Vodafone targets net zero carbon emissions by 2040

Vodafone announces it will reduce the company’s total global carbon emissions to net zero by 2040. (Pixabay)

Vodafone announced it has committed to reducing the company’s total global carbon emissions to "net zero" by 2040, which cut 10 years off of its original deadline.

As part of the Paris Agreement, Vodafone also confirmed that its 2030 carbon reduction targets were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

By 2030, Vodafone said it would eliminate all carbon emissions from its own activities and from energy it purchases and uses. Vodafone also pledged that by 2030 it would cut carbon emissions in half across joint ventures, all supply chain purchases, the use of products it has sold and business travel.

By 2040, Vodafone plans to reach "net zero" across its full carbon footprint, which is in line with the COP21 Paris Agreement.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting and independently assesses companies’ targets in line with the latest climate science.

The telecommunications industry has ramped up its renewable energy and green efforts 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. 

As part of its transition to a low carbon business model, BT pledged earlier this month 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.

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.

In order to get its net carbon footprint to zero, Google purchased enough carbon offsets to essentially cancel out all of the planet-warming carbon dioxide that the company has released since it was founded in 1998. Google has been carbon neutral every year since 20017 through the purchase of carbon offsets, which means it offsets the emissions it generates from fossil fuels by investing in renewable energy projects that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

RELATED: Verizon pledges to go carbon neutral by 2035

In August, Verizon followed through on its commitment to use more renewable energy sources by entering into four long-term agreements. The renewable energy purchase agreements (REPAs) totaled more than 450 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity. The latest REPAs also build toward Verizon's goal of being carbon neutral in its operations.

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.