BT Group Director in Wales
In a year's time, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) will take place in Glasgow, where world leaders will meet to set out more ambitious goals on how to tackle climate change.
As a large business, we believe we have a role to play in addressing this unprecedented challenge. That's why, as a company with a significant presence in Wales, BT was pleased to be one of the first companies to sign up to the Welsh Government's climate change pledge, setting out what we’re doing to address the issue.
As part of Wales Climate Week 2020 (2-6 Nov), businesses and public organisations are being urged to pledge how they will help tackle climate change.
BT is proud to have led on climate action for more than 25 years and was one of the first companies in the world to adopt science-based carbon reduction targets.
But, we know that these various targets will not be met unless urgent action is taken to change current business practices and the way we all live.
So what is BT pledging on climate action?
We’ve already set an ambitious target to become a net-zero emissions business by 2045.
BT uses almost one per cent of the UK’s electricity, but has long been a pioneer in renewable electricity. In Wales, we buy all the electricity generated by the nine-turbine Mynydd Bwllfa wind farm near Hirwaun in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and we’re on track to reach 100% renewable electricity worldwide by the end of the month. This means that our network, offices and shops worldwide will be powered with 100% renewable electricity.
As a business, we’ve also put a lot of effort into reducing our carbon emissions, because that’s one of the biggest differences we can make to the environment.
An obvious change we’re making is to the vehicles we use as a business. With around 32,000 vehicles – more than 2,000 of them based in Wales – BT Group has the second largest commercial fleet in the UK.
We’re already trialling a range of electric vehicles, including a converted electric van from London cab maker LEVC, being trialled by BT in Wrexham.
While government and industry have worked hard to promote electric vehicles, there’s more to do. In June 2020, BT Group joined forces with The Climate Group to launch the UK Electric Fleets Coalition. The coalition has called for a target of 100% electric car and van sales by 2030; extending grants for electric vehicles and charging points through to at least 2023; and speeding up the rollout of public charge-points across the country.
We want to work with Welsh Government and local authorities to see what we can do to support the development of a charging point network in Wales, which is why we made transport the focus of our climate change pledge to Welsh Government.
Another difference we can make is to the materials and packaging we use in our products. We’re working with a number of partners on this and have pledged already to make sure that, by 2025, 100% of the packaging we procure and send to customers can be reused, recycled or composted.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the impact the way we live and work has on the environment. Full fibre broadband and 4G 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 places or enabling smart, connected technology.
We’re already looking at 5G smart traffic solutions and air quality monitoring – including working with Welsh-based company Vortex IoT to install sensors in Swansea – all of which could help move people and goods in a more sustainable way.
BT Group is investing billions on our broadband and mobile networks which will have a direct impact on our carbon footprint.
While we know there’s more we can do as a company, BT is up for the challenge and we hope others will join us in setting their own targets, so we can work on climate action collectively.