In one of the world's most aggressive corporate carbon reduction targets, BT is to cut its carbon emissions intensity by 80% across the globe by 2020.
The company also published a new model for measuring and tracking carbon emissions – backed by the Carbon Disclosure Project. This represents an important step in measuring carbon emissions in a consistent way across the globe.
Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future and Chair of BT’s Advisory Panel, says: “This is a ground-breaking new way of setting targets. If all companies adopted such a target we would be a long way towards fixing the problem of climate change."
BT chairman Sir Michael Rake comments: “BT has a proud history of international leadership in carbon reduction and of setting and achieving challenging targets. We are delighted to raise the bar by extending these commitments to cover our entire global footprint, across more than 170 countries worldwide.”
The new model has been developed by Dr Chris Tuppen, BT’s director of sustainable development. Chris has won international acclaim for his work in this field and was named by the Guardian Newspaper as one of the “50 people most likely to save the planet” in 2008.
Dr Tuppen says: “It is imperative that we stabilise the climate. At BT we recognise that it is our responsibility to grow in a sustainable way. The CSI Target creates a relationship between BT’s CO2 emissions and its financial performance so that they become interdependent. It is a powerful tool for embedding sustainability into organisations worldwide and critical in effecting change.”
Dr Brian Armstrong, who heads up BT’s operations in South Africa and the continent, added that most large locally-driven companies have yet to find a way to harness sustainability as a commercial force.
“The link between sustainability and the bottom-line isn’t always evident to business leaders in South Africa,” says Armstrong. "But slowly but surely these topics are making it to the boardroom table as they can, and will, impact on the economic success of the modern business.”
The majority of worldwide CO2 emissions result from activities in the corporate sector, but up until now it has not been clear what targets an individual corporation needs to achieve to make its contribution to the international challenge.
The Climate Stabilisation Intensity (CSI) Target addresses this head on. It is a simple and effective tool that links a company’s financial and environmental performance to the necessary CO2 reductions. It is fully in line with the worldwide reduction imperatives outlined in the Stern Report and reports by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The model is unique in that it allows for business growth whilst still respecting stringent global CO2 reductions.
Paul Dickinson, CEO of The Carbon Disclosure Project, says: “The Carbon Disclosure Project supports all commitments from companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. BT is leading the way on emissions reductions and, in launching a strategy which allows a company to grow whilst reducing carbon emissions, BT is setting an example which we hope other corporations will follow.”
BT intends to meet the 80% reduction target through a continued combination of energy efficiency, on-site renewable generation (aiming for 25% of its UK electricity to come from dedicated wind turbines by 2016) and purchased low-carbon electricity. The CSI target will enable the company to draw up an international road map to achieving this reduction. BT has already reduced emissions in the UK by nearly 60% between 1996 and 2008.