Keynote speakers from across the mobile industry argued it must not lose focus on climate change initiatives despite global disruptions such as the war in Ukraine.
In the closing session on Tuesday, GSMA director general Mats Granryd (pictured, left) emphasised the role smart connectivity can play in the mobile industry’s response to climate change, citing automation of road transport, and the ability to support new business models and technologies.
Granryd cited joint research conducted by GSMA Intelligence and the Carbon Trust in 2021, which found smart connectivity could enable up to 20 per cent of the carbon reductions needed by 2030 in the areas of energy, buildings, transport and manufacturing.
The research also found reducing CO2 levels in the top-four energy-consuming industries of utilities, buildings, transport and automotive could cut 11 gigatonnes, equivalent to shutting 2,700 coal-fired power plants.
“It’s a huge amount of CO2, but it’s actually 40 per cent of the CO2 required to hit net zero by 2030,” Granryd said.
“So certainly, it is a huge amount of opportunity if we just use mobile connectivity, the technology we have today, in a good way.”
Granryd also stated there needs to be a better understanding of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria, a set of standards for a company’s operations which socially-conscious backers can use to screen potential investments.
“One of the issues we are facing with investors and analysts is that many companies measure things slightly different, and therefore it’s not so easy for investors to understand,” he explained.
The GSMA is “trying to work with” other institutions to define ESG goals and measurements, with a summit scheduled to take place later this year in Greece as part of the work.
Paul Polman, co-author of a book titled Net Positive (pictured, right) argued there can be operational benefits for companies which embrace diversity and climate change targets.
A former CEO of consumer goods company Unilever, Polman highlighted there are some barriers, including a lack of progress in updating accounting systems for companies implementing ESG standards, along with pressure from the financial sector on CEOs using them.
“I understand that there are other factors that you have to deal with, but don’t make it an ESG debate,” Polman said.
Polman highlighted a push to increase investment in fossil fuels sparked by the Ukraine crisis would be a big step back in terms of climate change. “It’s like saying we should smoke more cigarettes to have population control.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back