The digital revolution has the potential to transform our economic and social model more profoundly than any previous technological revolution. This transformation is characterised by the adoption of a new paradigm based on decarbonisation, sustainability and the circular economy.
Digital and green transitions go hand in hand. Digitalisation is a key enabler for other productive sectors on their way to the green transition. The ICT sector has a key role to play in keeping emissions in line with climate targets. The combination of new digital applications that facilitate the achievement of sustainability and decarbonisation goals, based on high-capacity and energy-efficient network architecture, can make a decisive contribution to limiting the effects of climate change.
Sustainability in the telecommunications sector
The digitisation process requires reliable, resilient and efficient telecommunications networks. Despite the fact that network traffic has increased exponentially over the last decade, both energy consumption and carbon emissions from the use of telecommunications networks have remained stable. This is explained, among other factors, by the deployment of more efficient technologies and the use of renewable energies. Digitalisation is also indispensable to make the best use of scarce resources. It is necessary to accelerate the dual digital and ecological transition in order to move towards the energy transition.
Telefónica has implemented more than 1,250 projects to improve the efficiency of its network. In addition, it continues to invest in the deployment of more sustainable networks, such as 5G and fibre. While these are great advances, they need to be complemented with the shutdown of legacy networks and the decommission of copper networks.
The importance of green financing
In the current geopolitical context, to achieve environmental and decarbonisation goals, we must continue to move forward together to drive the twin transition. In this process, sustainable financing schemes should redirect investment towards those technologies that can best contribute to meeting environmental objectives. In this framework, digital technologies, underpinned by highly efficient telecommunications networks, should be seen as a prerequisite to complete the green transformation of our economies and societies.
At Telefónica we are taking firm steps in this direction. We believe that moving towards greater efficiency through an energy transition that promotes the use of clean energy, and the implementation of a circular and sustainable economy that allows a better use of resources, should not be seen as a risk but as an opportunity for digitisation to curb climate change.