Paris: Companies demand shared climate protection target
Dec 2, 2015
Birgit Klesper, Senior Vice President Group Transformational Change and Corporate Responsibility Deutsche Telekom.
Nov 30, 2015
Deutsche Telekom brings a significant CO2 reduction of 20 percent to the table at the climate change conference in Paris. An article by Birgit Klesper, Senior Vice President Group Transformational Change and Corporate Responsibility Deutsche Telekom.
Advancing climate change is one of the biggest global challenges of our time. Global carbon emissions continue to rise and intensify the problem. The 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) began in Paris today. Until mid-December, everything at the event will center on the issue of stopping this negative trend through a new, international agreement – a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Only then will it be possible to achieve a low-carbon, sustainable future and restrict global warming to less than two degrees by the end of the century.
78 major corporations, including Deutsche Telekom, have already expressed their firm commitment to climate protection at a global level, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, by signing the UN Climate Deal. In doing so, the CEOs are calling on governments to take a particularly important and necessary step: to set an ambitious, shared climate protection target. At the same time, the companies – from Brazil, China, Europe, India and the United States – are declaring their support in working towards a lower-carbon society. The objectives are to further reduce their own ecological footprint and to act as climate protection ambassadors by focusing on innovative solutions. On the one hand, this will help to increase energy efficiency; on the other, the CEOs hope it will create economic growth and new jobs. The search for alternative and renewable energies and stopping deforestation are also on the agenda of the global business leaders, who come from wide-ranging sectors – from finance and technology companies through to construction firms and energy groups.
The 78 companies have a combined reported revenue of approx. USD 2.1 trillion, comparable with the GDP of Russia. All in all, this declaration sends out an important signal in the shared fight against climate change.
We are doing our bit
Deutsche Telekom has been active in climate protection for many years and sets a good example. In 2013, we again set a Group-wide carbon reduction target: We plan to reduce our emissions by 20 percent by 2020 (as compared with 2008), for example by optimizing the energy efficiency of our own network infrastructure and our data centers, or by using web and video conferences instead of travelling.
We are also committed to climate protection at industry level: as a founding member of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), we work together actively with other ICT companies so as to exploit the potential synergies offered by a joint approach.
The GeSI "SMARTer 2030" report looks at the economic, social and environmental opportunities that arise from the innovative use of ICT. For Group CEO Timotheus Höttges the actual targets are, however, also compelling: “SMARTer2030 shows that the ICT industry can make an important contribution to climate protection. This also applies to Deutsche Telekom. Not only have we set ambitious targets for ourselves, we are also helping our customers to find solutions to their own challenges."
With the "Paris Pledge," we are doing our bit to ensure the success of the UN Climate Change Conference. In addition, as a member of the German 2⁰ Foundation, with the signature of our CEO, Tim Höttges, we have committed to taking active measures to restrict global warming to 2 degrees and positioned ourselves politically for an ambitious climate protection program. Innovation can achieve dramatic reductions in harmful emissions.
One activity at national level is our support for CDP (originally the Carbon Disclosure Project). The aim of this non-governmental organization is for companies and local authorities to publish their environmental data – which include harmful greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption – and actively work on improving their environmental performance. Good results spur on other companies to act sustainably and not get left behind the competition. On November 4, leading companies were recognized for their climate protection efforts. Deutsche Telekom achieved 99 out of a maximum of 100 points for the disclosure of its climate protection activities, achieving a rating of A-. As such, it qualified once again for the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index, making it one of the leading companies in the German-speaking world (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
Train to Paris: By train to the 21st UN Climate Change Conference. zoom
Ahead of COP 21, another push was made for greater climate protection: The "Train to Paris" campaign specifically promotes the environmental benefits of rail travel. In this campaign, Deutsche Bahn (DB) and other European railways put on special trains to Paris filled with around 350 passengers from politics, the media and associations. On board the trains, a broad range of information and discussion on the subject of climate protection was offered. Alongside Barbara Hendricks, Minister for the Environment, and Ronald Pofalla, DB Board Member, Deutsche Telekom was represented last Saturday on a trip from Berlin to Paris on the #TraintoParis by Luis Neves, Hans-Gerd Peters and Andreas Kröhling of our CR Team, who provided the delegates with information on our climate protection activities.
Our current measures are in line with the targets of the UN Climate Deal. Our activities at the various levels are putting us well on track. In particular, we believe that we can make an important contribution to global climate protection with climate- friendly products and services. We offer environmentally sound solutions for all customers and economic sectors, whether cloud or ICT solutions for agriculture, smart home solutions and smart metering, web and video conferences, music downloads, cell phone navigation or sharing platforms. That is why we look to the Climate Change Conference in Paris with hope and expectation of a clear signal for more climate protection.