Over two-thirds of our end-to-end carbon emissions come from our supply chain. We’re partnering with suppliers to curb their emissions and ours. This year, we expanded our target to reduce supply chain emissions in line with the latest 1.5ºC climate science. We were originally aiming for a 29% reduction from 2016/17 by end of March 2031 and now we’re going for 42% within the same timeframe.

We’ve cut supply chain emissions to 2.6m tonnes this year – and by 19% since 2016/17 towards our 42% reduction target by the end of March 2031.

  • We have 12 of our key suppliers with a clause in their commercial contracts with BT or Openreach that commits them to make measurable carbon savings. Nokia was one of the first to sign up and is working with its own suppliers to reduce the impact of high-carbon components that go into our network equipment. Openreach suppliers MJ Quinn and KN Group have committed to significant carbon savings across their operations. Meanwhile, Telent are developing their plans for setting science-based climate targets and plan to cut emissions from supporting our network. 

    These three suppliers alone are expected to save over 6,000 tonnes of carbon during their five-year contracts with Openreach. This year, we offered some suppliers free energy audits of their premises and carbon-saving guidance from experts at The Carbon Trust. So far, nearly every supplier audited has taken steps to reduce their energy use. 

  • We teamed up with other climate leaders to launch two major partnerships through the Exponential Roadmap Initiative this year. The 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders programme is designed to inspire and drive climate action across global supply chains. We’re supporting its ambition to hit net zero before 2050 through our own 2045 net zero ambition. The SME Climate Hub provides tips, tools and best practices to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) curb their emissions and gain competitive advantage by supporting a green recovery.

  • All our suppliers must meet our requirements on climate and environmental management among other standards. We track compliance through supplier assessments. We also encourage suppliers to join us in reporting climate-related data to CDP to enhance transparency and accountability. In 2020, 310 suppliers did so, up from 304 last year. Together, they make up 56% of our total spend. Of these, 73% have set targets to cut emissions and 44% cut their scope 1 and 2 emissions this year. CDP disclosures also showed that 64% of our reporting suppliers buy renewable electricity (up from 60% last year) and 69% work with their own suppliers on climate change. This year, we were included in the top 7% of companies assessed for supplier engagement on climate change, based on our 2020 CDP disclosure. Suppliers engaged by participating in the CDP Supply Chain programme. We also retained our position in the CDP’s Supplier Engagement Leaderboard for the fifth year in a row.