O2, a UK-based company, is the first mobile network to be certified under the Carbon Trust standard. O2’s mobile network covers 90% of the UK’s population. The Carbon Trust Standard requires an organization to quantify its carbon footprint – the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by its operations – and demonstrate plans for reductions on an annual basis. The Carbon Trust standard was officially launched last June. It provides one uniform standard for evaluating a company’s progress.
By October, UK companies had done little to document their carbon footprint. The Carbon Trust program also provides public recognition of companies that meet the standard.
The Carbon Trust Standard is important for O2 because it provides “robust recognition of the work we’re doing to reduce carbon emissions,” said Nick Wilkins, an 02 spokesman. Sustainability, he said, is a key business objective of the company, and meeting the Carbon Trust standard also will help the company achieve upcoming UK requirements, to take effect in 2011, mandating that UK businesses reduce their carbon emissions.
O2 has reduced its energy consumption by 15% over the past three years, yielding a savings of 47,000 tons of CO2. It has done so by investing 1.4-million pounds (or $2.04-million) in smart metering technology to track real-time energy consumption throughout its operations. It also has installed more energy efficient technology, removed air conditioning at certain cell sites, replacing them with free-cooling fan boxes, installed waterless urinals in offices and instituted an employee-initiated recycling program.
Ronan Dunne, Telefonica O2 UK’s CEO, said the company was able to achieve this benchmark without spending a significant amount of money. “You don’t always need to spend large amounts of money to see energy and carbon improvements,” he said. For example, he said that simple tasks, like changing heating and cooling patterns and a plan to make sure energy wasn’t wasted by leaving lights on, provided financial benefits while reducing energy use.
02 plans to announce additional energy-savings measures in the near future.