Driving the Green Transition: BT Group launches circular networks initiative

For over 30 years, we have been at the forefront of climate and sustainability action. Back in 2008, we were one of the first companies to a set science-based carbon reduction target for our own operations.

And in FY22, we made a commitment to become a net zero emissions business by March 2031 for our own operations and by March 2041 for our supply chain and customer emissions.

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We have already made significant strides towards our goals. We now use 100% renewable electricity worldwide and we are transforming our workplaces by moving to fewer, more sustainable, and efficient buildings.
By 2030, we aim to transition the majority of our fleet, consisting of 34,000 vehicles, to electric or zero carbon emission vehicles. However, our journey is far from over.
As part of our commitment to building a circular BT Group by March 2030 and fostering a circular tech and telco ecosystem by March 2040, we are taking several steps to achieve these ambitions.
As our mobile network, EE, and our fibre infrastructure division, Openreach, build new energy-efficient, high-speed networks, we are actively exploring ways to remove, reuse, and recycle our old legacy networks.
These outdated networks, such as the PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network) and 3G, contribute significantly to energy consumption.
Professor Tim Cooper, an esteemed expert in sustainable consumption and design, points out that our current consumption of electrical goods is unsustainable. The United Nations even describes the resulting "tsunami of e-waste" as a grave concern.
E-waste contains harmful components that endanger human health and pollute our environment, especially in less affluent regions.
Nonetheless, by sustainably e-mining and recycling common metals found in e-waste, like iron, copper, tin, and aluminum, we have a tremendous environmental and economic opportunity. Recovering these elements and reintegrating them into the global supply chain through urban mining is crucial for a green transition.
To tackle BT Group's e-waste, we have established the Exchange Clearance Operation (ECO) program. It involves recovering, recycling, and reselling equipment from our telephone exchanges, allowing us to close down those inefficient networks and reduce the number of buildings we maintain.
We have partnered with N2S and TXO, European leaders in telecom equipment recycling and re-use, to make this initiative possible. TXO provides valuable expertise in promoting internal re-use and reselling equipment globally, keeping it in active use. Additionally, we are exploring innovative processes like bioleaching with N2S, which extracts and recovers precious metals from technology equipment for re-use.
This year alone, the program will extract over 200 tonnes of copper cable (equivalent to the weight of over 140 Ford Focus cars) and recycle over 2,000 tonnes of lead batteries. These efforts, combined with recycling and reselling redundant network equipment, are projected to generate £4 million in revenue.
Decommissioning equipment on such a large scale is no small feat. As digital leaders, it is crucial that we invest in high-quality, reliable connections built on environmentally sustainable technologies. Collaborating with companies like N2S and TXO enables us to reduce waste and protect valuable natural resources.
While these programs represent significant progress, they are only the beginning. We have a long way to go to achieve our sustainability goals. Nevertheless, we remain determined and committed to pushing boundaries to minimize our impact on the planet.
  • ance Star

    52 w

    Bravo for the BT group

    • Munene Mugambi

      52 w

      Here for this. Good for BT and the world

      • Sarah Chabane

        52 w

        Fantastic goals and journey by BT! What have been the main challenges so far when wanting to achieve these objectives?

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