When “GREEN” evolved into Sustainability

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I have been looking backwards a few weeks and reflecting on the 1st Energy and Climate Change Workshop organised by Telefónica for the industry in District C. This was an extremely practical event, and all the better for that, of course. The event featured discussion of renewable base stations, networks, energy purchases and many other things… with the adjective “green” applied to nearly all of them. And so we were happily progressing focusing on everything “green”, when we were offered a wider perspective by the analysts: their input provided us with the distance needed to develop a global overview and to start calling things by their real names, not constrained by fashion…

Well, it seems that things have changed: we no longer talk about “green” but about sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (CR). “Sustainability is not about ecology, it is about economy”, said one analyst. Sustainability is about efficiency and growth, not about higher costs. This is why it is such a hot topic. And this led us to the issues of energy and climate change.

1. On the subject of efficiency, Gartner states: “ICT as a vertical industry is considered to account for 2% of global energy consumption (…) Telecom services companies are centring their new initiatives for reducing energy costs especially on the mobile infrastructure (…) Savings could be from 2.3% to 8.7% of OPEX, meaning that even if total expenditure increases these companies can preserve their margins as they grow, while complying with regulations as customer sensitivity towards reducing emissions increases…”.

2. Growth: the experts also agree that ICT is part of the solution to climate change and see such products and services as a source of income. The reason for this is its ability to increase the energy efficiency of other sectors, with savings that could reach 600 billion euros.

Telefónica’s strategy tries to capitalise on these two fronts: internally, from energy efficiency; externally, from growth (by helping customers to be efficient). In addition, work is also being done to position the sector as a relevant player in these issues. This is what we put forward to the analysts. Their feedback was positive and certainly very useful for our continuing progress.

But the workshop was not the end of the dialogue; it continued – and is continuing – on Twitter. The persons responsible for energy at Telefónica, such as the Head of Climate Change, Daniela Torres, @alisdaniela; experts, journalists, analysts such as Vernon Turner of IDC, @vernonxt, participated in the tweets in the channel @RCySost to discuss what was going on in the workshop, the initiative presented, the challenges presented, etc. Once again, social networks played a role in the expansion of CR and Sustainability. But this hot topic is not restricted to Twitter and Facebook; it is something we can all contribute to. That is real efficiency and growth!


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