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iStock 1293372103
iStock 1293372103

TalkTalk’s drive toward a greener future

TalkTalk’s drive toward a greener future

Will Ennett, Head of Sustainability, discusses TalkTalk’s drive towards sustainability and how this is currently impacting the business, customers, and colleagues.

As the effects of climate change become more apparent, everyone has a part to play, especially businesses. 

Here at TalkTalk, we’ve been working towards net zero for some time and it’s promising to see more organisations getting involved. There’s a lot to learn when going green and we’re keen to share our own experiences so that together we can all do more.

Steps TalkTalk is taking to drive green change

TalkTalk is dedicated to driving green change. Our mantra is ‘we can – and must – do more’ and that’s why we’re committed to working towards goals validated by the Science Based Target Initiative, using climate science to guide us on our journey to net zero. 

The steps we’re taking are focused on four key areas:

  1. Carbon – We’ve already reduced our carbon footprint, but we need to do more. We’re reviewing every link in our supply chain to understand how we can improve, from greener transportation methods to using fully green energy.  
  2. Materials – We want to reduce, reuse and recycle at every opportunity. We’re working with suppliers to minimize waste, embrace circularity and create sustainable products.
  3. People – We empower our colleagues to make sustainable lifestyle choices both in and out of the office, by developing community groups where ideas for moving towards Net Zero can be shared. 
  4. Communities – As a business, we can raise awareness of the challenges ahead in the communities we operate in and maximize the power of our connectivity services to support wider decarbonization efforts. 

TalkTalk is an ISO50001 accredited company in regard to energy management. Our data centers and offices run on 100% renewable energy, we only use green gas and, in 2021, we started to take orders for the first electric vehicles within our fleet.

TalkTalk also has the vision to invest in a full-fiber future for the UK that is affordable, high-quality, and reliable. In 2021, we published an exclusive study with third-party environmental consultants and found that full fiber is up to 80% more energy efficient and produces up to 30% fewer Co2e emissions than traditional copper connections. 

How do these steps benefit customers and colleagues? 

A company’s supply chain forms part of its scope 3 emissions, which represent indirect emissions up and down the value chain. These Scope 3 emissions typically represent the majority of a company’s carbon footprint. Therefore, when suppliers to businesses, like TalkTalk, reduce their carbon footprint, it directly impacts customers’ scope 3 emissions. TalkTalk has reduced its operational (scope 1 and 2) carbon footprint by 80% in the last five years.  

When it comes to our colleagues, we have seen many of our people get involved through participation in internal sustainability-focused groups such as our #NetZeroHeroes team, a forum for employees to share their knowledge and experience on both work and non-work-related issues. 

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We’ve initiated a popular electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme, and recently ran a sustainable transport week giving our employees the chance to try e-scooters, get their bikes repaired, and access discounted public transport. 

How have these steps impacted the business?

To address the issue of supply chain emissions, we have implemented several initiatives across the business to identify and reduce our carbon footprint.

In our mission towards net zero, we are chairing the Climate Sustainability Working Group in the Digital Connectivity Forum, which brings together major fixed-line and mobile operators to achieve rapid decarbonization. Through these initiatives, TalkTalk is making significant progress toward reducing its carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future. 

What does TalkTalk hope to achieve with these steps toward sustainability?

We take our responsibility towards the environment seriously and we are committed to doing everything we can to help meet the challenges of climate change. Our company-wide environmental policies aim to embed sustainability throughout our operations so we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint whilst also helping others in our network to achieve the same.

That comes from educating and encouraging action from our own people, as well as our suppliers, delivery partners, customers and even organisations we don’t work with. It’s about creating a better future for everyone.

We are signatories to the Business Ambition for 1.5 Degrees, committing to net zero across everything we do by no later than 2050. As part of this ambitious pledge, we have joined a group of only 3,000 companies worldwide to commit to set near term Science Based Targets and are in the process of target validation.

What have you done differently to promote the green agenda and make real, positive environmental change? 

In terms of how we’re doing it differently, we are looking beyond just ourselves and instead trying to understand how we can bring our wider network with us. We’re not looking to move the problem or offload our inefficiencies onto external suppliers, and we’re determined to make real, positive environmental change through leading by example.

A recent embodiment of that is the launch of our Future Fibre Fund, where we offered small businesses based in Greater Manchester the chance to apply for a one-off donation of up to £6,000 to be used for eco-friendly improvements. This could involve purchasing energy monitoring technology, recycling facilities, working towards environmental certifications, or towards bigger investments such as solar panels. We also offered successful applicants1-to-1 coaching on what steps can be taken to reduce their carbon emissions.

It’s just one example of how we’re going above and beyond to work towards real, positive environmental change.


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