The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) has launched its first-ever and new annual report dubbed Mobile Net Zero – State of the Industry on Climate Action 2021.

This is the first analysis of how the mobile industry is progressing towards its ambition to be net-zero by 2050. The report is part of the UNs Campaign, Race to Zero, which aims to rally leadership and support from all non-state actors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery. All members are committed to the same overarching goal: halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest.

Key insights in the report include

  • How mobile operators covering 50% of global mobile connections and 65% of industry revenues have now committed to science-based targets.
  • How 36% of the mobile industry by revenue and 31% of the mobile industry by connections have credibly committed to net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier through the UN Race to Zero campaign.
  • How Mobile operators worldwide are stepping up and committing to undertaking the relevant actions necessary to deliver a net-zero world as laid out by the Climate Action Pathways.
  • How by 2020, 60 mobile operators providing 69% of the world’s mobile connections and 80% of revenue disclosed their climate impacts, risks and opportunities to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
  • How 5G networks are built with network energy efficiency in mind; 5G’s specification calls for a 90% reduction in the energy used to transfer each bit of data.

With Safaricom’s recent launch of the 5G network in Kenya, it is expected that the move will prove important at a point in the journey to Net-Zero.

According to Safaricom’s Sustainability Report, by the end of 2020, the telco was at a 9% reduction in carbon footprint. This is attributed to various efforts like the partnership between the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and local community forest associations to grow 5 million trees over a period of 5 years in four different sites.

The telco also aims to reduce emissions from its supply chain by freighting goods via the sea instead of the air. The carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions of ocean or sea freight is a fraction of that air freight. Their procurement policy now states that air freight should only be used if there is no viable alternative option.

Safaricom is also working on areas that focus on energy efficiency, promoting alternative clean energy sources and managing its electronic waste. It is a member of GSMA.

The global mobile industry’s race to net zero emissions is gaining pace as the UN’s Race to Zero campaign declares the industry has made a critical ‘Breakthrough’. More than a third of the mobile industry, by revenue, has now credibly committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, according to the rigorous criteria of the UN Race to Zero campaign.