A week to celebrate ten years of the Climate Change Act and clean economic growth - what a fantastic idea!
The Climate Change Act has been immensely successful, leading to five carbon budgets that have paved the way for UK emissions to continue to fall. In 2017, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions were 43% below 1990 levels, while the economy grew by two-thirds over the same period. It’s a remarkable achievement.
The Act has also helped cement the UK’s position as an international leader on climate action, something that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has continued to safeguard, through its work on the Industrial Strategy, the Clean Growth Strategy and the Power Past Coal declaration.
Last week’s long awaited IPPC report on the need to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius couldn’t have been clearer. Urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach this target.
BT’s 1.5 degree Celsius science-based target
At BT, we have long recognised the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s why we set a Science Based Target in line with a 1.5 degree trajectory in September 2017. Our target is to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of our operations by 87% by 2030 against a 2016/17 baseline.
BT has around 18,000 suppliers and our supply chain spend is over £14 bn a year. While our own operations are responsible for 7% of our carbon impact, customers using our products and services constitutes 26% and the carbon associated with our supply chain 68%.
That’s why we have set a target to reduce the carbon emissions associated with our supply chain by 29% by 2030 on 2016/17 levels.
Working towards this target has led us to spending a lot of time focusing on working with our suppliers to try and inspire them to take climate action. Following a successful pilot, we are introducing a sustainability contract clause into our major contracts. The clause requires a supplier to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption over the term of the contract and has already shown great benefits for both us and our suppliers.
The unique role of ICT
ICT is a vital and unique tool that has the power to catalyse climate action throughout all sectors of the economy, driving carbon reduction while generating substantial economic and socio-economic benefits.
That’s why we signed up to the Step Up Declaration which was launched at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this September. We joined twenty other companies in a new collaboration to accelerate climate action using the power of technology.
Recognising the opportunity to take action and help mitigate the worst potential impacts of global warming, the signatories behind the Step Up Declaration are joining forces in response to a challenge issued in May, 2018 by Christiana Figueres, Convener of Mission 2020. Figueres’ challenge urged the technology sector to dramatically “step up” climate action, to demonstrate their own progress ahead of 2020, and show how they can intentionally help the rest of the global economy decarbonise.
BT is helping our customers reduce their carbon emissions
In 2013, to demonstrate how BT is accelerating climate action, we announced our Net Good target to help customers reduce their carbon emissions by at least three times the end-to-end carbon impact of our business by 2020.
When we launched the target, we were only just net positive, but in the five years since we have doubled that ratio. We are now at a ratio of 2.2 to 1. The revenue from these products and services is £5.3bn or 22% of BT’s total revenues. And, in 2017/18, our products, for example video conferencing and vehicle telematics, helped customers avoid at least 11.3 million tonnes of CO2e, equivalent to the emissions of nearly 3 million households.
We welcome the IPCC report and Green GB Week
We welcome the publication of the IPPC report which is very important in highlighting that the world needs to start setting 1.5 degree targets.
We know that the only way we can achieve a 1.5°C world is through collaboration and collective effort. There are really positive signs that suggest that the momentum behind a shift to a low carbon society is becoming unstoppable, but we can’t rest on our laurels.
Green GB Week has marked the 10-year anniversary of the successful Climate Change Act and been a celebration of UK leadership on climate action.
It has highlighted the opportunities clean growth offers the UK and raised understanding of how business and the public can contribute to tackling climate change.
We hope that the IPCC report and Green GB Week will inspire others to embrace the low carbon economy and see the opportunities that clean growth offers.
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