Displaying items by tag: sustainability
US telecommunications behemoth Verizon has pledged its commitment to helping the environment in an effort to address climate change by investing $1bn in green-friendly projects.
Verizon had been actively pursuing funding for its environmental commitments by using lower-cost bonds that appeal to a growing block of environmentally-sensitive investors. This week the US operator borrowed $1bn courtesy of a so-called green bond which basically allows them to spend the proceeds on projects that will create a positive impact on the environment.
The injection of capital will significantly help Verizon fulfill its promise from 2018, when it said that it intends to cover at least half of its energy use with renewable sources by 2025. It was further disclosed that new projects will include solar and hydrogen fuel cell electricity production at its existing properties and other investments will be made in larger solar and wind farms in areas in close proximity to its facilities nationwide.
Jim Gowen, Vice President for Verizon’s global supply chain expressed his delight at the investment boost and said it illustrated further proof of its commitment to creating a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
Gowen said, “This is now a real game changer. The whole goal of this new bond was to focus on a new, unique funding source.”
In addition to this, the bond issue was a huge success from a financial perspective. Wall Street underwriters had eight times more orders to buy bonds than bonds to sell which ultimately allowed them to reduce Verizon’s borrowing cost below the rate on its typical corporate debt. Verizon declined to specify the exact borrowing rate.
Green bond issuance rocketed to $167 billion worldwide last year, which represented almost a quadruple increase from the level in 2015. Projections appear to indicate that it has resonated with investors so much so that the sector issuance this year could hit $200 billion, according to Moody’s Investor Service.
The new initiative is one way the investment community is seeking to address the risks of climate change at a time when the federal government has renounced many such efforts. So far, most of the borrowing has been by government entities, but more corporations are getting in the market, too.
Verizon last year added 200,000 LED bulbs, Gowen says. Some money will also be spent on the company’s reforestation program a commitment to plant 2 million new trees by 2030 including 250,000 in areas hit by the series of major hurricanes in 2017 like Puerto Rico and Miami.
Verizon plans to spend the $1 billion in three years or less. And he’s already thinking about how the company could spend more with additional green bond issues. “I already have plans and I’m setting up my next $1 billion. We see this as a great funding mechanism in the future.
Dutch telecommunications company KPN has been recognized as an “industry leader” in the telecommunications category of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The independent experts consider KPN the most sustainable telecom company in the world as it outranks all others in the index.
The Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which was introduced in 1999, gives the sustainability scores of the world’s largest 2,500 publicly traded companies and is divided into sectors. The ranking is based on economic, societal and environmental performance.
KPN scored well for its climate policy, network reliability and innovation management, the figures show. A total of nine telecom companies have been included in the global index. The results were announced on September 7.
“KPN has a huge impact on society. That’s why we have for years focused on reducing CO2 emissions and have become climate-neutral in 2015,” said Eelco Blok, CEO of KPN. “We also help customers bring down their own CO2 emissions, and we seek to contribute to solving social challenges with the help of our services.”
Since 2012 KPN has been present in the global index, which for investors is an important benchmark in the domain of sustainability. Additionally, KPN has been named “industry leader” for the first time, even as competition for a listing in the DJSI index has increased and despite the fact that Dow Jones raises the bar every year so as to ensure that companies continue developing in terms of sustainability.
“The DJSI evaluation is a reflection of the progress we are making in embedding sustainability in our company,” said Blok. “We are proud of this recognition and we will continue to improve so as to make the most positive possible impact on society.
“Take for example the program we have launched to make our company circular and our long-term energy targets which have been scientifically ratified,” Blok added. “We are also making advances in the healthcare sector and looking to bring benefits to society through our SMART city initiatives.”
British telecom giant BT said it aims to reduce its carbon emissions 87 percent by 2030, setting itself on a path to help limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century. As part of the transition to a low carbon business model, BT had previously set itself a target in 2008 of an 80 percent reduction of its carbon emissions by 2020.
After reaching this target four years ahead of schedule, BT has set a new 2030 target, approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative, which is aligned with the most ambitious aim of the COP21 Paris Agreement. This aim seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit it even further to 1.5°C by the end of the century.
To meet this ambitious goal BT will be targeting innovative ways to further reduce its dependency on fossil fuels, for example through the adoption of low carbon vehicles in its fleet and reducing the carbon intensity of buildings.
