BT Group hits 100% renewable electricity milestone globally

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BT Group announces that its network, offices and shops worldwide are now powered by 100% renewable electricity. (Getty Images)

BT Group announced that its network, offices and shops worldwide are now powered by 100% renewable electricity. BT, which says it's the joint-largest purchaser of electricity in the U.K, plans to run its global operations on renewable energy wherever markets allow, and purchase the remainder from nearby markets until local solutions can be sourced.

Currently, 99.9% of the global electricity that BT sources will be renewable. The remaining 0.1% are in markets that don't offer renewable electricity, which represents eight countries out of the 85 that BT Group does business in.

BT said making the switch to 100% renewable electricity would help it reduce carbon emissions in March of next year by an estimated 54,000 tons compared to previous financial year. The reductions are the equivalent to taking around 21,000 combustion engine vehicles off the road for a year, according to BT.

As part of its transition to a low carbon business model, BT has pledged to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045 and has set targets in line with the COP21 Paris Agreement. Since 2016-2017, BT has reduced the carbon emissions intensity of its operations by 42% and has reduced carbon emissions by 8% in its supply chain over the same timeframe.

Along the same lines, BT's Openreach, which has the second-largest fleet of vehicles in the U.K, will switch a third of its combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles by 2025.

In June, BT Group and Openreach joined forces with the Climate Group to launch the UK Electric Fleets Coalition. The coalition of 27 companies has called for supportive policy measures that target 100% electric car and van sales by 2030; extend grants for electric vehicles and charging points through to at least 2023, and speed up the rollout of public charge-points across the country.

The telecommunications industry has ramped up its renewable energy and green initiatives over the past few years. In June, Telefónica, which announced a green bond last year, said it planned to reach its target of zero emissions across four main markets by 2030 instead of 2050. 

RELATED: Google goes big on green pledge

In September, Google announced one of the most ambitious environmental pledges across the telecoms industry, which included its goal to only use carbon-free sources by 2030.

On Earth Day last year, Verizon announced that it would go carbon neutral by 2035 in terms of all sources of emissions owned or controlled by Verizon and all sources of emissions purchased by Verizon. It's also looking to source or generate renewable energy that's equivalent to 50% of its total annually electricity consumption by 2024.