Building a sustainable future for all

Technology must accelerate our journey to net zero emissions and a circular world.

BT Group has been a leader on climate action for 30 years. We set our first carbon reduction target in 1992 and we went on to become one of the first companies to set a science-based target in 2008. Our networks and buildings are all powered by renewable electricity, and we’re aiming to transition our fleet to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

Our infrastructure is powering the UK’s road to net zero. We’re investing in full fibre broadband and 5G networks that will pave the way for lower-carbon ways of life and work. Our networks and solutions can help all our customers cut carbon too. Tech has enormous potential to make cities and factories smarter and manage homes more efficiently.

Net zero

We’ve pledged to become a net zero business by the end of March 2031 and we’re targeting net zero for our supply chain and customer emissions by the end of March 20411

60 million tonnes

We’ve set a new target to help customers avoid 60 million tonnes of CO2e by the end of March 20302

Circular economy

We’ve set a bold new ambition to go circular in our own business and beyond. We aim to contribute to a circular economy by reducing waste and enhancing opportunities to repair, refurbish and recycle3

0 %

cut in carbon emissions intensity since 2016/17 (towards our 87% target by the end of March 2031)*

0 %

renewable electricity worldwide**

0 %

cut in supply chain emissions since 2016/17 (towards our 42% target by the end of March 2031)

1 Net zero target for operational emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by end of March 2031 and end to end emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by end of March 2041.
2 We aim to help customers avoid 60 million tonnes of CO2e by end of March 2030.
3 We are building towards being a fully circular business by end of March 2030, and a circular tech ecosystem by end of March 2040.

* Scope 1 and 2 worldwide emissions tonnes CO2e per £m value added. To be achieved by end of March 2031.
** 99.9% of the global electricity BT Group consumes is from renewable sources. The remaining 0.1% is where renewable electricity is not available in the market.

Accelerating progress towards net zero

We’ve brought forward our commitment to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 15 years. Today, our networks and buildings are all powered by renewable electricity, but there’s more work to do.

1Net zero target for operational emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by end of March 2031 and end to end emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by end of March 2041.

On our way to net zero

55% cut in carbon intensity from 2016/17 (towards our 87% target by end of March 2031)2

100% renewable electricity worldwide3

We’ve cut our global energy consumption by a further 9GWh this year

We’ll achieve our ambitious net zero targets1 by:

  • Continuing to use 100% renewable electricity3
  • Decarbonising our networks, buildings and fleet
  • Working with and encouraging suppliers to go net zero
  • Working together with suppliers and key stakeholders to make our networks and operations as efficient as possible
  • Offering tech solutions that enable customers to cut their carbon footprints
  • Ensuring that decarbonisation is our priority and that only residual emissions are covered by high quality offsets.
    • We consume around 1.8Twh of electricity in the UK annually. We’ve already switched to 100% renewable electricity worldwide.3 That’s helped us cut our operational (scopes 1 and 2) carbon emissions by 55% since 2016/17.2
    • We’re downsizing our buildings estate and consolidating many of our offices into new ones designed with energy-saving features. We’re also looking into low-carbon heating solutions for our existing buildings.
    • We’re also working with tech suppliers to make our networks as efficient as possible to cut energy use as we enhance connectivity across the country. 
    • We’ve added 700 more electric vehicles to our commercial fleet (now over 1,000 in total) and are aiming to convert the majority of our fleet to electric or zero emissions vehicles by 2030.
    • We’ve continued to increase the number of charging points at our own sites.
    • We’ve worked with electricity providers to install off-street chargers at over 600 engineers’ homes.
    • To date, our electric fleet has travelled around 3.5 million miles, avoiding approximately 1,500 tonnes of CO2e.
    • We’re partnering with other leading companies through EV100 and the UK Electric Fleets Coalition and the recently formed Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator to advocate for progressive public policy that will catalyse the race to go electric.

1 Net zero target for operational emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by end of March 2031 and end to end emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by end of March 2041.
2 Scope 1 and 2 worldwide emissions tonnes CO2e per £m value added. To be achieved by end of March 2031.
3 99.9% of the global electricity BT Group consumes is from renewable sources. The remaining 0.1% is where renewable electricity is not available in the market.

Working with suppliers and other stakeholders to get to net zero

Reducing Scope 3 emissions is an important part of our net zero strategy1. That’s why we’re working with suppliers and other key players to collaborate on creating a net zero future.

Scope 3 (supplier and customer emissions) makes up the majority of our carbon emissions: diagram
Scope 3 (supplier and customer emissions) makes up the majority of our carbon emissions: diagram

Supply chain emissions

We’ve cut our supply chain emissions by 28% since 2016/17, making good progress towards meeting our 42% reduction target by the end of March 2031.

To achieve this, we’re:

  • encouraging suppliers to go net zero and tracking their carbon savings
  • requiring all new supplier contracts above £25m to have a net zero target science-based target in place or commit to one within six months
  • working together to make our networks as efficient as possible
  • working with tech suppliers to help us cut energy use across our buildings and networks infrastructure
  • supporting small businesses to set net zero targets.

