T-Mobile Commits to 2040 Net Zero Target
T-Mobile unveiled its goal of net zero emissions in all scopes – 1, 2 and 3 – with approval from the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
T-Mobile’s Net Zero Commitment is first among US wireless service providers with SBTi validation. Company CEO Mike Sievert commented:
“As we know sustainability is important to our customers and stakeholders, T-Mobile has made great strides in reducing our environmental footprint – and now we’re taking even bigger steps to reduce our carbon emissions with a commitment to SBTi’s Net-Zero standard.”
With a science-based approach, the supercharged American Un-carrier aims to achieve two major goals.
Short-term goal: Reduce absolute GHG emissions from Scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 55% by 2030. Long-term goal: Achieve net zero emissions in all scopes by reducing absolute emissions 90% by 2040. T-Mobile joins the climate pledge
As part of its net zero pledge, the 5G provider also said it is now becoming one of more than 400 members of The Climate Pledge. Co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019, the Pledge is a collective commitment to reach net zero 10 years before the Paris climate target.
By joining the pact, T-Mobile and other members agree to take these climate actions:
Regularly measure and report GHG emissions; Implementing zero emissions strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business change and innovation Offsets all remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent and socially beneficial carbon offset credits.
The global head of The Climate Pledge at Amazon said they were “delighted to see the comprehensive and thoughtful journey they [T-Mobile] have planned to achieve net zero carbon by 2040”.
Here’s what T-Mobile’s path to 2040 net zero looks like in four scenarios.
Peter Osvaldik, the company’s chief financial officer, said in T-Mobile’s net zero path report:
“T-Mobile is leading the wireless industry through our commitment to sustainably managing our environmental footprint, and now we’re continuing to raise the bar with this ambitious goal of net zero emissions. Big, bold programs like this will not only have hugely significant positive climate outcomes, but they’re also good business.
Strategies to reduce the carbon footprint
In 2021, powering its 5G network emits the bulk of T-Mobile’s operational footprint (Scopes 1 & 2).
5G has the potential to be the most sustainable generation of wireless networks because it uses less power per data transmitted and supports more devices. But it needs more power for infrastructure equipment.
The telecommunications provider is reducing emissions by first focusing on reducing energy consumption and investing in energy-efficient technologies. The company uses high-efficiency rectifiers, antennas, lighting controls and cabinet designs. They can also improve the performance of cellular equipment and increase energy efficiency.
T-Mobile is further reducing its network power needs with these measures:
Decommissioning of tens of thousands of macrocell sites Replacement of air conditioning units with direct air-cooled ventilation doors Optimization of energy consumption via network software
AI, with its advanced data analytics, can optimize power consumption and save energy based on traffic and weather. The company is also adopting efficient technologies in its data centers, such as smart thermostats and lighting controls.
The company was able to meet its renewable energy goal to power its business with 100% renewable electricity. It will continue to source renewable energy to keep its operational emissions low.
Beyond operations: reducing the scope 3
T-Mobile includes Scope 3 in its net zero goal, which is even more ambitious. It represents 71% of the company’s total carbon emissions across its entire value chain.
Ironically, the 5G network provider has the least control over this emission source that has the greatest impact. It includes the following components:
T-Mobile tracks and reports on these 10 categories of Scope 3 emissions. This is crucial to its business which relies on collaboration with its major providers.
As shown in the graph above, emissions from product transportation and distribution account for a large portion of the company’s Scope 3 source. This includes both upstream (from suppliers to distribution centers) and downstream (from distribution centers to retail stores) logistics.
T-Mobile is looking to reduce these sources through a more energy-efficient logistics and distribution network. For example, the company took 833 trucks and 313 fast-track vans off the road in 2021. This is made possible by optimizing shipping which saves around 2,241 MT of CO2e.
To achieve its Net Zero goal, T-Mobile continues to reduce Scope 3 emissions by: maximizing the use of space in its vehicles, reducing fuel consumption and switching to low-emission fuel sources .
T-Mobile engages with stakeholders throughout its supply chain to identify and address emissions hotspots. Then the company implements the necessary sustainability initiatives.
Finally, even if the end-of-life treatment of products sold and waste represent a tiny part of the mobile operator’s footprint, waste remains a major issue for the planet.
For example, T-Mobile works with third-party contractors to track and measure their municipal waste, hazardous waste, and wastewater. The company is also committed to reducing waste through recycling, composting and digitization.
With increasingly stringent regulations and increasingly demanding stakeholders, companies with a strong commitment to net zero and sustainable climate action tend to have a better reputation and gain a competitive advantage.