The role that telecom and internet companies play in climate change is starting to be noticed. According to the Centre for Energy-Efficient telecommunications (CEET), the information communication and technology (ICT) industry produces about 2% of global of carbon dioxide (CO2) (more than 830 million tons) per annum, the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.
Forward-looking telcos then must embrace greener practices and advertise those practices. These leading telcos will be rewarded by the increasing number of consumers who care about limiting the impact of climate change on the planet.
Green telecom networks use both energy-efficient technology and eco-friendly energy sources, such as solar and wind. Thats great, but it begs the question of verifiability. How do consumers make informed decisions about green claims? Thus there is a need for an efficiency metric, or what we call a Greendicator. This Greendicator measures emission quantities from the telecoms networks and devices, covering the entire cycle from manufacturing to waste disposal and considering the impact of those emissions on climate change.
How can telcos reduce their emissions to improve their Greendicators? First, through better network planning. More efficiency in networks necessarily means lower use of fossil fuels. And since most mobile towers run using diesel, that can impact CO2 emissions by a large amount. Second, through the use of renewable sources of energy, which are rapidly coming down in price. Third, they can share infrastructures with other telcos, reducing the need for redundant towers and other users of electricity. And finally, telcos can support improvements in the grid and encourage its supply move toward greener alternatives.
When telcos make the strategic decision to be leaders in carbon reduction strategies, they can then leverage this decision to appeal to the green consumer and other eco system partners. Green telecom networks reap the rewards in both a better image and a more economical system.