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The Carbon Trust

16 Feb 2011 11:02:14

O2 gets better connected on carbon

O2 has been recertified with the Carbon Trust Standard for successfully measuring, managing and improving carbon efficiency across its business by nearly 18% (1), based on turnover.

O2 was the first mobile network operator to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard in January 2009. In the last two years the company has honed its energy efficiency strategies even further to cut carbon emissions by nearly 30,000 tonnes CO2e. In doing so, O2 has become the first mobile operator to be recertified by the Carbon Trust Standard.

Ronan Dunne, UK chief executive, O2, said: "The Carbon Trust Standard is the de facto UK mark of commitment to carbon reduction. By retaining the Carbon Trust Standard we've proved that by using technology to measure energy usage, connect people, and encourage new ways of working – we can make a major difference to climate change."

In total, over the five years O2's performance has been measured by the Carbon Trust Standard, the company has improved carbon efficiency by 22%, relative to turnover.

To achieve the Carbon Trust Standard, organisations must firstly measure their direct carbon footprint (for example, onsite fuel and electricity use), prove that good carbon management practices are in place and demonstrate genuine reduction in their emissions over a three year period.

The Carbon Trust Standard certificate is valid for two years. The recertification is equally robust and demands an even greater focus on carbon reduction since companies typically have targeted 'low hanging' fruit during their first certification.

• The launch of a major sustainability programme called Think Big, part of which involves engaging O2's 11,000 employees to get behind carbon reduction initiatives.
• Setting in place a carbon reduction target to reduce "carbon per connection" by 40% by 2015.
• The multi-million pound development of a new, state-of-the-art head office campus, using environmental management, smart technology and flexible working to cut the office's carbon emissions by 53%.
• £2m investment in 7,000+ electricity smart meters, rolled out in company cell sites, offices and retail outlets over the last three years.
• A £750,000 investment in power quality monitoring for data centres.
• A £300,000 investment in micro wind turbines to test feasibility for installation at cell sites and O2's main office buildings.

Harry Morrison, general manager, the Carbon Trust Standard, said: "We are delighted to recertify O2's ongoing commitment to carbon reduction. O2's ability to seek out new areas to improve energy efficiency proves that, with the right level of skills, tenacity, and support, it's possible to improve carbon efficiency year-on-year, which has a hugely positive effect on the business."

O2's carbon efficiency gains certified via the Carbon Trust Standard have reinforced its CEO-led Think Big sustainability programme, which is built upon O2's mission of becoming a recognised business leader on sustainability by 2012.

As well as getting its "house in order" by increasing efficiency and cutting carbon, Think Big is also focused on helping its consumer and corporate customers to reduce their own carbon footprints through the use of technology, and creating more awareness of the environmental impact of products through eco-rating.

By 2020, it's estimated that the telecoms sector can help cut global carbon emissions by around five times the sector's own carbon dioxide emissions, which equates to £475 billion in saved costs (2).

Recently, O2's UK chief executive, Ronan Dunne joined business leaders Ian Cheshire of Kingfisher, Lord Sharman of Aviva, Mark Elborne of GE, and Richard Evans of Pepsico UK & Ireland in launching the Carbon Trust's Green Growth campaign.

The campaign calls for UK business leaders to capitalise on over £112bn a year and 900,000 jobs which are available from the low carbon economy. Research from the Carbon Trust reveals that 92% of business leaders believe green growth represents an opportunity for their business, but only a third are actually investing money in the research and development of green products and services.

1 The Carbon Trust Standard recertification was awarded for an 18% improvement in carbon efficiency, relative to turnover, April 1st 2008 – March 31st 2010.

2 2008 research by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative and The Climate Group, 'SMART 2020'.

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