British telecom giant BT said it aims to reduce its carbon emissions 87 percent by 2030, setting itself on a path to help limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century. As part of the transition to a low carbon business model, BT had previously set itself a target in 2008 of an 80 percent reduction of its carbon emissions by 2020.
After reaching this target four years ahead of schedule, BT has set a new 2030 target, approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative, which is aligned with the most ambitious aim of the COP21 Paris Agreement. This aim seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit it even further to 1.5°C by the end of the century.
To meet this ambitious goal BT will be targeting innovative ways to further reduce its dependency on fossil fuels, for example through the adoption of low carbon vehicles in its fleet and reducing the carbon intensity of buildings.
"The role that technology can play in creating a more resource efficient world is both profound and exciting," said BT Chief Sustainability Officer, Niall Dunne, announcing the target. "The benefits of leading climate action extend to our customers, suppliers and people. Our commitment to this 1.5°C target will help create partnerships and coalitions that continue the unstoppable momentum enabled by the Paris agreement."
As part of its wider energy program, BT has made strides in reducing its end-to-end carbon footprint which has helped to deliver a total of £221m of energy savings since 2009/2010. BT is also well on its way to achieving its commitment to purchase 100 percent renewable electricity for its operations by 2020, where markets allow, the company said, sourcing 82 percent renewably last year.
In addition, BT promotes energy efficiency by providing products and services that enable its customers to reduce emissions. As part of its 2020 ambitions, BT aims to help its customers cut their carbon emissions by at least three times its own end-to-end carbon impact. So far it has reached 1.8 times, enabling customers to avoid 10 million tons of carbon in 2016/2017, up 32 percent on the previous year.
These carbon-abating products and services represented £5.3bn, or 22 percent, of BT's total revenue last year. BT's commitment to reducing its carbon intensity could help the UK Government meet its carbon reduction targets. International climate negotiations will continue at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, this November.