Roadmap to creating and executing winning Scope 3 strategies

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Scope 3 represents the bulk of telcos’ greenhouse gas emissions which arise from operators’ upstream and downstream activities and are the hardest to address. In this report, we present three steps that telcos can take to successfully measure and curtail their value chain emissions.


Format: PDF filePages: 33 pagesAuthor: Ani KeshishyanPublication Date: April 2024

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
    • As telcos curtail their direct greenhouse gas pollution, they must address the more complex Scope 3 emissions
  • Telcos must become proactive participants in Scope 3 emissions reduction
    • The free-rider problem will slow progress
    • By passively waiting, telcos risk leaving money on the table
    • How can telcos proactively address Scope 3 emissions?
  • Step 1: Choose a reporting framework(s) and set targets
    • Commit to the framework(s)
    • Aim for early adoption
  • Step 2: Develop a system for measurements and progress tracking
    • Start small and prioritise accuracy over breadth
    • Choose a calculation method that makes sense for each emissions source
  • Step 3: Embed Scope 3 into all levels of decision-making and operations
    • Actively engage partners and suppliers
    • Rethink established procurement paradigms
    • Adopt sustainable design and circular economy principles
    • Align KPIs and incentive mechanisms with net-zero goals
  • Conclusion
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Three-step roadmap to tackling Scope 3 emissions
  • Figure 2: Example enhanced TCO model as a better proxy for measuring sustainability
  • Figure 3: Scope 3 accounts for the majority of telcos’ emissions and arises from their value chain activities
  • Figure 4: Percentage of companies analyzed that report on given Scope 3 emissions category
  • Figure 5: Vodafone is using Thales’ EcoSIMs to provide a more sustainable alternative to customers
  • Figure 6: Three-step roadmap to tackling Scope 3 emissions
  • Figure 7: Telcos should adopt multiple reporting frameworks to increase the accuracy and credibility of Scope 3 calculation
  • Figure 8: Many telcos use the industry average method to calculate Scope 3 emissions
  • Figure 9: Telcos have various avenues for embedding sustainability into the fabric of their organizations
  • Figure 10: The procurement function has an instrumental role in reducing telcos’ Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
  • Figure 11: The enhanced TCO model acts as a better proxy for measuring sustainability
  • Figure 12: Potential sustainability KPIs for procurement units
  • Figure 13: Framework for incorporating circular economy principles into telcos’ decision-making around expanding or replacing network equipment
  • Figure 14: Operators can play a role in making it easier to source, reuse and repurpose existing network equipment
  • Figure 15: Maturity of companies in adopting sustainability incentives
  • Figure 16: Potential KPIs for telco sustainability and network and IT teams


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: AT&T, Deutche Telekom, EcoSIM, ESG, GHG, GHP Standard, GSMA, IFRS, ISSB, JBS, KPIs, LTIs, next practice, RFPs, scope 3, TCFD, TCO, Turkcell