BT to Cut Carbon Emissions 80% By 2020

British Telecom (BT) said today it plans to reduce its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020. The UK-based incumbent telecom operator is already on its way to meeting that aggressive target, and last October said it would invest close to half a billion dollars in wind farms that could supply close to 25 percent of the company’s power needs by 2016. That was the largest investment in renewable power by a non-power company in the UK.

As telecom operators start to use more and more power to run increasingly complex networks, the companies are becoming responsible for rising carbon emissions. BT is one of the few telcos that has actively started to work on reducing its corporate footprint through a variety of methods (like installing renewable energy systems). In February BT switched on a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system for its North American HQ. While it’s a small system, every little bit of clean power helps.

BT’s U.S. counterparts have been relatively silent compared to the British company when it comes to carbon reducing strategies. That’s not too surprising as the U.S. telcos often move slower on new initiatives, and the U.K. market is generally ahead of the U.S. on carbon reduction.

BT also says the company has created a new tool called the Climate Stabilisation Intensity (CSI) Target to measure and track carbon emissions. Developed by Dr Chris Tuppen, BT’s director of sustainable development, says the system “links a company’s financial and environmental performance to the necessary CO2 reductions.” We’re not sure how the details of the system works, and we are waiting to hear more on that from BT.