BT announced today that it will cut its carbon emissions intensity by 80 per cent across the globe by 2020 (from a 1996 baseline), setting one of the most aggressive corporate carbon reduction targets worldwide.
The company also published a new model for measuring and tracking carbon emissions – backed by The Carbon Disclosure Project. This represents an important step in measuring carbon emissions in a consistent way across the globe.
Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future and chair of BT's advisory panel, said, ''This is a ground-breaking new way of setting targets. If all companies adopted such a target we would be a long way towards fixing the problem of climate change.''
''BT has a proud history of international leadership in carbon reduction and of setting and achieving challenging targets," said BT chairman Sir Michael Rake. "We are delighted to raise the bar by extending these commitments to cover our entire global footprint, across more than 170 countries worldwide.''
The new model has been developed by Dr Chris Tuppen, BT's director of sustainable development. Dr Tuppen has won international acclaim for his work in this field and was named by the Guardian as one of the ''50 people most likely to save the Planet'' in 2008.
Dr Tuppen said, ''It is imperative that we stabilise the climate. At BT we recognise that it is our responsibility to grow in a sustainable way. The CSI Target creates a relationship between BT's CO2 emissions and its financial performance so that they become interdependent. It is a powerful tool for embedding sustainability into organisations worldwide and critical in effecting change.''
The majority of worldwide CO2 emissions (includes all greenhouse gases including methane and refrigeration gases) result from activities in the corporate sector, but up until now it has not been clear what targets an individual corporation needs to achieve to make its contribution to the international challenge.
The 'climate stabilisation intensity' (CSI) target addresses this head on. It is a simple and effective tool that links a company's financial and environmental performance to the necessary CO2 reductions. The CSI approach associates an organisation's total CO2 emissions with the contribution its profits and employment costs make to the world economy. Targets for reducing the company's carbon intensity (CO2 per unit of contribution to GDP) are then set in line with world targets to reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP
It is fully in line with the worldwide reduction imperatives outlined in the Stern Report and reports by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The model is unique in that it allows for business growth whilst still respecting stringent global CO2 reductions.
Paul Dickinson, CEO, The Carbon Disclosure Project, said, ''The Carbon Disclosure Project supports all commitments from companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. BT is leading the way on emissions reductions and, in launching a strategy which allows a company to grow whilst reducing carbon emissions, BT is setting an example which we hope other corporations will follow.''
BT intends to meet the 80 per cent reduction target through a continued combination of energy efficiency, on-site renewable generation (aiming for 25 per cent of its UK electricity to come from dedicated wind turbines by 2016) and purchased low-carbon electricity. The CSI target will enable the company to draw up an international road map to achieving this reduction. BT has already reduced emissions in the UK by nearly 60 per cent between 1996 and 2008.