BT Group revised a target to reduce carbon emissions, bringing forward its net zero goal for its own operations from 2045 to 2030 as part of a major response to a new UN climate report which warned urgent action is needed to address global heating.

The operator announced in a statement it was bringing its net zero target forward, while setting a target of 2040 for its wider supply chain and customer emissions.

It targets cutting the emissions intensity of its business by 87 per cent by the end of March 2031 and set targets in line with “the most ambitious aim” of the COP21 Paris agreement, linking its goals to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

BT’s revised targets come as a landmark UN climate report published last month warned global heating is now irreversible, with the body urging immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Not enough
The new targets build on BT’s announcement in 2020, when it stated it had completed the switch to 100 per cent renewable energy worldwide and pledged to transition the majority of 33,000 commercial fleets to electric or zero carbon-emissions vehicles by 2030.

To meet its revised targets, the company said it will work closely with customers and suppliers, and press ahead with plans to retire legacy networks such as 3G mobile networks by 2023 and public switched telephone networks by the end of 2025.

BT also plans innovation in products and services, the rollout of full fibre broadband to 25 million homes and businesses by December 2026 and the offer of high performance 5G nationwide by 2028, to “help underpin many of the innovative solutions needed to achieve a net zero carbon economy”.

Andy Wales, chief digital impact and sustainability officer at BT, warned just getting its own house in order “isn’t enough”.

“We must broaden the conversation around climate change by getting households up and down the country talking about it and helping them understand what they can do to help,” he added.