, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, Telenor Group, Telia Company, Telkom SA, Telstra Corporation, TELUS Communications, TIM Brasil, True Corp., Turkcell, Verizon, Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group and Zain Group.
The GSMA said the new pathway will help mobile operators set their own targets faster. However, it noted that the timescale at which individual companies reach the target will depend on a number of factors, including their geographic location and their ability to access renewable energy.
The GSMA expects that some companies will meet the net-zero target significantly ahead of the 2050 deadline.