Given the telecommunications industry´s growing climate impact, the onus is on addressing sustainability performance and placing it at the Top of the Telco agenda, by putting in place meaningful and actionable strategies to reduce their environmental impacts.
Many operators have set more ambitious environmental targets, specifying, and reducing their timeline for becoming carbon neutral, expanding renewable energy as a share of their energy consumption, and committing to higher recycling rates for their equipment and components.
This requires a major transformation that affects everyone from operators, operations, its employees, and suppliers.
What is the role of telcos in sustainability?
Telcos can do a lot towards a more sustainable world.
The change in behavior from within the industry towards being more sustainable is fundamental. Telco companies contribute to the consumption and waste of energy (electric power), as well as to carbon emissions. In 2021, the telco industry was responsible for 2-3% of power consumption (In Kearney, 2021) and 3-4% of carbon emissions (In BCG, 2021) globally. Adopting more sustainable behaviors can help reduce these numbers, contributing to an overall more sustainable world.
To the outside, there’s a lot that can be done too for the sustainability of the Telecommunications Industry. Telco technology can be used in the creation of different optimized networks, like smart networks. Smart cities, smart agriculture, smart mining systems, etc., are networks that use telco technology and that can contribute largely to sustainability in telecommunications industry and society. These are more efficient and optimized for preventing waste and reducing unnecessary consumption or carbon emissions.
There’s a lot that can be done by telcos in sustainability, both internally and externally.
What are the main challenges?
One of the main challenges that the telco industry is facing is the exponential and continuous growth of fiber optic networks. This growth requires extra efforts from telco companies to expand their infrastructures while maintaining reliable networks. The result of this is also an ascending power consumption, as there’s increased data traffic (more users), more systems, infrastructures and machines to support these networks which consume energy.
To accompany this growth, innovation is needed, as it creates new necessities. To optimize networks with growing dimensions and keep them sustainable, it’s essential to create new ways and tools to avoid waste and excessive consumption.
Solutions to Reduce Environmental Impact in the Telco Industry
Some of the solutions that the telco industry can adopt for the sustainability of the telecommunications industry are:
- Use of renewable energy. Using green energy helps to not only save on electric power, but also on reducing carbon emissions.
- Focus on efficiency. Focusing on using more efficient processes and products helps to prevent the waste of resources. Investing in going digital, like entering online marketplaces such as Twoosk, is a good way to start this change.
- Measure the progress. Keeping track of the developments prevents investment in the wrong things which may not be making a good difference in becoming more sustainable.