How to embed sustainability across a telco

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Industry-leading telcos have captured much of the lower hanging fruit in their progress to net-zero and must now find the incremental gains. This requires integrating sustainability as a priority across all parts of the organisation. What actions and associated KPIs must individual business units within a telco take on to prioritise sustainability day-to-day?


Format: PDF filePages: 55 pagesAuthor: Olly MurphyPublication Date: March 2023

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Why telcos must embrace sustainability
  • Sustainability team: Direction and agenda
    • Developing sustainability targets and agenda
    • Working towards sustainability targets
    • Facilitating and coordinating change
  • C-suite: Vision and structure
    • Vision building
    • Structure
    • Incentives are crucial to delivery on commitments
  • Sustainable network operations and IT
  • Sustainable procurement
    • Circular economy
    • Identifying sustainable suppliers and educating SMEs
    • Fair working practices
  • Sustainability in enterprise and consumer units
    • Delivering services in more sustainable ways
    • Sustainability-enabling products for enterprise
    • Helping consumers become more sustainable
  • Sustainability is now integral to telco finance and investment
    • Future proofing telcos
    • Green finance
    • Appealing to ESG investors
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Comparing carbon emissions of major telcos
  • Figure 2: Telecoms operator revenue by net-zero target year (scope 1 to 3)
  • Figure 3: Potential KPIs for sustainability business units
  • Figure 4: Comparing sustainability-focused vision statements
  • Figure 5: Incentive structures in place at 10 telcos
  • Figure 6: Potential sustainability KPIs the C-suite could link to incentives
  • Figure 7: Elisa Automate – Intelligent Energy Saver
  • Figure 8: Levels of granularity for emissions reporting on IT equipment
  • Figure 9: Comparing energy reuse effectiveness with power usage effectiveness
  • Figure 10: Potential KPIs for network and IT units
  • Figure 11: Breaking down operators’ scope 3 emissions from 2021
  • Figure 12: Linear and circular economies
  • Figure 13: Estimated end-to-end treatment of ICT equipment by region
  • Figure 14: Potential sustainability KPIs for procurement units
  • Figure 15: Lowering emissions across a product’s life cycle
  • Figure 16: AT&T enablement methodology
  • Figure 17: Proportion of each generation willing to pay more for sustainable products
  • Figure 18: Potential KPIs for enterprise and consumer units
  • Figure 19: Telefónica’s green and sustainability-linked bonds
  • Figure 20: Potential sustainability KPIs for telco finance departments


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: BT, circular economy, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, emissions, energy, enterprise, finance, KPN, net-zero, Orange, renewable energy, scope 1 emissions, scope 2 emissions, scope 3 emissions, supply chain, sustainability, sustainability KPIs, Telefonica, Vodafone