Liberty Global and EY have today released a report which reveals how the telecommunications sector has a key enabling role to play in the transition to a more sustainable future. The ‘Connecting a Sustainable Future’ report explores how gigabit connectivity has become an essential component in reducing emissions and delivering on sustainability goals. Key highlights of the report include:
- Smarter use of the power grid could slash greenhouse gas emissions
- Use of connected devices in smart buildings could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in old buildings, and 10% in new builds
- Precision farming could cut the use of pesticides by 80% and herbicides by 90%
The report looked at the role advanced technologies can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, making use of a raft of new applications which can gather, process and act on ever-changing real-time data, with the aim of helping keep global temperature rises below the 1.5°C target set out in the Paris Agreement.
Today, energy consumption makes up 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions – and gigabit connectivity has become key to enabling decarbonisation initiatives across carbon-intensive industries including transportation, construction, energy and agriculture.
The research also found:
- With the EU proposing a new emissions system for buildings, the use of connected devices in property management systems could reduce the energy consumption of buildings by up to 30%
- 5G-connected drones deployed in precision farming can target plants requiring treatment – reducing pesticide use by more than 80%
- Through the use of smart grids, underpinned by gigabit connectivity, energy providers could collect and analyze supply and demand data, and could avoid 30 million tons of CO2 by 2040
The telecommunications sector has set itself ambitious carbon reduction goals, such as science-based targets and net-zero. Liberty Global announced its net-zero targets for Scope 1 and 2 last year, and we are in the process of announcing the ones for Scope 3 later this year. The sector is constantly developing more energy-efficient ways of working to reduce energy consumption in its infrastructure through initiatives such as free air cooling and Phase Changing Material.
What is clear is that the Gigabit technology the telecommunications sector provides has a central enabling role in supporting other industries and furthering the green digital transformation. This report aims to contribute to a better understanding of how the technology contributes, and under what conditions. Additional research will be required to foster innovations and ensure that the energy-saving benefits created by new smart solutions running on high-speed connections will outperform any negative impacts.