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Five telcos ‘backing 1.5°C temperature target’ for UN climate conference

Chua Sock Koong Singtel.jpg

Five telecoms companies – BT, Singtel, Telefónica, Telia and Vodafone – are among 28 companies that have committed to new international climate targets.

All 28 say they want to help limit the average temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. BT and two other tech companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and SAP, have already set the 1.5°C target covering greenhouse gas emissions from their operations.

“Climate leadership has never been more important than it is right now, and it is inspiring to see so many diverse companies and brands boldly raising their ambitions,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and executive director of the UN Global Compact, a United Nations agency that is backling a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders.

“Leading companies are already proving that 1.5°C-compliant climate targets are possible,” said Kingo, “and I encourage all businesses to seize this opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of this movement and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Chua Sock Koong (pictured), CEO of Singtel, the only south-east Asian company in the list of 28, said: “Climate change is a global issue that requires urgent action from all of us, and governments and businesses must lead the charge. Singtel has proactively implemented initiatives to make the transition to a clean energy future and build resilience in our operations.”

She added: “We were the first company in Asia outside of Japan to have our absolute carbon reduction targets for 2030 approved by the Science Based Carbon Target initiative in October 2017. We have now deepened our commitment to meet the more aggressive 1.5°C target and net-zero by 2050. We believe these efforts will drive efficiency, innovation and use of renewable energy within the business, and rally our partners and vendors in the ecosystem to work together to achieve a positive outcome.”

Energy use and its impact on the climate is a big issue for the telecoms and data centre industries. Data Economy, a sister title to Capacity, has reported that data centres alone will use 20% of the planet’s energy by 2025.

The UN Global Compact said that CEOs who commit their companies to a 1.5°C trajectory in support of a net-zero future will be recognised at a private sector forum that will be held as part of the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September.

Kingo said: “Leading companies are already proving that 1.5°C-compliant climate targets are possible, and I encourage all businesses to seize this opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of this movement and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Luis Alfonso de Alba, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for the Climate Action Summit, said: “The UN Secretary-General has called on leaders to come to the Climate Action Summit in September with clear plans for major cuts to emissions on the pathway to a zero-net emissions economy by 2050.”

He added: “By sending strong market signals, these companies are showing governments that they need to urgently ramp up their national plans in line with the latest climate science.”

The 28 companies – with a market cap of $1.3 trillion between them – are: Acciona, AstraZeneca, Banka BioLoo, BT, Dalmia Cement, Eco-Steel Africa, Enel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Iberdrola, KLP, Levi Strauss & Co, Mahindra Group, Natura &Co, Novozymes, Royal DSM, SAP, Signify, Singtel, Telefónica, Telia, Unilever, Vodafone and Zurich Insurance.