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

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

The transition to a net zero economy needs to happen much faster. 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 2041.

60 million tonnes

We’ve set a target to help customers avoid 60 million tonnes of CO2e by the end of March 2030.

Circular economy

We’ve set a bold 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 recycle1. We’re also taking steps to protect nature and biodiversity. 

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

Accelerating progress towards net zero

Watch this film to discover how BT Group is leading the way on climate action.

On our way to net zero

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cut in carbon emissions intensity since FY17 (towards our 87% target by the end of March 2031)2

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renewable electricity worldwide3

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cut in supply chain emissions since FY17 (towards our 42% target by the end of March 2031)

We’ll achieve our ambitious net zero targets by:

Continuing to purchase 100% renewable electricity3

Decarbonising our networks, buildings and fleet

Cutting carbon emissions across our value chain

Helping suppliers and customers cut carbon emissions

Becoming a circular business

Decarbonising our buildings and networks

  • All of our electricity worldwide is renewably sourced3, powering our buildings estate, shops and networks.
  • We’re decarbonising our estate through our workplace transformation programme and consolidating hundreds of buildings to around 30. Our new and refurbished buildings are designed with environmental impact firmly in mind.

Our new Bristol Assembly building has now opened. We expect it to save more than 140 tonnes of CO2e a year to start with – rising to over 500 tonnes as we reduce our buildings estate in the area. 

We’re building more energy-efficient networks that are renewably powered, whilst switching off our old networks. As well as saving energy, full fibre networks can better handle the effects of physical risks like flooding and higher temperatures. That means fewer faults or engineering visits.

Transitioning our fleet

  • We’re aiming to convert the majority of our commercial fleet to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2030.
  • We’ve added more than 1,000 electric vehicles this year (now over 2,400 in total).
  • To date, our electric fleet has travelled more than 7.9 million miles, saving over 2,200 tonnes of CO2e.
  • We’re still pushing for policy measures to support a wider UK EV transition as a member of the UK Electric Fleets Coalition, who this year published a seven-point policy plan to encourage Government momentum on electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle charging
Electric vehicle charging

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.

Cutting carbon emissions across
our value chain by helping suppliers cut carbon

We’ve cut our supply chain emissions by 20% since FY17, which is an increase on last year due to additional spend on carbon intensive goods and services associated with our full fibre broadband roll out. 

We continue to work with suppliers to cut carbon:

  • We’ve hardwired carbon reduction into supplier contracts, and require suppliers with new contracts over £25 million to sign up to the science-based net zero targets.
  • We encourage our key suppliers to report to CDP to improve visibility and action on emissions. Today more than 200 of them are doing so.
  • We continued our collaboration with the 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders initiative to drive climate action across global supply chains, and support small and medium-sized enterprises through the SME Climate Hub. 

Becoming a circular business,
while protecting nature and biodiversity

Developing a circular economy is a vital step in achieving a net zero economy

We want to become a circular business by 2030 – and build towards a circular tech ecosystem by 2040. For our operational waste, we are aiming for zero waste to landfill by 2030, by increasing the amount we reuse and recycle.

Recycling products and packaging

We encourage consumers to return products after use. This year, our customers returned more than 1.8 million home hubs and set-top boxes to us and through our refurbishment operation, we reused 83% and recycled the rest. We also collected over 190,000 mobile devices through consumer and business trade-in schemes, all of which were reused or recycled.

We have made it easier for our customers to adopt more sustainable habits in our transition to a circular economy:

  • We rolled out our nationwide EE superfast in-store phone repair service, with customers able to get their phones fixed in as little as two hours.
  • We joined the Eco Rating initiative for mobile devices, providing an overall environmental impact score to help customers make more informed and sustainable choices.
  • We launched a news partnership with Cisco to allow business customers return their old network devices for reuse and recycling.
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home hubs and set-top boxes returned                  

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mobile devices through consumer and business trade-in schemes

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UK recycling, reuse and recovery rate (88.5% globally)

Protecting nature and biodiversity

Biodiversity

This year we ran a pilot to explore our impact on nature, in line with the draft Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures framework. Openreach has set up a working group to look at the operational impacts of infrastructure build on nature. Openreach has also joined the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum.

Water consumption

Our UK water use rose by 7.6% this year to 1,531,893m4, due mainly to an increase in adiabatic cooling during the above average summer heat. Using water self-supply has helped us save nearly £3m since 2019, and has allowed us to improve how we monitor water usage, pinpoint areas of concern and fix leaks in order to minimise water wastage.