30 Nov 2023
by Will Ennett

Digital Connectivity Forum's Climate & Sustainability Work Group endorses JAC principles (Guest blog from DCF/TalkTalk)

Guest blog by Will Ennett, Head of Sustainability and ESG at DCF/TalkTalk. Part of techUK's Climate Action at COP28 Campaign Week 2023. 

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Telecoms in the UK connects 97% of homes, is used by 44.6 million customers daily, and is essential to our lives, whether that involves remote working, socialising or consuming content it is inescapable that telecoms represents a necessity for modern society in the UK. 

When reviewing the carbon footprint of the telecoms sector, which is estimated at a staggering 1.6% of the total ICT sectors 3 to 4% total of global CO2 emissions, it is clear that much of the emissions can be attributed as scope 3, with a particular problem point being those found in the supply chain. 

A survey of the Digital Connectivity Forum’s Climate & Sustainability Work Group members was conducted to gather information on the current state of sustainability within the sector. 

Key findings included that the sector is taking responsibility for its emissions, recognising that the businesses themselves represent the key to decarbonisation, taking ownership of their place as both part of the problem and the solution. 100% of respondents identified large organisations in the industry and large suppliers as key partners for the Telecoms industry reaching Net Zero. 

The survey also showed that industry has made concrete commitments. The vast majority of the businesses surveyed are taking steps toward climate action, such as GHG calculation and commitment to targets.  80% indicated that they have a science-based reduction target in line with the SBTi standard and of that 80%; 60% responded that they have achieved SBTi validation.           

Results found that scope 3 represented well over 80% of emissions for the industry, and within that, supplier-based emissions (scope 3 categories 1 and 2) came out as the largest factor.   

It’s for this reason that the industry is actively engaging with suppliers. 30% of those responded said they already have contractual clauses to seek climate action of customers, and a further 60% intend to insert climate clauses, or already engage suppliers in non-contractual ways.  

Given the key focus on suppliers and the supply chain, the UK telecoms industry was keen to come together and provide best practice guidance for suppliers.  

The group has endorsed the JAC 10-point principles – these 10 points give suppliers to the UK telecoms industry aspirational goals to work towards and are aligned with work the industry are doing to decarbonise. We hope this can be the beginning of dialogue by industry and suppliers alike to help in reaching our respective decarbonisation goals.  

The DCF Climate and Sustainability Working Group also acknowledges that many smaller suppliers may struggle with climate reporting, and has issued guidance earlier this month to help SMEs get started on net zero action.  

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Will Ennett

Will Ennett

Head of Sustainability and ESG , DCF/TalkTalk

Will Ennett | LinkedIn