Efforts by the GSMA, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to tackle climate change made significant progress, as the ICT industry committed to a science-based pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The GSMA announced in a statement the group had released its first-ever Science-Based Target (SBT) which outlines a sector-specific decarbonisation pathway to allow ICT companies to set targets in line with the latest environmental body of knowledge.

Included in the SBT are goals for mobile, fixed and data centre operators to reduce emissions, as part of moves to deliver on the goals of a United Nations pact to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celcius by 2050.

Mobile drive
The GSMA said 29 operator groups, representing 30 per cent of global mobile connections, were already committed to SBTs.

Director general Mats Granryd said: “Today’s landmark agreement underlines how the ICT sector is taking urgent and unprecedented action in response to the climate emergency,” adding the mobile industry was among the first major sectors in the world to voluntarily set an SBT for reducing emissions.

“Our sector will form the backbone to the future global economy and has a unique role to play in reaching a Net Zero economy. A decarbonised world will be a digital world, so we must show leadership and take responsibility for driving positive climate action”, Granryd added.

Mobile network operators adopting the SBT are required to cut emissions by at least 45 per cent by 2030.

Switching to renewable and low-carbon electricity is expected to account for the bulk of reductions over this period, alongside efforts by operators to become more energy efficient.

The GSMA also announced the launch of a Climate Toolkit for operators, which provides guidelines for setting science-based targets.

As part of GSMA’s climate action roadmap for the mobile industry, operators have already disclosed their climate impacts, energy, and emissions via the internationally recognised CDP global disclosure system.