The Mobile Industry Is Increasingly Powered by Renewable Energy

The Mobile Industry’s Green Revolution: Renewables Take Over

As the world becomes more conscious of climate change, the mobile industry is stepping up to reduce its environmental impact. With many mobile networks committing to science-based targets, it’s now easier than ever to see if your carrier is taking action to combat the climate crisis.

According to a report released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the mobile industry is making significant strides towards reducing its carbon footprint. The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) reported that 24% of the energy used by the mobile sector comes from renewable sources, up from 14% in 2020.

Moreover, 62 carriers worldwide have pledged to decrease their direct and indirect emissions by 2030, representing 61% of the industry’s revenue. This represents an increase of 12 networks since the previous report published in April 2021.

The GSMA is leading the charge towards net-zero emissions by 2050, with the aim of preventing global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. To measure the ambition of its members, the GSMA uses a key metric – their commitment to this science-based target laid out in the Paris Agreement.

As the effects of the climate crisis continue to be felt around the world, there is growing pressure on all industries to prioritize transitioning to clean energy. The mobile industry is no exception, and some networks are doing more than others to reduce their environmental impact. This could make a difference to where you choose to spend your money.

On the hardware side, phone manufacturers are investing heavily in using recycled materials in their products and giving phones a longer lifespan. On the network side, companies are investing in more energy-efficient infrastructure and methods.

Access to renewable energy remains the biggest challenge for carriers, according to John Giusti, chief regulatory officer for the GSMA. However, the industry is making progress, with operators directly purchasing 24% of their electricity from renewable sources, up from 18% in 2021 and 14% in 2020. But with carrier demand outstripping supply, governments need to help expand access to renewable energy.

Europe and North America, two of the regions most responsible for historic emissions, are leading the charge when it comes to ambitious sustainability commitments and actions. T-Mobile, for example, is making significant strides to reduce its carbon impact in the US. It’s the first company in the US wireless sector to set a net-zero goal validated by the Science-Based Target Initiative covering all of its emissions, including those from across the supply chain and indirect emissions from purchased electricity. Verizon and AT&T have both aligned themselves with the 1.5 degrees pathway, with Verizon committing to net-zero emissions across the board by 2050.

Steven Moore, head of climate action for the GSMA, believes that many networks worldwide will achieve net-zero much earlier than 2050. “Once we start to invest, it’s incredible how quickly things can change,” he said.

The mobile industry is taking significant steps towards reducing its carbon footprint. With increasing numbers of carriers committing to science-based targets, customers can make informed decisions about where to spend their money. As the industry continues to invest in renewable energy, we can look forward to a greener future.