Almost a quarter of electricity purchased by the global mobile industry is now renewable, a new GSMA study found, as operators continue to push on in pursuit of net zero targets.

The industry association’s annual Mobile Net Zero report uncovered a “meaningful uplift” from the 18 per cent of electricity acquired from renewable sources in 2021, which was itself an improvement on the 14 per cent figure recorded in 2020.

Other beneficial policies undertaken by operators in recent months and years include improvements in energy efficiency through adoption of 5G technology and retiring power-hungry legacy networks. The study also noted investment being made in fleets of electric vehicles.

Alongside action being taken by operators, the report highlighted contributions made by big name vendors in making their supply chains more sustainable.

“Such actions from the ecosystem are essential, as the majority of mobile operators’ emissions come from their supply chain,” the GSMA said.

An increasing number of operators have committed to science-based targets intended to cut their direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2030, which require the transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity. Many have also signed-up to net zero targets by 2050 or earlier.

Commenting on the report, GSMA CRO John Giusti said: “The environmental and financial benefits of climate action are clear to the mobile industry. Mobile operators are staking a leadership position on climate, and with nearly 25 per cent of all electricity used by our sector now coming from renewable sources, moving beyond target setting to demonstrable action.”