BT Group embraces circular economy as catalyst for sustainability

Making significant strides in BT Group’s sustainability journey

As a pioneer in climate and sustainability action for over three decades and among the first to establish science-based targets in 2008, we’re proud that the BT Group has partnered with our team to help advance its sustainability efforts. In the recent fiscal year, the company made significant strides in its net zero plan, committing to achieving net zero emissions for its own operations by March 2031 and extending this goal to its supply chain and customer emissions by March 2041. You can find out more about the company’s Manifesto pledge here.

Already utilising 100% renewable electricity worldwide, BT Group is actively transforming its workplaces by transitioning to fewer, more sustainable, and energy-efficient buildings. By 2030, the company aims to transition the majority of its fleet, consisting of 34,000 vehicles, to electric or zero carbon emission vehicles. However, the company recognises that there is still much work to be done.

The circular economy is a cornerstone in BT’s sustainability drive

To fulfill its commitment to building a circular BT Group by March 2030 and a circular tech and telco ecosystem by March 2040, the company is taking several strategic steps. As its mobile network (EE) and fibre infrastructure division (Openreach) expand, they are exploring ways to remove, reuse, and recycle outdated legacy networks, such as the PSTN and 3G, which are major contributors to energy consumption.

E-waste contains toxic components that pose threats to human health and the environment, particularly affecting the poorer parts of the world. However, the sustainable extraction and recycling of common metals found in e-waste, such as iron, copper, tin, and aluminum, presents significant environmental and economic opportunities.

Our partnership with BT Group’s ECO programme

To tackle its e-waste challenge, BT Group has launched the Exchange Clearance Operation (ECO) programme. This initiative involves the recovery, recycling, and resale of equipment from outdated telephone exchanges, enabling the closure of aging and inefficient networks and a reduction in the number of buildings. Collaborating with industry leaders like us here at TXO, renowned for our expertise in promoting reuse, resale and recycling of telecoms equipment, BT Group is embracing the circular economy model.

Making an impact

In the current year alone, the ECO programme aims to extract over 200 tonnes of copper cable (equivalent to the weight of over 140 Ford Focus cars) and recycle over 2,000 tonnes of lead batteries. These activities, combined with the recycling and resale of redundant network equipment, are projected to generate £4 million. While decommissioning equipment on such a large scale presents a significant challenge, BT Group remains committed to investing in high-quality, reliable connections built on environmentally sustainable technologies. Collaboration with companies like ours is crucial in helping the BT Group to reduce waste and preserve valuable natural resources.

These initiatives mark significant progress, but they represent only the initial steps toward achieving BT Group’s sustainability goals. The company remains resolute in its purpose and committed to pushing boundaries to minimise its impact on the planet and we look forward to our continued partnership together.

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