O2 Plans to be the UK's First Net Zero Mobile Network

By Holly Brockwell on at

Mobile network O2 has said it wants to be the first of the Big Four to go Net Zero.

That means removing carbon emissions from its entire business by the year 2025, and reducing emissions from its supply chain partners by 30 per cent in the same timeframe.

Describing its plans as "the fastest and furthest reaching carbon reduction program announced by a UK mobile network operator," O2 says it's "setting the bar in the industry to tackle climate change and build the greenest network for customers."

All of which leads us to ask, when this happens, can we start calling it 02 (with a zero) instead of O2 with an O? Because it drives us mad when people do that.

CEO2 Mark Evans sadly did not address this in his statement, but instead said:

"Today, we’re putting a stake in the ground. We want to go further and faster, setting the bar in our industry to tackle climate change and build the greenest network for our customers. Every office, every store, every mast. We will get the changes done to be a Net Zero Business by 2025.

Mobile can play a pivotal role to make our country more sustainable. From smart metering to smarter working. O2 will work with suppliers, partners and customers to ensure that this industry plays its part in delivering a greener country for us all."

Another unanswered question: if O2 is going green, does that mean the blue-and-bubbles branding they've been using for literally ever will finally change? Judging by the fact that the environment page on their website is called "Our Blueprint," we're going to guess not.

Some of the ways the network plans to enact its plan include:

  • Switch its third-party landlords to a renewable energy supply (O2 switched to renewable energy at sites where it pays the bill in 2008)
  • Set targets for supply chain partners across the whole Telefonica Group to make them get greener, faster
  • Continuing its UK Smart Metering programme to reduce energy consumption in UK households by a quarter by 2035

Most interestingly, O2 says mobile handset manufacturers will be included in the 30 per cent supply chain reduction. Which means the network will presumably be putting pressure on companies like Apple and Samsung to cut emissions in making their phones. It'll be interesting to see how that pans out, especially with margins on handsets squeezed so much as it is.