What does the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) mean for net zero in the telecoms sector?

We get how important your net zero commitments are. And we think it’s amazing that record numbers of telcos are leading the zero-carbon transition through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) - not just talking the talk, but walking the walk 👍🌍. But what exactly is the SBTi and why does it matter?


What is the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)?

The SBTi is a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reduction targets in line with the latest climate science. It is focused on accelerating companies across the world to halve emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions before 2050.

Reducing your carbon emissions isn’t an easy job, so to support companies on their transition to net zero, the SBTi offers a wealth of resources and guidance to stimulate decisive action. More than 3,000 businesses around the world are already working with the SBTi, including ever-increasing numbers of mobile network operators, fixed network operators, and data centre operators. Have you joined them yet?


How does it work?

Setting a science-based target is a five-step process:

Why take action?

Our climate is changing around us faster than predicted. If the planet continues to warm, the impacts on our natural world and the lives and livelihoods of millions of people will be catastrophic. According to a recent report by the United Nations, we still have time to change course and avoid more dire impacts of climate change, but decisive action on a global scale is needed now.

Through the Paris Agreement (signed in December 2015), parties and signatories committed to “holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

In the years since the Paris Agreement was signed, the urgency to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) has become even stronger. In May 2022 the UK Met Office warned there is an almost 50-50 chance that the world will briefly overshoot its crucial 1.5°C climate change target by 2026 – showing how close we are coming to missing the Paris Agreement’s target.

Why science-based targets are good for the telecoms industry

The telecoms sector is dynamic and the demands for faster transmission and more capacity are ever-growing. It follows that our industry has an essential role to play in ensuring the transition to a zero-carbon economy and that operating sustainably has become a source of competitive advantage.

Measuring and implementing sustainable change is increasingly becoming a more important criterion for various stakeholders and investors. Science-based targets not only put your business on a clear path to reducing emissions - but they also demonstrate that the plans are credible and realistic. Preventing greenwashing by ensuring transparency and accountability. However, achieving net zero emissions is a challenging task that requires significant commitment if we are to collectively achieve the 1.5°C (2.7°F) ambition and halve emissions before 2030.

What’s great is that science-based targets show organisations how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change from happening. But it is important to remember that most network & data centre operators have significant Scope 3 emissions (within their supply chains), and so focusing only on scope 1 and 2 emissions is not going to move the dial by itself. There needs to be a greater emphasis on working with climate-conscious companies outside their own operations.


Working with suppliers to beat the clock on climate change

Here at TXO, we are firm believers that a net zero value chain is not something that can be achieved alone. By partnering with businesses that are leading experts in their respective fields, you can gain hands-on guidance and access to tools and resources that drive transparency, traceability, and action.
In a time when you could be thinking that every supplier out there is peddling a green agenda, TXO is living proof that you can partner with a global company that has its grassroots in the circular economy and is dedicated to making sustainable telecom networks commonplace.

We’re proud to partner with several telcos that are working with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), helping them support the continued use of resources in terms of:

  • Identifying, testing, and repairing telecom network equipment for internal reuse
  • Sourcing and refurbishing pre-owned products for spares and new deployments
  • De-installing surplus items and selling them to other operators
  • Turning to WEEE recycling as a final step in the process


The climate emergency requires ambitious and global corporate decarbonisation. Whether you’re well on your way to achieving your climate action targets or just beginning your journey, we’re here to help with our transparent and measurable services.

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