Climate change is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced and the mobile industry has a big part to play in fighting this global crisis.
In 2016, mobile became the world’s first industry to commit to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ever since, we’ve been measuring our progress year on year in the annual Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2019 edition reveals increased contribution across all 17 Goals in 2018 as a result of ever-increasing mobile broadband and smartphone adoption, which has allowed almost half the world’s population to get online via mobile. The industry is still dedicated to accelerating impact across all 17 goals, especially empowering women through SDG 5: Gender Equality and enhancing digital inclusion through SDG: 10: Reduced inequalities.
Another goal that has increasingly become a critical point of focus is SDG 13: Climate Action. Right now, the world is facing a man-made disaster of global scale. The mobile industry is committed to acting on climate change now and in the future. The mobile sector is taking collaborative action to be fully transparent about our own climate impacts and have developed an industry-wide climate action roadmap, to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.
But why is the mobile industry commitment specifically focused on the reduction of GHG emissions?
The most dangerous and damaging contributor to climate change is greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is the most poisonous and prevalent of all GHG emissions. It lingers in the atmosphere for thousands of years and is responsible for 75% of emissions globally[i]. Air pollution kills more than 7 million people annually, as 91% of the world’s population live in areas with air quality exceeding the safe limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO)[ii].
More than 50 mobile operators – which together account for more than two thirds of mobile connections globally [iii]– are now disclosing their climate impacts, energy and GHG emissions via the internationally recognised CDP global disclosure system. This move will enable full transparency for investors and customers involved in the mobile sector. Many of the companies are disclosing for the first time as part of this GSMA-led initiative.
Mobile networks may be a small part of the problem, but we’re a big part of the solution. The industry’s greatest positive contribution in impacting climate change is the ability to enable other sectors in the economy to reduce their own emissions. As industries digitise their infrastructure, their carbon footprint will significantly shrink. As toxic emissions decline, the health of the planet will continue to improve.
I’m immensely proud of the future-thinking commitment we have made and the bold ambitious targets set, but mobile leaders around the world have been acting on the climate crisis for many years. Operators have been turning targets into practical initiatives to markedly reduce their own emissions, through energy efficient initiatives, sourcing renewable energies and carbon offsetting.
The following video encapsulates the work of mobile operators in the fight to urgently address the effects of this global issue. This is our story so far.
With mobile networks connecting more than 5 billion people worldwide, we are uniquely placed to use big data to gather invaluable insights that can be used by governments, NGO’s and public health organisations, to respond more effectively to climate-induced disasters, diseases and epidemics.
The net-zero commitment, forms part of the industry’s journey to support the delivery of the SDGs, specifically SDG #13 on Climate Action, and its mission to intelligently connect everyone and everything to a #BetterFuture.
Visit https://www.gsma.com/climate to learn how the mobile industry is influencing the rest of the world to become net zero to mitigate the wider climate crisis.
The time for visions is gone. The time to act is now.
[iii] Mobile operator groups participating in the initiative together account for approximately 5.2 billion mobile connections, representing 66% of the 7.8 billion total global mobile connections (excl. IoT) in Q2 2019 (source: GSMA Intelligence).