Singtel escalates its sustainability efforts

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

Jan 11, 2024

  • Singapore’s national operator is making ‘more aggressive’ cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions
  • It is aiming for a 55% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030
  • Telco claims to be the first operator in Asia to have renewed goals validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)

Singtel Group has unveiled “more aggressive cuts” to its greenhouse gas emission targets in a move that, it says, deepens its “commitment to environmental stewardship”.

The influential Asia operator’s renewed targets include a group-wide 55% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and a 40% reduction in Scope 3 third-party emissions by 2030, using 2023 as the base year. According to the telco, it has “deepened efforts to engage supply chain partners to increase disclosures and take greater climate action” and is supporting its regional associates – which include Globe in the Philippines, AIS in Thailand, Telkomsel in Indonesia – in their decarbonisation initiatives to reduce the Group’s Scope 3 emissions.

The operator, which has about 4.4 million mobile and 680,000 fixed broadband customers in Singapore, 10.5 million mobile and 1.3 million broadband customers in Australia (in its Optus division), and about 10 datacentre facilities across Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong as part of its Digital InfraCo division, says its “​​ambitious science-based targets [are] aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C,” and claims it is the first telco in Asia to have its renewed targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Singtel also noted that the SBTi’s target validation team has confirmed that the telco’s net-zero goal of 2045, which it brought forward from 2050 in July last year, is “closely aligned with SBTi’s most stringent criteria,” and claimed to be the only Asian telco with a net-zero target ahead of 2050. 

“Singtel’s net-zero targets match the urgency of the climate crisis and set a clear example that their peers must follow,” stated Luiz Amaral, CEO of the Science Based Targets initiative. 

Singtel announced its initial SBTi targets in 2017, when it committed to a 42% reduction in absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions across its Singapore and Australian operations by 2030, using 2015 as the base year: By the end of 2023 it had already reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by more than 20%. 

“We firmly believe that we can pursue business growth while safeguarding our planet for future generations,” noted Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon. “This conviction propelled us to engage SBTi to approve our first set of SBTi targets in 2017. While we are on track to meet those targets, we know that we must do even more with the urgency of climate change. We are stepping up on our environmental leadership with a second set of targets that SBTi has again approved. These are aggressive goals and our teams are developing comprehensive plans to achieve them,” added the CEO. 

According to Singtel, its decarbonisation strategy “prioritises reducing energy consumption, improving energy efficiency, and transitioning to renewable energy sources.” It has invested almost 150m Singapore dollars (US$113m) since 2015 in various climate mitigation measures “including applying AI and machine learning technology to optimise its network energy usage, backing up its electricity with renewable sources, upgrading all chillers, facilitating e-waste recycling, maximising the deployment of solar panels at its facilities, and transitioning its vehicle fleet to electric vehicles,” the company noted in this announcement

The telco is also building green regional datacentres and redeveloping its Comcentre headquarters into Singapore’s first end-to-end carbon neutral development. 

For more on the telecom sector’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, check out TelecomTV’s dedicated channel The Green Network.  

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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