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Telefonica: ICTs can reduce 15% of global emissions by 2020

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Telef nica has pledged to lead an information and communication technologies (ICT) industry initiative to cut global CO2 emissions by 15 per cent before 2020. The world's fourth largest telecommunications company reinforced its drive to combat climate change by challenging ICTs to step up the development of energy efficient devices, applications and networks.

However, Telefónica warned that although new technologies have the potential to reduce 15 per cent of global emissions, the ICT sector itself needs to review its own carbon footprint policies as part of the global energy challenge.

"While ICTs only account for two per cent of the world's greenhouse emissions, it is important we get our own house in order and reduce that percentage significantly," said Ronan Dunne, CEO Telefónica O2 UK. "Reducing carbon emissions will require joint efforts among ICT stakeholders which have to include behavioural changes and new management practices."

Dunne added: "At Telefónica we have targets and projects in place to reduce our carbon footprint. At present, we are developing energy efficiency projects in our networks and offices as well as providing products and services that significantly reduce emissions. In the short term, we are one of the major supporters of the industry-wide GSM Association initiative to introduce a universal charger solution on mobile phones providing convenience and environmental benefits to consumers."

Telefónica is rolling out its universal charger accessory across all European markets this year and in 2010 will begin providing universal chargers with many new phones. Telefónica's goal is for the vast majority of its new mobile handsets and chargers to comply with the Universal Charging Solution goals by 2012.

Telefónica is developing strategies focused on energy efficiency, sustainability, and innovative products and services to tackle climate change challenges. In this sense, Telefónica has formed its Climate Change Office which consists of five groups of work: operations, suppliers, society, employees and customers. All of these have specific activities based on business and corporate strategies together. In the UK, Telefónica's O2 was the first mobile operator to achieve the Carbon Standard accreditation from the Carbon Trust2.

There are numerous areas where the ICT sector can take the lead in improving the climate, the most obvious of these being reducing, or substituting travel requirements through the use of sophisticated telecommunication services such as videoconferencing and tele-presence.

Another example is the provision of devices to mobile customers which offer greater convenience and environmental benefits, such as universal chargers, which have already been launched by Telefónica O2 UK. Also, SIM-only contracts, successfully launched across Telefónica's O2 businesses in Europe, offer a popular alternative to unnecessarily replacing mobile phone handsets.

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