“The role that technology can play in creating a more resource efficient world is both profound and exciting,” said BT Chief Sustainability Officer, Niall Dunne, announcing the target. “The benefits of leading climate action extend to our customers, suppliers and people. Our commitment to this 1.5°C target will help create partnerships and coalitions that continue the unstoppable momentum enabled by the Paris agreement.”
As part of its wider energy program, BT has made strides in reducing its end-to-end carbon footprint which has helped to deliver a total of £221m of energy savings since 2009/2010. BT is also well on its way to achieving its commitment to purchase 100 percent renewable electricity for its operations by 2020, where markets allow, the company said, sourcing 82 percent renewably last year.
In addition, BT promotes energy efficiency by providing products and services that enable its customers to reduce emissions. As part of its 2020 ambitions, BT aims to help its customers cut their carbon emissions by at least three times its own end-to-end carbon impact. So far it has reached 1.8 times, enabling customers to avoid 10 million tons of carbon in 2016/2017, up 32 percent on the previous year.
These carbon-abating products and services represented £5.3bn, or 22 percent, of BT’s total revenue last year. BT’s commitment to reducing its carbon intensity could help the UK Government meet its carbon reduction targets. International climate negotiations will continue at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, this November.
WhatsApp, which is one of the world’s most popular messaging applications - has finally announced a strategy for the monetization of its service in an effort to address issues regarding its ‘sustainability’. Concerns have long been raised over its sustainability, but now the application which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion has revealed its plans.
WhatsApp published a blog post in which it outlined its plans to launch a new innovative service that specifically targets large businesses, with green tick verification badges and a host of other communications tools. In addition to this, it also plans to introduce a ‘free app’ for SME’s.
A spokesperson for the messaging platform said, “Over a billion people use WhatsApp every day to stay connected with their family and friends, and over time, more people are using the app to communicate with businesses they care about too.”
Analysts have claimed that WhatsApp have identified a gaping hole in the market for businesses all over the world, especially those located in Asia, where the platform is a staple, use the service as a free way of connecting merchants and consumers. On the company’s blog post it highlighted information gathered from a survey it conducted, which indicated that users prefer when businesses use WhatsApp as it makes them feel more comfortable buying from a retailer that establishes a connection between the invisible sides of a digital transaction.
The blog post added, “We’ve heard stories of shopkeepers who use WhatsApp to stay in touch with hundreds of customers from a single smartphone, and from people who are unsure about whether or not a business on WhatsApp is authentic.”
The issue of monetization has always been an issue for technology products as companies have to engage in an education process in order to convince users to get past the notion that digital services are ephemeral enough to not warrant a cost. That’s fine, but tech firms have overheads and employees to pay, which makes it extremely challenging in the sense that one of the biggest problems in the industry are its most integral.
WhatsApp COO, Matt Idema confirmed that the firm does plan on introducing fees for businesses, but claimed that he didn’t yet have the details of what services would be monetized. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said: “We do intend on charging businesses in the future. Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no.”
The COO also disclosed that WhatsApp will commence tests on tools that enable users to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. This could for example allow you to communicate with financial institutions such as a bank over a recent transaction which you believe to be fraudulent - or with an airline over a cancellation or a delay.
WhatsApp continues to appear reluctant to want to go down the advertising route, which is in stark contrast to its parent company, Facebook, whose entire business is funded by huge advertising revenues. Facebook began introducing sponsored posts in its Messenger app in July of this year as it seeks new ways to engage users of its messaging service with advertising clients. However, it’s plain to see that Facebook is now pushing for WhatsApp to make its acquisition worthwhile.
Chinese bike-sharing provider ofo and SoftBank Commerce & Service Corp. (SoftBank C&S) announced that the two have reached a basic agreement to collaborate on the deployment of ofo’s global bike-sharing business in Japan.
ofo and SoftBank C&S plan to enter an exclusive partnership for a large-scale deployment, with SoftBank C&S serving as strategic partner of ofo’s bike-sharing services in Japan. In addition, ofo and SoftBank C&S plan to launch initially in Tokyo and Osaka in September 2017.
Japan is an important market for ofo’s APAC expansion, with millions of locals adopting cycling across the country. ofo “looks forward to improving local transportation ecosystems and providing short-distance services that are well suited to the needs of Japanese cities and travelers,” a press release said.
