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O2 Measures Lifecycle of Mobile Voice, Data Emissions

O2 has measured the greenhouse gas emissions embedded throughout the entire lifecycle of its voice and data services. The UK-based telecom giant, which has more than 22 million customers, says its the first network operator to have its carbon footprint independently verified by the Carbon Trust.

The majority of O2’s carbon footprint is linked to the energy consumption of its mobile services, the company said. The analysis found a one-minute phone call made on the O2 network emits 3.6 grams of CO2e. This means a five-minute call is the carbon equivalent to boiling water to make one cup of tea, O2 said. Transferring one megabyte of data, meanwhile, emits 11 grams of CO2e.

The conclusions are based on research conducted on behalf of the Carbon Trust Standard by Vanson Bourne.

O2 pursued the carbon lifecycle certification after commissioning research that found a lack of public awareness of the environmental impact of mobile networks. It now plans to develop a tool that will allow customers to calculate the CO2 emissions associated with the services they use, provide comparison to various activities and put their every carbon impact into context.

O2 has worked with the Carbon Trust since 2009, when it was certified under the Carbon Trust Standard. The standard, which was launched in June 2008, requires participating organizations to quantify their carbon footprints and detail plans for emissions reductions on an annual basis. O2 said at the time that it had signed onto the Carbon Trust Standard to help it achieve the UK’s emissions reduction requirements.

Earlier this year, O2 launched Think Big Blueprint, a three-year sustainability plan that includes a commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy and to no longer offer chargers free with mobile phone purchases. The Think Big Blueprint aims to deliver up to 4 million tons of carbon savings through three core objectives and 40 individual commitments.

Picture credit: O2

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