The planet is facing severe environmental deterioration caused by resource exploitation, leading to a decline in biodiversity. Shoreline cities like Bangkok are sinking faster than expected due to the rapid rise of sea levels. Agriculture is being disrupted by flooding and drought brought by extreme weather patterns, posing challenges to food security.
“Climate change is not a linear problem, it’s an exponential problem,” Kristian Hall, Climate and Environment Director at Telenor, told dtacblog, referring to tipping points such as the melting of arctic permafrost, resulting in additional emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane. Telenor is a major shareholder of dtac and provides the company with expertise in many areas, including climate change.
Adhering to the Paris Agreement
In 2015, representatives from 196 states gathered in Paris to adopt the legally binding international treaty on climate change, the Paris Agreement. Its goal is to limit the rise of global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius – preferably to 1.5 degrees – compared to pre-industrialization levels.
To ensure that Telenor’s is keeping pace with the Paris Agreement goal, the Fornebu-headquartered telecom provider is taking science-based climate action, as prescribed by the Scientific Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
Ambitious corporate goals
Telenor operates in nine markets across Asia and the Nordics, and there are significant differences between the two regions. Different degrees of economic development call for different climate goals.
As Telenor reduces its environmental footprint, power purchase agreements (PPAs) will be adopted to anchor its operations’ progress on sustainability. PPAs are long-term contracts to buy renewable energy at agreed volumes and prices that meet the needs of generators and the consumers.
However, challenges remain. In Asia, fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are primary energy sources. In Thailand, corporate PPAs are not yet available due to the power market’s regulation.
Leveraging new technologies
Using renewable energy sources will cut global emissions of telecommunication services.
New technologies may also contribute to the reduction of energy use. To achieve this, dtac has strengthened its energy reduction programs, which include deploying cooling precision technologies at data centers and increasing the mix of renewable energy use at cell sites.
Another example is the Green Radio project in Norway, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to better forecast the demands from users of telecommunications networks. This enables them to adjust power consumption and radio equipment capacities to match the demand.
Deployment of up-and-coming technologies, such as Internet of Things, Big data, AI and blockchain, will also significantly contribute to the telecommunications industry’s positive climate effects, enabling other companies and consumers to reduce their own emissions.
“In vertical industries, IoT, 5G and blockchain technologies provide a basis for product traceability, allowing industries and consumers to better track the source of raw materials. When it comes to agriculture, automation can be used for unweeding, which can reduce pesticide use. Effective telecommunication is often an important enabler for such new technologies,” said Mr. Hall.
“Strong environmental performance is crucial for a company to operate and earn trust from consumers, employees and stakeholders in Nordic countries,” Mr. Hall added. “Increasingly, investors are using a new framework of climate risk reporting – recommended by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures – when evaluating whether to invest in a company.”
In turn, this focus on being environmentally responsible has benefited valuations of good corporate citizens, as companies that take more action on climate issues have seen higher stock growth compared with organizations that are weak on environment management. In addition to saving our environment, it is one more reason why businesses should take leadership positions on GHG emissions reduction.