BT taps SAP for Scope 3 data

  • Telcos are keen to track and analyse their carbon footprints
  • Efforts are underway to develop standard ways to collect and analyse carbon data across the supply chain
  • BT is working with SAP to track its Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions
  • The telco believes its pilot scheme offers a way to standardise sustainability reporting

BT believes a sustainability pilot scheme that enables it to analyse carbon data across its  supply chain will help its enterprise customers, as well as the telco itself, achieve their sustainability goals and could even help with the development of a standardised approach to carbon accounting.  

The pilot scheme, which makes use of the SAP Sustainability Data Exchange (SDX), enables BT to “collect, trace and share carbon data across its own supplier base, providing unparalleled visibility into the carbon footprint of its products and services,” the operator noted in this announcement. The operator is able to share the resulting data with its business customers that purchase BT products and services via the SAP Business Network portal. 

Gaining visibility into supply chain emissions is one of the toughest tasks facing telcos as they figure out how to achieve their green goals. Network operators the world over have set themselves targets to reduce their carbon emissions in the coming years, with many major telcos aiming to reach net zero across all emissions – Scope 1, 2 and 3 – within the next couple of decades. Scope 1 (direct emissions from company-owned and controlled resources) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy) are easier for telcos to track and manage. Far more challenging are the Scope 3 indirect emissions, taking place in the supply chain of the reporting company, which account for 75% to 80% of a telecom operator’s carbon footprint.  

BT says it selected SAP SDX because it helps to meet that Scope 3 challenge and because SDX adheres to the carbon data interoperability standards set by the Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT), hosted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). As a result, business customers do “not have to implement their own carbon accounting platforms to calculate, collate and share emissions data,” but can “request it through SAP SDX for their BT products and services,” according to the telco. 

Using SDX, BT is able to request “product-level carbon data from key suppliers, support smaller partners to calculate their carbon footprint and securely share and standardise this information across its value chain,” it noted. The operator says it is working with Cisco to collect carbon data for core network devices, simplify and secure the exchange of data with its customers and enhance the traceability of carbon footprint data.

BT claims its move sends “a strong signal of intent to standardise sustainability reporting across global value chains, tackle Scope 3 emissions and drive environmental progress,” as well as helps it meet its BT Group Manifesto pledge to help customers avoid 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. 

Sarwar Khan, global head of digital sustainability at BT Business, noted that as supply chain emissions account for a higher proportion of carbon footprints than operational emissions, “tracking, measuring and acting on these and bringing more suppliers and partners on the journey will not just accelerate net-zero targets, but set a new precedent for sustainability reporting”. “Collaboration fuels progress and access to data is fundamental to getting it right,” he added. 

Scope 3 emission data collection and analysis is increasingly important to network operators and progress is being made across the industry to address the challenge, as research house GlobalData pointed out earlier this year – see Automation to play key role in supply chain emissions reporting and management.

And among those striving to advance the telco green agenda, and find standardised ways to measure operators’ carbon footprints, is The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN), which issued a publication at the start of this year to stress how important it is for operators to tackle the environmental impact of their end-to-end supply chains – see NGMN outlines top challenges for telco sustainability, offers measures.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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