Telefonica CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete (pictured) told the World Economic Forum in Davos environmental and digital transitions are firmly linked as he highlighted the role telecoms can play in enabling other industry sectors to improve energy efficiency.

Alvarez-Pallete cited projections digital technologies and services have the capacity to reduce global emissions by between 15 per cent and 35 per cent by 2030.

The Telefonica chief argued “green and digital transitions go hand-in-hand” and called for telecoms infrastructure to be recognised as “sustainable investments”, claiming “smart infrastructure” is a “game changer for a net-zero economy”.

Alvarez-Pallete did not waste the opportunity to point to Telefonica’s own ambition to achieve net zero emissions across its entire footprint by 2040, again hailing its position as one of the industry’s leaders in this area.

The Spain-based group recently completed its latest sustainable bond issue of €1 billion, with the cash earmarked for green network initiatives and social projects.

“At Telefonica we are walking the walk”, the CEO said. The group was able to reduce its own emissions by 70 per cent in 2021, he noted.

Measures implemented include replacing legacy fixed copper and mobile networks with more energy efficient technologies such as fibre and 5G.