“Launching in Japan is a huge milestone for ofo. In a country where there is a strong cycling culture, we strive to further improve the convenience and cost-effectiveness that cycling can bring to people in Japan,” said Lawrence Cao, head of ofo’s APAC business.
Commenting on the partnership, Cao said: “SoftBank has an impressive track record for technology innovation and capturing market trends. I envision great synergy between us and SoftBank C&S and I have confidence that this partnership will pave the way for ofo’s business growth and transformation, enabling us to better cater to our users’ needs in Japan.”
“We are delighted to work with ofo to offer an efficient and green transport solution that will generate superior convenience and contribute to environmental sustainability in Japan,” said Tetsuo Kuramitsu, Board Director of SoftBank C&S. “Leveraging our business engaged in the sale, distribution and manufacturing of ICT products, we aim to promote ofo’s bike-sharing business model and reinvent personal mobility in Japan.”
The collaboration will see the two organizations combine their strengths to provide Japanese consumers with a “more convenient, cost-effective and healthy transportation option that caters to Japanese lifestyles.”
Singapore-based telecom operator Singtel and SingPost announced the launch of a nationwide recycling program in conjunction with World Environment Day. ReCYCLE, Singapore’s largest electronic waste (e-waste) recycling program by reach, encourages people to dispose their redundant mobile or internet-related devices at ReCYCLE bins or by mailing them through any post box.
“E-waste is one of the fastest growing categories of waste as consumers dispose electronic equipment even faster these days. According to the National Environment Agency, Singapore generates more than 60,000 tons of e-waste every year,” said Mr. Andrew Buay, Singtel’s Vice President for Group Sustainability.
“Most e-waste is still finding its way into landfills which pollutes the environment. With our partnership with SingPost, we’ve gone a step further to bring greater convenience to everyone by doubling our reach and touchpoints. We hope this will encourage more people to recycle and think twice before disposing their electronic devices down the rubbish chutes.”
Ms. Selena Chong, SingPost’s Vice President for Corporate Sustainability, said: “This is a program that addresses an environmental issue which affects our community. Working with Singtel creates greater impact across Singapore for ReCYCLE. We hope to provide our postal network capability to help people recycle more e-waste. Every recycled item means one less piece of waste that ends up in the landfill.”
Under the ReCYCLE program, members of the public can dispose their e-waste at selected Singtel shops, Singtel exclusive retailers and Post Offices with a ReCYCLE bin. Alternatively, anyone can collect special ReCYCLE envelopes from any of the eight Singtel shops, 58 Singtel exclusive retailers and 57 Post Offices located across the island, then “mail” their recyclables through any of the 743 post boxes in Singapore.
Broadband is the “most important technology” today because of the transformation to society that it can bring, said Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Ericsson’s SVP and Chief Sustainability Officer, at the launch of Ericsson’s Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report at MWC 2017. Using the UN SDGs as a framework, the report highlights how the telecommunications industry can positively evolve through use of responsible business practices, reducing energy consumption through 5G, and providing internet for all.
“At Ericsson, we start with our commitment to responsible business which is to us the very foundation of the company,” said Ms. Weidman-Grunewald at the press briefing. “We believe in making sure that our standards are high on an ethical level. We work a lot with anti-corruption, occupational work and safety, and responsible sourcing methods, to make sure that the entire value chain meets high ethical standards.”
Ericsson’s work with sustainability and corporate responsibility is as much about embracing opportunities as tackling global sustainability challenges, Ms. Weidman-Grunewald says in the new report. Ericsson uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to measure its impact on society. One of the most important initiatives Ms. Weidman-Grunewald spoke of to meet the UN SDGs was Ericsson’s commitment to bringing internet to all through broadband.
“How will governments deliver education if it’s not digital? How will you reach every child if we don’t use internet and if we don’t use the advantages of mobile broadband? Mobile broadband is the most important technology because of the transformation to society that it can bring,” said Ms. Weidman-Grunewald.
When it comes to binging an additional 4 billion people online, Ms. Weidman-Grunewald strongly believes that broadband will be “instrumental” she says in the report. The fastest and most cost-effective way to do this, she says, is to enable cost efficiency upgrades from 2G to 3G and 4G. Ericsson advocates strongly on “how ICT can help shape more sustainable societies” and the company engages in “public-private partnerships to advance shared aims and vision,” Ms. Weidman-Grunewald says.
