5G can help reduce carbon impact across society, including the utilities sector, new O2 report says


The telecoms industry will need to reduce its own carbon impact, but also has a critical
role to play in supporting other businesses and industries reach their Net Zero ambitions, new report by O2 explains.

The ‘Greener connected future’ report, created in partnership with IC&CO and Cenex, looks to define the role that mobile technology and innovative 5G solutions can play in reducing the carbon impact across four of the economy’s largest sectors where there is ‘a clear opportunity for connectivity to drive significant reduction in carbon’: transport, utilities and home energy, manufacturing, and healthcare.

The key findings of the report include:

  • Through the application of 5G and connected solutions across these four
    industries, up to 269 megatonnes of CO2 can be avoided by 2035, which is almost the equivalent of England’s total emissions for 2018, which came in at 280 megatonnes.
  • The greatest impact is seen in the Utilities and home energy sector. 5G will help green the national grid and power the smart home revolution, which combined, is set to avoid up to 181 megatonnes of CO2.
    • As work from home habits look set to stay beyond the COVID-19 lockdown,
    up to 43 megatonnes of carbon emissions could be avoided as people become less reliant on transport.
    • New advancements in e-Health, powered by connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, are set to avoid up to 6 megatonnes of carbon emissions.


Mark Evans, CEO of O2, commented on the report: “As the nation faced an unprecedented crisis and grappled with the challenges of life in lockdown, mobile helped to keep families and friends in touch and allowed volunteers and neighbours to provide support to communities in need.

“As we look to ‘build back better’ following the devastating impact of COVID-19, now
is the time to invest in the technologies that will lead to a greener, more connected,
more sustainable future.

“Our focus will be to accelerate our recovery, with renewed efforts on productivity and sustainability.

“That’s why we announced our ambition to become the first UK mobile operator to reach Net Zero at the beginning of this year, aiming to eliminate as much carbon as possible from our operations by 2025.

“If the UK is to reach Net Zero by 2050, we need to play an even greater role.

“This report sets out a vision for how connected solutions enabled by 4G and 5G will power a green revolution over the next decade and beyond.

“The use cases referenced paint an exciting picture of what a prosperous, sustainable Britain could look like if it embraces smart homes and cities, next-generation factories, and greener ways of living.

“Collectively, we’re still at the start of this journey. It’s an important mission with exciting possibilities.

“If we invest now, there is a real opportunity for Britain to become a leading adopter of 5G and unleash the power of connected solutions to build a greener nation for generations to come.”