Telefónica commits to the UN to fulfil more ambitious climate targets to limit the increase in global temperature

28 companies worldwide agree to a new level of climate ambition


  • The company joins the "Business Ambition for 1.5°C: Our Only Future" campaign to help keeping the global temperature increase below 1.5°C. 
  • Energy efficiency, renewable energies and digitalisation, key to its decarbonisation process
  • It will add a carbon neutrality commitment to its energy and emissions reduction targets by 2050


Madrid, 23rd July 2019-.Telefónica is committed to establishing new emission reduction targets to limit the negative impacts of climate change, according to the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Group on Climate Change Studies (IPCC), which warns of catastrophic consequences in the event that global warming exceeds 1.5 ° C.

The company endorses "Business Ambition for 1.5°C: Our Only Future", initiative, backed by a broad alliance of businesses, civil society and UN leaders, to contain the global temperature rise at 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels.

Telefónica will review its current decarbonisation plans and consider a carbon neutrality commitment by 2050 following the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) recommendations. This institution had already validated the energy and emission targets for 2020 and 2030, which the company proposed three years ago under the Paris Agreement.

The company has met most of the targets two years in advance and is reviewing the others to bring them into line with the "1.5°C commitment":

  • Energy consumption per unit of traffic (Petabyte) stands at 64% compared to the original 50%.
  • 58% of the energy used comes from renewable sources (100% in its European operations and in Brazil), 8 percentage points above its target for 2020. The commitment is to reach 100% globally by 2030.
  • Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 37% against the established 30%. The objective is to reduce them by half by 2030.

Telefónica has recently set a new target to extend decarbonisation to its entire value chain: reducing CO2 emissions in our supply chain by 30% per purchased Euro by 2025 with respect to 2016 (Scope 3). 

Moreover, the company prevented last year the emission of 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 thanks to its digital services, saving 1.2 tonnes for every ton generated. The target ahead is to prevent the emission of 10 tonnes of CO2 in other sectors for every tonne emitted by Telefónica by 2025.


An urgent commitment to a global challenge

In June, global leaders, including Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly; Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact; Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; John Denton, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce; and SDG Advocate Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, collectively issued an open letter addressed to business leaders.

The letter challenges Chief Executive Officers to set ambitious targets for their companies in line with last October’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which made the case for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 

Companies are asked to set verifiable science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets against scientific best practice.

“We need concrete, realistic plans by 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to net zero by 2050,” said Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, UN Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit and one of the key advocates for the campaign. “Climate change requires an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society and business leadership demonstrated by setting science-based targets at 1.5°C will send strong market signals as we look to identify the scalable and replicable solutions needed to secure a world where no one is left behind.”

“We have less than 11 years to fundamentally change our economies or we will face catastrophic consequences,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, one of the SBTi partners. “For the first time, we are seeing business and climate leaders coalesce around a common call-to-action, sending a powerful signal that science-based target setting presents a significant opportunity for businesses to step up when it comes to tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, one of the SBTi partners, said: “The science is clear: to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must ensure warming does not exceed 1.5°C. The ambition is high but it’s achievable — and science-based targets give companies a roadmap for getting there. Corporations worldwide have an unprecedented opportunity to be at the very forefront of the transition to a net-zero economy — and there is no time to lose.” 


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