We’re reinventing the way we run our business to get to net zero. We’ve switched to renewable electricity, we’re transitioning to a low carbon fleet and we’re decarbonising our buildings.

  • This year, we hit a huge milestone by completing the switch to 100% renewable electricity worldwide1, meeting our target for 2021. 

    We were already at 92% renewable electricity last year and completing the switch has cut our carbon emissions for this year by a further 57,108 tonnes2. That’s the equivalent of taking around 36,000 combustion engine cars off the road for a year. 

    We got to 100% by supporting the development of local renewable electricity markets. Power purchase agreements met 12.2% of our global electricity demand this year. The rest came from local green tariffs and, in some cases, renewable certificates.  

    In the few markets that don’t yet have local solutions (accounting for around 0.1% of our global electricity use), we’ll purchase from neighbouring markets for the time being. 

    We consumed over 2.5 terawatts of electricity this year. Using 100% renewable electricity underpins our commitment to build back better and greener. It supports the UK’s net zero carbon goal, encourages global markets towards renewable power, and sets a strong example for others.  

    We’re engaging with members of the RE100 campaign, our customers and suppliers to promote further uptake of renewables. As reported to CDP in 2020, 198 of our suppliers are now making use of renewable electricity (up from 181 last year).

    1 99.9% of the global electricity BT sources is renewable. The remaining 0.1% represents where markets don’t allow due to non-availability of renewable electricity. 
    2 GHG scopes 1 and 2.

  • BT and Openreach together operate the UK’s second largest commercial fleet. We have around 33,000 vehicles on the road (the majority of which are in Openreach), to keep homes and businesses connected. Over two thirds of our direct emissions (GHG scope 1) come from our fleet. We aim to transition our fleet to electric or zero emissions models by 2030, where it is the best technical and economic solution, and will pursue other ultra-low emission solutions where EVs are not viable. 

    Openreach is aiming to switch a third of its fleet to electric or zero emissions by the middle of this decade and want to be all-electric or zero emissions by 2030. To do so, we need suitable electric vans, currently in short supply, and a reliable nationwide charging infrastructure that’s not yet in place. We’re working with others to help tackle these challenges. We’re a member of the EV100 group and this year we joined forces with The Climate Group and 29 organisations to launch the UK Electric Fleets Coalition. 

    Low carbon emissions fleet
    Low carbon emissions fleet

    At launch, our fleets had around half a million vehicles. The Coalition has successfully campaigned to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, reflected in the recent announcement by the UK Government, with exceptions made for specific vehicles where it isn’t feasible. The Government has also pledged £1.3bn to roll out charging points nationwide. Following a trial last year, we’ve now secured 351 electric vans for our fleet. We’ve installed 122 charging points at our sites and Openreach has provided over 300 units for engineers to charge their vehicles at home. It will take time to fully electrify our fleet. In the meantime, we’re making our existing fleet more efficient. This year, we started introducing battery packs for engineers to power lifts used to fix overhead cables without running their vans’ diesel engines. The packs help us cut fuel use, emissions and noise. 

  • We’re reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency across our buildings estate of over 6,000 sites. Our Doncaster contact centre went 100% renewable and had a low carbon makeover this year. Conventional chillers and gas-fired boilers are out. New electric cooling and heating is in. The building now runs on 100% renewable energy, reducing bills and carbon emissions.

    We completed the switch to 100% renewable electricity which reduced our carbon footprint. But we’re still looking for ways to reduce energy use and find alternatives for carbon-intensive heating and cooling. This year, our global energy consumption reduced by 123 GWh6, mainly as a result of energy efficiency measures, including the reduction of our legacy network and our investment of nearly £21m in cooling projects but also to a lesser extent the impact of Covid-19. Overall, our investments have helped us save £358m since 2009/10. We have an ongoing programme to install adiabatic cooling systems that use water and fresh air instead of greenhouse gases, we added a further 932 this year. We’re continuing work to make our core infrastructure more efficient so we can process more data with less energy. As part of our Better Workplace Programme, we’re consolidating some of our offices and including environmental considerations in plans for new buildings, including BREEAM Excellent certification at our new buildings in Birmingham, Bristol, London and Manchester.

  • BT have been working with the Carbon Trust and Sheppard Robson on an energy efficiency opportunity assessment.