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O2 set to become UK’s first net zero mobile network

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UK MNO O2 plans to reduce carbon emissions across its business by 2025, giving UK consumers and businesses a mobile network where calls, texts and data are powered by cleaner, greener energy.

This builds on the journey started in 2008, when O2 signed renewable energy deals across sites where it pays the bill.

The UK network will also implement more ambitious carbon reduction targets within its supply chain. O2 will work with its suppliers, including handset manufacturers, to target emission reduction across its supply chain by 30% in the next five years.

O2 will also focus its efforts on the wider power of mobile, working beyond its own business to help other sectors in their search for more sustainable solutions. This includes its work with the UK Smart Metering programme and working with partners to replicate O2’s own success of saving 20,000 tonnes of carbon over the past eight years through flexible working technology.

Together, these commitments represent the fastest and furthest reaching carbon reduction program announced by a UK mobile network operator.

Mark Evans, O2 CEO, explains: “Today, we’re putting a stake in the ground. We want to go further and faster, setting the bar in our industry to tackle climate change and build the greenest network for our customers. Every office, every store, every mast. We will get the changes done to be a Net Zero Business by 2025.”

Evans adds: “Mobile can play a pivotal role to make our country more sustainable. From smart metering to smarter working. O2 will work with suppliers, partners and customers to ensure that this industry plays its part in delivering a greener country for us all.”

The Route to Zero

O2 has put clear plans in place to achieve its new environmental commitments:

To become Net Zero by 2025, O2 plans to switch third party landlords that support the O2 network over to renewable energy, while creating technical and energy transition solutions across its whole business where needed. O2 already uses 100% renewable energy where it controls the energy bill.

To reduce supply chain emissions by 30% by 2025, O2 will be working with the wider Telefonica Group to implement more ambitious carbon reduction targets to encourage suppliers to accelerate their efforts to reduce emissions.

Progress against both commitments will be reported annually and will be independently assessed and audited by Aenor and ERM. Hugh Jones, Managing Director, Business Services, The Carbon Trust, says: “We are pleased to have worked with O2 for over a decade and most recently providing advice on the reduction of their supply chain emissions by 30% by 2025. This is a crucial step in helping the company achieve its ambitions”

O2’s Environmental Track Record

The announcement builds on a decade of moves from O2 to help tackle climate change, including:

• Smart Network: Using advanced automation, O2’s networks operate on a ‘smart turn-off’ function – saving energy by dropping capacity when demand is low, saving over 6,000 megawatt hours of energy, the same amount of energy required to make 360 million cups of tea

• Renewable energy: O2’ started its renewable energy procurement in 2008. Since this time, it has invested £400 million in renewable energy sources.

• Recycling: Since 2009, O2 has helped customers recycle over three million devices and saved 450 tonnes of waste from landfill. This is the longest-running major UK network recycling initiative. O2 also recycles old retail uniforms turning them into ‘processed fibre’ used to make new products

• Customer-facing initiatives: O2 was the first to introduce an Eco rating scheme2 for new phones, and to work with manufacturers to take chargers out of the box on new device sales.

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