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AT&T, BT and Orange Leverage Sustainable Solutions to Boost Sales

AT&T, BT and Orange lead the European telco operator market for sustainable telecommunications solutions and corporate sustainability performance, according to a new report from Verdantix.

After analyzing the entire portfolio of sustainable telecommunications solutions offered by Europe’s 17 largest telco operators across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordics, Portugal and Spain, report researchers found that customer demands for improved performance on sustainability criteria have resulted in a big increase in investment by a few telco operators.

The report, “Green Quadrant Sustainable Telecoms Europe 2010,” indicates that leading telcos are making investments in marketing the sustainability benefits of their services and are developing new sustainable solutions such as smart metering, mobile handset recycling and machine-to-machine remote monitoring for water, fuels and human health.

Verdantix says AT&T, BT and Orange are positioned to win market share in fast-growing markets like smart meter connectivity and telepresence.

AT&T, BT and Orange beat the competition because of their executive leadership of their sustainability programs and their strategies for meeting customers’ sustainability goals, while offering a broad portfolio of sustainable solutions and allocating more budget to marketing their sustainability benefits.

As an example, AT&T’s sustainability programs range from adding alternative energy vehicles to its fleet to offering energy-efficient devices. The telco provider recently added its 1000th alternative energy vehicle to its fleet and cut energy intensity by nearly 24 percent in 2009. The company also expects to save 200 tons in packaging waste by requiring its cell phone equipment suppliers to reduce packaging, and will look for the majority of new devices to comply with the energy-efficient GSMA Universal Charging Solution.

Two years ago, Orange made the decision to boost its CSR efforts, stating it wanted to focus on minimizing the impact its business had on the environment and advising customers on safe and responsible use of its products and services.

In 2008, BT pledged to cut its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020 through a continued combination of energy efficiency, on-site renewable generation and low-carbon electricity, and to link the company’s financials with its environmental performance. The telco company also launched an online tool to help small businesses reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint.

However, BT may have hit a speed bump this year when a coalition of 34 Chinese environmental groups accused BT along with 28 other global IT companies of not doing more to monitor the environmental impact of their manufacturing operations.

The report finds that Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom, Telefónica and Vodafone, in addition to AT&T, BT and Orange, have implemented significant corporate responsibility programs over many years. As a result, their internal initiatives on network energy efficiency, social inclusion, carbon reduction, electric vehicle trials and CSR reporting provide plenty of environmental performance data for bid support teams responding to customer requests for detailed information on sustainability performance.

Verdantix says interviews with an independent customer panel indicates that when they buy telecommunications services they weigh sustainability criteria such as energy efficiency and equipment recycling at between 10 percent and 20 percent of the total score for the bid response.

The report suggests that firms with broad sustainable portfolios like Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera and Verizon need to better articulate the sustainability benefits they already provide, and deliver a consistent message across all their offerings.

Verdantix also recommends that IT and telecommunications buyers test their service provider’s sustainability capabilities by asking questions about their multi-year plans for network energy efficiency improvements, the average power usage effectiveness of data centers, the deployment of energy and carbon management software, quantitative targets for CO2 reductions, the percentage of electric vehicles in the corporate fleet and ethical supply chain audit coverage.

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