The main contribution to our carbon ‘footprint’ is the consumption of electricity to run our communications networks. Sophisticated services, such as picture messaging, video streaming and data downloads, are more energy intensive than mobile voice calls. As we develop our services to meet the demands of our modern lifestyles and business environments, electricity consumption inevitably tends to increase – this is our greatest single environmental challenge.
During 2005/06 we completed a number of studies that helped us better understand our carbon footprint. Our assessments included the total energy consumption and impact of:
To offset this effect entirely by financial means – through, for example, funding renewable energy programmes, could cost a large amount.
Naturally, we want to concentrate first on reduction and conservation.
We aim to continue internal communications campaigns to encourage energy saving as a way of life at O2. This is especially important as our growing business activity has resulted in increased distance travelled– up by 36 per cent in 2005/06.
Beyond this, we plan to buy more green energy and to offset our carbon footprint through investment in local and national projects that create new and efficient sources of renewable energy – such as wind. This programme, O2 Renew, is a project that aims to neutralise our effect on the environment; it was launched in January 2006.
As the chart below indicates we have been successful in increasing our uptake of electricity from renewable sources. Despite the increase in network activity and the move to sophisticated and more energy-intensive third generation (3G) services, the ‘corrected’ CO2 emissions total from all sources is down by around 16,000 tonnes (8 per cent) in comparison to 2004/05.
1. Electricity and gas consumption is reported for all premises and operations where O2 is the direct customer. Some rented premises may be excluded.
2. Factors used to convert kWh electricity to tonnes CO2: 0.00043 (UK, Defra 2005); 0.00049 (Germany, IEA 2002); 0.00067 (Ireland, IEA 2002).
3. CO2 emissions taking account of electricity generated from renewable sources, assumes that use of “renewable” electricity results in no net emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere. This figure covers the emissions associated with electricity generated from fossil and nuclear fuels only, and (in the UK) electricity to which the Climate Change Levy applies.
4. Factor used to convert kWh natural gas to tonnes CO2: 0.00019 (Defra 2005).
5. Factors used to estimate CO2 emissions from fuel oil: diesel 1 litre = 2.63 kg CO2; heating oil 1 litre = 2.69 kg CO2 (Defra 2005).
6. Fuel oil data is given for Manx Telecom and Airwave only for 2004/5 and Manx Telecom, Airwave and O2 UK only for 2005/06.
7. Business mileage conversion factors used: Medium petrol car (1.4- 2.1 litres) 1 km = 0.19 kg CO2; Average diesel car 1 km = 0.17 kg CO2 (Defra 2005). Dual fuel/LPG vehicles have been assumed to produce approximately 20% less CO2 than diesel vehicles (UK Dept for Transport).
8. Losses of HFC refrigerant gases are assumed to have a Global Warming Potential of 3.26 tonnes CO2 equivalents per kg (value for a typical HFC blend, eg R404a – Defra, 2005). Losses of HCFC refrigerant gases are assumed to have no GWP.
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