Advocating for net zero

We partner with other stakeholders to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future in our value chain and beyond.

In the last year we’ve:

  • joined the COP26 Climate Summit to discuss the role of tech and innovation in reaching net zero, our approach to fleet decarbonisation and the importance of working with suppliers
  • signed the Transport Declaration
  • launched the 1.5oC Supplier Engagement Guide
  • sponsored the UK’s Heroes of Net Zero competition for micro and small businesses
  • demonstrated the next generation Street Hub developed through BT’s Green Tech Innovation Platform.

Net zero target for operational emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by end of March 2031 and end to end emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by end of March 2041.

Helping customers cut carbon

Our networks and tech have a big part to play in tackling climate change and we’ve committed to help customers avoid 60 million tonnes of CO2e by the end of March 20301  

Research by BT Group and Accenture this year found that the tech sector could enable a 17% reduction in global emissions from four other areas of the economy:

  • electricity and heating
  • agriculture
  • manufacturing
  • transport and buildings.

By end of March 2030, this could avoid around 8.5 gigatonnes of CO2e worldwide.

The tech sector is expected to deliver these reductions while cutting its own operational emissions by 40% globally – and by up to 68% in the UK – despite an anticipated eight-fold increase in global data traffic. 

Helping customers avoid 60 million tonnes of CO2e

We’re well placed to help customers cut emissions through:

  • full fibre broadband
  • high performance 5G solutions
  • growth technologies like cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We’re working with the Carbon Trust to develop use cases to refine our definition of carbon reducing solutions and measure customer carbon savings so we can report progress towards our new target next year.

Small changes make a big difference

As global leaders gathered for the COP26 Climate Summit in 2021, we wanted to show people that you don’t have to be a world leader to make a difference.

 

The BT Big Sofa Summit challenged families, friends and small businesses across the UK to hold their own climate summits – from the comfort of their sofa. The campaign offered free online resources designed to spark conversations about small changes people can make using smart tech to be greener.

Creating carbon-cutting solutions

Through our Green Tech Innovation Platform, we’re working with tech scale-up partners to develop breakthrough tech to support the race to net zero.

 

We’ve worked with iOpt on its IoT solution to monitor social housing conditions. Alongside EverImpact, we’ve trialled sensors and installed them on our next generation Street Hub units. The units enable local councils to gather real time data on CO2e and air pollution.

Supporting small businesses on their net zero journey

Big businesses like BT have an important role to play in meeting the UN’s global goal of net zero by 2050. But so do small businesses – and we’re helping them understand how to do their bit.

 

At COP26, we launched the 1.5oC Supplier Engagement Guide with other members of the 1.5oC Supply Chain Leaders’ initiative. 

1 We aim to help customers avoid 60 million tonnes of CO2e by end of March 2030.

Building towards a circular BT and beyond

We’re challenging ourselves to become a circular business by 2030 and build towards a circular tech ecosystem by 20401

We aim to embed circularity across our products, network, and operations, to keep materials in use and eliminate waste across our value chain. We will also work with our ecosystem of partners, peers and customers to drive a circular economy for the sector.

This is a big commitment and we’re in the early stages of our circular journey. 

Recycling products and packaging

We encourage consumers to return products after use. This year, our customers returned 1.35m home hubs and set top boxes – 46% of these were refurbished for reuse. This equates to 573 tonnes of Waste Electronic Equipment being re used in our BT circular economy. The remaining 54% will either be refurbished next year or sent to recycling partners. 

As an important part of our new circular commitment, we find ways to reduce use of virgin plastics in our products and packaging. Around 170,000 mobile devices were traded in through EE’s Trade In scheme this year. We’re also helping EE customers make their devices last longer. Fix My Device is a remote diagnostic tool designed to identify and resolve device or software issues, and selected EE stores offering a same-day or next-day repair service.

This year, EE started selling Fairphone, the world’s first smartphone certified by Ecolabel Blue Angel. It’s made with recycled plastic and designed to be easily repairable and recyclable.

Overall, we recovered or recycled 97% of the waste produced from our operations worldwide this year – and 99.4% in the UK – as we work towards our goal of zero waste to landfill. 

As our business evolves, we want our new infrastructure to be sustainable and circular. We recycled 98% of waste generated from the fit out of our new HQ building in London. Openreach is exploring ways to build circularity in from the start as we roll out our new fibre network.

Otto Sutton, BT Young Pioneer Award winner 2021

Inspiring upcycling innovation

At this year’s Tech4Good awards, the BT Young Pioneer Award invited young innovators to come up with solutions to cut carbon and waste from our day-to-day lives. The winning entry from Otto Sutton, the 11-year-old inventor of the FrankEinstein upcycling app, came from the idea to help people upcycle things they don’t need, and we’re helping to develop a prototype.

1We are building towards being a fully circular business by end of March 2030, and a circular tech ecosystem by end of March 2040.