Tech companies take steps toward net-zero

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) revealed the initial findings of a joint report that examines the emissions and energy use of 150 of the world’s leading tech companies. The report, which is titled ‘Greening Digital Companies: Monitoring Emissions and Climate Commitments,’ pinpoints best practices for digital companies to slash their emissions and achieve carbon-neutral operations. To celebrate the World Environment Day on 5 June and the #OnlyOneEarth campaign, the ITU and WBA unveiled the following five key takeaways from the report:

  1. The 150 digital companies consumed 1.6% of global electricity production in 2020 –The overall footprint of digital companies is estimated to be much higher, but it cannot be determined precisely as not all companies calculate their upstream and downstream emissions.
  2. A few companies account for the bulk of digital company emissions — Just 20 companies account for three-quarters of the operational emissions, while 9 companies headquartered in East Asia accounted for half of all the emissions of the 150 reviewed in the report.
  3. The purchasing power of digital companies helps scale up renewable energy markets — Digital companies are helping to build viable markets for renewables and accelerate global progress toward carbon neutrality.
  4. Sixteen digital companies report they are already carbon neutral — In all but two cases, firms reporting carbon neutrality are headquartered in Europe or the United States
  5. Digital products and services are making an impact by enabling wider emission reductions — Telecommunications operators report that their services are enabling customers to avoid emissions more than six times what the operators generate in their operations.