Axiata Group joined a growing number of Asian operators committed to reducing their carbon emissions, with the Malaysia-headquartered company setting the target of reaching net-zero by 2050.

In a statement, Axiata explained it joined the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees C campaign, making it the first telecoms company in Malaysia to sign up for the initiative.

Axiata president and group CEO Izzaddin Idris explained it is “cognisant of the need to mitigate the environmental impact from current and potentially higher energy consumption whilst also implementing innovative solutions to address our energy needs”.

The SBTi commitment strengthens an Axiata Net-Zero Carbon Roadmap, which Idris said is expected to start in Q1 2022 with the goal of lowering the group’s carbon footprint by decreasing emissions from its network and connectivity operations, which it explained are the largest contributors to its environmental impact.

Idris highlighted the importance of aligning Axiata’s aim to become a next-generation digital champion with targets of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action and the GSMA’s target for the mobile industry of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Unless we proactively take steps to improve our energy efficiency, use more renewable energy and reduce the carbon intensity of our operations while contributing to regional digital telco green innovation, our network growth to support higher data consumption would only put more strain on the environment.”

In September, NTT Docomo targeted reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its business activities to zero by 2030 and Bharti Airtel committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions across its operations by 50 per cent over the next ten years.