Sustainability survey highlights fibre’s green credentials
The FTTH Council Global Alliance (FCGA) has published the results from its global Sustainability Survey.
The FCGA is a group of six regional FTTH Councils with the common goal to accelerate fibre broadband adoption. These councils include the Digital Council Africa, Fiber Broadband Association, Fiber Broadband Association LATAM Chapter, Fiber Connect Council MENA, FTTH Council Asia Pacific, and FTTH Council Europe.
The group commissioned the Sustainability Survey in order to understand the telecom industry’s commitment to sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) or corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies, where they are in terms of reaching their overall goals and milestones, and how these differ at the regional level. It explored ESG and CSR strategies throughout the telecom industry with network operators, service providers, and vendors across five geographical regions.
The results reveal that some regions are far more advanced than others, but that fibre’s sustainable properties will ultimately help the global telecom industry achieve ESG and CSR goals. The report notes that, according to a Boston Consulting Group report, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is responsible for 3% to 4% of all global emissions — twice the levels of the aviation industry. However, research by RVA, LLC and the Fiber Broadband Association reveals that fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) directly reduces carbon output leading to a 34% reduction in internet CO2 emissions. This means that fibre-based broadband technologies could help the industry reduce these emissions because fibre consumes less energy than other broadband technologies.
Amongst the survey’s other findings, it detailed that converting from hybrid fibre coax (HFC) to FTTH was cited as a way to improve sustainability programs. In addition, it recommended that supporting customer greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction programs through the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology enables businesses to identify sustainability enhancements and develop GHG impact estimates for early-stage innovation programs. Most participating companies are working on plans to achieve at least a 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, with long-term goals of net zero by 2040.
The survey also illustrated some regional and cultural differences in sustainability priorities. Europe had the highest percentage (81%) of respondents that currently have an ESG/CSR strategy, followed by LATAM (45%), North America and MENA (both at 16%), and Asia Pacific (15%). Some Asia Pacific respondents indicated ambitious targets of net-zero by 2035 for scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, a 60% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030. Meanwhile, some European respondents indicated they were evaluating or in the process of engaging with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to help define and promote best practices in emissions reductions.
Gary Bolton, President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association says: “The fibre broadband industry is currently experiencing its largest investment cycle ever, and we expect to see this momentum continue to rise over the next five years due to the long-term benefits fibre can provide for broadband connectivity goals as well as sustainability initiatives. Fibre is the only way to simultaneously deliver high-speed, reliable internet services and support ESG and CSR goals, green energy, less waste, and the greater good of society.”
Kholoud Aldorgham, Director General for the Fiber Connect Council MENA adds: “The telecommunications sector has a significant role to play in reducing carbon emissions and achieving sustainability goals. Fibre optic technology is one of the most sustainable broadband technologies available today. Not only does it consume less energy, but it also has a longer lifespan than other technologies, which reduces the amount of waste generated. In the MENA region, there is still a lot of work to be done to promote sustainable practices in the telecommunications industry. One important step would be for companies to invest in the deployment of fibre optic networks, which would not only reduce their carbon footprint but also provide high-speed, reliable internet access to consumers.”