Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, August 8, 2022

BT Aims for Net Positive Impact 

It's not enough to just limit the harm on the environment, we need to have a net positive impact. This is the message behind BT's Net Good program. 

The population is growing. By 2025, there will be an additional billion inhabitants on this planet, and every day we are burning through more resources than the earth can support. It's not enough to just limit the harm on the environment, we need to have a net positive impact. This is the message behind BT's Net Good program, which seeks to help customers reduce carbon emissions by at least three times the end-to-end carbon impact of BT's business by 2020.

BT (aka British Telecom) has since 1997 cut its carbon emissions output by 80 percent, but the company is not content to rest on its green laurels. Now the telecom giant wants to help its customers reduce their carbon footprint by using BT's products and services to, for example, replace physical travel with virtual methods of communication.

In a company video, BT's Net Good Program Director Kevin Moss explains that scarcity of resources is a very real threat. The food we eat, the water we drink and wash with, and the precious metals and fossil fuels that create and power our IT infrastructure — many of these resources are finite. A growing population and increasing global wage put an even greater demand on these resources. Moss offers the startling statistic that humans are using up the earth's resources 1.5 times faster than nature can replace them.

Moss argues that it's not enough to just limit the negative effects, we must do more good. Since carbon emissions are the single biggest environmental problem, BT has set a goal to reverse this trend. It's called 3 to 1.

Moss explains: "Our total emissions are made up of carbon from our operations – from the fuel that's burned by our vans to the power used to run our network – carbon that our suppliers emit making things for us – anything from telephones to paper clips – and carbon from our products being used, like from the electricity that's used to power our phones. All of that makes up our total carbon emissions. But we know that our technology can help people and businesses to cut carbon by video conferencing rather than traveling and by better managing how buildings are run.

"So now, we want to use our technology to help our customers save at least three times the carbon that we as BT emit – that's our net good goal: 3 to 1. And we've set ourselves the deadline of 2020 to achieve it."

The BT framework was unveiled at an event in London on June 18 by BT's Chief Executive Ian Livingston. The carbon abatement methodology was vetted and endorsed by the Carbon Trust and Camanoe Associates, a consultancy founded by MIT researchers.

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