As the world rebuild from the Covid-19 pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to create a fairer, more resilient, low carbon society, writes BT's chief digital impact & sustainability officer, Andy Wales
As the world looks to rebuild from the Covid-19 pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to change the way the economy works - creating a fairer, more resilient, low carbon society.
BT has led on climate action for over 25 years and in June, we pledged our support for a green recovery - announcing two new initiatives.
The UK Electric Fleets Coalition
With around 32,000 vehicles, BT Group has the second largest commercial fleet in the UK.
Together with The Climate Group, we're calling on the UK government to target 100 per cent electric car and van sales by 2030; extend grants for electric vehicles and charging points through to at least 2023 and speed up the rollout of public charge-points across the country.
This comprehensive package of measures has the potential to boost jobs in the UK and will help us and others transition towards a low carbon fleet.
The Green Tech Innovation Platform
The platform aims to uncover the latest green technologies from UK-based tech scale-ups that could support BT and its public sector customers.
We're also working with our suppliers to help them reduce their carbon emissions by 42 per cent by 2030 and for the first time, progress on carbon reduction and on digital skills training will make up part of the bonus calculation for eligible BT colleagues.
Despite the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, we announced a once-in-a-generation investment in the UK's digital infrastructure: full fibre broadband to 20 million premises and continued investment in 5G mobile.
Full fibre and 5G mobile will underpin permanent changes to the way people live and work. They will also support the new technologies capable of moving us to a low-carbon economy - whether that's home-working, developing smart cities or enabling the Internet of Things.
In 2019 the Centre for Economics & Business Research found that connecting the UK to full fibre broadband by 2025 would deliver a £60bn boost to the UK. It also revealed that:
- Half a million people could be brought back into the workforce
- At least 400,000 more people could work from home
- 270,000 people could move out of cities into rural areas
- 300 million commuting trips could be saved annually
BT has pledged to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045 and we're encouraging others to follow our lead by setting their own science-based targets to become net zero by 2050.
As one of the largest consumers of electricity in the UK, 100 per cent of the electricity BT directly purchases in the UK and 92 per cent worldwide is renewably sourced.
Last year, we helped our customers save 13 million tonnes of carbon and have reduced our own carbon emissions intensity by 42 per cent since 2016/17.
BT wants to lead this reboot of Britain's economy. We want to see greater investment in infrastructure, support for UK manufacturing and a focus on green technologies - helping to create decent jobs and sustainable growth. We believe we've got a big role to play and we hope others will follow.
Andy Wales is chief digital impact & sustainability officer at BT.
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