Saturday, 11 April 2020

Is Telefónica the Greenest Network Operator ?



Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies having significant presence in 17 countries and a customer base of over 327 million around the world.

The company has transformed itself into a ‘Digital Telco’ by making a solid commitment to sustainability and formulating a clear strategy in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy. After approval in 2015 of the global objectives of energy and climate change, Telefónica has become a lead operator, contributing to the fight against climate change worldwide.

Ángel Vilá, COO of Telefónica, has announced at COP25 the company’s new targets to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, commitments that will help limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5º C and allow the company to be carbon neutral by 2050.

These new five targets have been set following Telefónica’s overcoming of the challenges set for 2020 in terms of energy efficiency, renewable electricity and CO2 emissions two years ahead of schedule. They have set out these new targets:
  1. Reduce our energy consumption per unit of data traffic by 85% in 2025.
  2. Reach 85% of renewable electricity consumption in 2025 and 100% in 2030.
  3. Halve our emissions in 2025, reduce them by 70% in 2030 and become carbon neutral, meaning zero-net emissions, in 2050.
  4. Reduce 30% the emissions per euro purchased of our supply chain by 2025.
  5. And avoid, through our products and services, 10 tons of CO2 for every ton we produce by 2025.


In their Annual Report they list their main achievements in 2019:


  • We launched our first Green Bond, amounting to 1 billion euros.
  • During the COP25, we announced new climate change targets that are aligned with the 1.5 ºC scenario.
  • 100% certified company under ISO standard 14001:2015.
  • We consume 100% renewable electricity in Europe and Brazil.
  • We reduced our carbon emissions by 49.6% compared to 2015 (scope 1+2) and those of our supply chain (scope 3) by 18.5% compared to 2016.
  • We reduced our supply chain carbon emissions per euro of product purchased by 24,6% compared to 2016.
  • With our services, we prevented over 3.2 million tCO2, 3.3 times our carbon footprint.
  • We reduced our energy consumption per traffic unit by 71.8%.
  • We received the maximum 'A' classification by CDP with regard to Climate Change.
  • We recycled 98.4% of our waste.


While they consider their most significant challenges as the following:

  • Avoid 10 tonnes of CO2 for each tonne we generate in 2025
  • Reduce CO2 emissions in our supply chain by 30% per euro purchased by 2025 compared to 2016 (Scope 3).
  • Consume 100% renewable energy in 2030.
  • Reduce our CO2 emissions (Scope 1+2) by 70% in 2030


Telefónica already has the greenest telecommunications network on the market, thanks to the migration from copper to optical fibre, with the closure of one copper plant a day and the recycling of all its material as part of its commitment to the circular economy.

Vilá highlighted how:
 “thanks to the transformation of our networks, and our investments in cutting edge technologies, the energy consumption per unit of data traffic has decreased significantly: it has been cut to one third over a 3 year period, even though our networks are carrying 3 times more data traffic”.
In an increasingly connected world, digitisation is an excellent lever for accelerating many of the changes required to halt climate change. Fibre and 5G will allow for double the speed and capacity of the network each year, reducing energy consumption as a result of efficiency and renewable energies. In this regard, digital technologies can help to reduce global carbon emissions by at least 15% by means of solutions for the energy, transport and construction sectors, among many others.

Telefónica’s greatest contribution to the environment is its digitalization, reducing the company’s impact while helping other sectors and accompanying its customers in their own decarbonisation processes. For example, teleworking, fleet management services and solutions such as Smart Agro, Smart Lighting, and Smart Waste are making a positive contribution to curbing climate change by improving specific consumption metrics by between 15% and 85%.

In addition, Telefónica is already working with its suppliers on a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions in its supply chain per Euro purchased in 2025 compared to 2016, as they are its key allies when it comes to reducing its carbon footprint and boosting the circular economy.

All the above allowed Telefónica at the beginning of 2019 to successfully launch the sector’s first green bond, worth 1,000 million Euro. It has also given it recognition as a company prepared to address the challenges and opportunities arising from climate change. Telefónica is one of the seven leading telecommunications companies present in the prestigious and independent CDP.


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