O2 has won the race to become the first mobile operator in the UK to secure the new Carbon Trust Standard certification after cutting its energy use 15 per cent over the past three years.
Launched last year, the Carbon Trust Standard requires firms to not just report their carbon emissions, but also deliver real year-on-year reductions in emissions without resorting to carbon offsets.
O2 said that it had attained the standard after saving 47,000 tonnes of carbon over the last three years through a raft of energy efficiency measures, including a £1.4m roll out of smart metering technology across the company's cell sites, offices and retail outlets and upgrades to more energy efficient systems across its mobile phone network.
However, Ronan Dunne, chief executive of Telefónica O2 UK said that while the company had made a number of investments in cutting emissions, it has also achieved significant carbon savings through surprisingly low-cost initiatives.
"Part of our success can be put down to a realisation that you don't always need to spend large amounts of money to see energy and carbon improvements," he said. "For O2, we saw some of our early wins from simple initiatives such as changing heating and cooling patterns in the offices and contact centres and our awareness-raising 'Flick the Switch' campaign targeting energy wastage."
For example, in addition to rolling out energy efficient LED lighting and boiler system controls, the company was also able to cut energy use by simply removing air conditioning units from some of its cell sites and reducing PC monitor standby times.
Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard, urged more businesses to sign up to the standard, arguing that it would help lend considerable credibility to their green initiatives.
"Both businesses and consumers share a desire for one, credible way to prove an organisation has not only measured, but actually reduced their carbon emissions year-on-year without the use of offsetting," he said. "The Carbon Trust Standard provides this credibility and we encourage more organisations to follow O2 in making this commitment."
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