In 2016, Ericsson launched a new suite of mobile broadband solutions for which total cost of ownership has been reduced by up to 40 percent. This makes investments in mobile broadband viable in markets where average revenue per use is low, helping to grow the reach of 3G and 4G and making the internet available to more people.
Ericsson’s Technology for Good initiatives now positively impact 89 million people through programs like Connect To Learn and Ericsson Response, which Ms. Weidman-Grunewald leads. The Connect To Learn global education initiative has been launched in 23 countries and benefits more than 80,000 students.
In 2016, Ericsson made significant progress in its Connect To Learn project in Myanmar. 155 teachers from all 31 schools successfully completed the first stage of their training, which allows them to begin integrating ICT into their classroom teaching, and to use the internet to enrich the learning experience of students.
Connect To Learn is a public-private partnership that involves the use of ICT solutions to promote universal access to quality secondary education in developing countries. The project was largely made possible through a strategic partnership between Ericsson and the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) Girls’ Education Challenge.
Ericsson and its coalition of partners for the Connect To Learn project leverage the strengths and contributions of each collaborator. For example, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) provides project funding, UNESCO provides teacher training and mobile technology-based educational programs on English language and life skills, and the Earth Institute manages the student stipend and school grant component, as well as conducting implementation research at the schools.
In addition, Finja Five provides child-friendly computing solutions, while EduEval Educational Consultancy conducts monitoring and evaluation. Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative, also provides funding and the program utilizes mobile devices enabled by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Ms. Weidman-Grunewald says the method of delivering teachers ICT training content is more effective than simply delivering computers to a school that just sits there because nobody knows how to use them.
In order to attract more businesses in the industry to implement sustainable practices, it needs to be profitable, says Ms. Weidman-Grunewald. At the briefing she spoke of another report released in January called ‘Better Business, Better World’ which puts into question the economic value of the UN SGDs. According to the report, if businesses look at areas such as clean energy, health, smart cities, etc, it could generate trillions of dollars.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) opens up $12 trillion of market opportunities in the four economic systems examined by members of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission: food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, as well as health and well-being. The ‘Better Business, Better World’ report says these areas represent around 60 percent of the real economy and are critical to delivering the SDGs.
“To capture these opportunities in full, businesses need to pursue social and environmental sustainability as avidly as they pursue market share and shareholder value,” the report says. “If a critical mass of companies joins us in doing this now, together we will become an unstoppable force. If they don’t, the costs and uncertainty of unsustainable development could swell until there is no viable world in which to do business.”
Ericsson’s commitments to deliver superior energy performance include a strong focus on 5G, according to its report – a goal to dramatically reduce the use of diesel, and a commitment to ensure the Ericsson Radio System platform remains the most power-efficient on the market.
“We’ve made a commitment that our 5G systems will be ten times more energy efficient than our 4G systems by 2020,” said Ms. Weidman-Grunewald. “It’s a very big commitment, because when you think of our industry, there’s more and more video, more and more growth with more and more things connected, so if we don’t think about power consumption, it will continue to increase. We decided to break that trend and we will lead our industry to have greener telecommunications networks in the future.”
PureSolar, a project completed with Telenor in Myanmar, involved the deployment of the world’s first 500 watt solar-powered site. Within just one year of operation, the solar-powered site proved to be more economical than the diesel alternative. Ericsson says overall it has reduced CO2 emissions per employee by 45 percent by targeting business travel, product transportation and energy usage in its facilities.
Ms. Weidman-Grunewald also highlighted Ericsson’s commitments to maintaining high standards for suppliers and taking a stand against slavery and human-trafficking. Ericsson manages the social environmental impacts of its supply chain as part of its “approach to embedding corporate responsibility” throughout its business practices, the report says.
“A new legislation in the UK for anti-slavery and anti-trafficking [UK Modern Slavery Act] has passed and we decided to implement this globally because we think it’s the right thing to do,” said Ms. Weidman-Grunewald. “It’s a commitment where we make sure that in our supply chain we will actively work to make sure that we’re using suppliers and labor according to protecting people’s dignity and rights.”
In 2016, Ericsson made its first Statement on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking for the Ericsson Group, in which it says Ericsson has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, and a significantly strengthened anti-corruption program. For its third year in a row, Ericsson has reported according to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights reporting framework – and remains the only ICT company to do so, according to the report.