The mobile sector was credited by the United Nations (UN) for achieving a critical breakthrough towards its mission of combatting climate change, as operators representing more than a third of the industry by revenue pledged to deliver net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Industry association GSMA stated the latest figures advanced the mobile industry’s already leading position in achieving the goals of the UN Race To Zero campaign, which aims to secure emissions commitments from various sectors.

GSMA director general Mats Granryd noted the proportion of the mobile industry committed to the UN goals stood at 20 per cent in January, stating this was a key tipping point towards accelerating the sectors’ commitment.

“As an industry, we are serious about our ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. There is no time to waste,” he explained, adding there was even broader backing for near-term goals, “with 65 per cent of the industry committed to reaching, over this decade, science-based targets that rapidly cut emissions”.

The UN programme aims to secure net zero emissions commitments from no less than 20 per cent of key players across at least ten industries by the organisation’s 2021 Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

Nigel Topping, UN high level climate champion for COP26, hailed the GSMA’s “unique role in orchestrating this huge industry effort in support of the Race To Zero campaign”.

In a report, the GSMA stated 36 per cent of mobile operators by revenue (31 per cent by mobile connections) had commited to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, placing the industry “at the highest levels of private sector ambition”.

The research, conducted with the Carbon Trust, found the industry was responsible for around 0.4 per cent of carbon emissions globally, but also contributed to reduction targets in other sectors.

Operators including Telefonica, Vodafone Group and T-Mobile US were also credited for commitments around employing renewable energy.