In this blog our Head of Sustainability, Will Ennett, discusses the ongoing COP26 conference in Glasgow and what it means for us as a business.

COP stands for Conference of the Parties and is a summit of world leaders who come together to discuss how to combat climate change. As the name suggests, this the 26th in the series.

People often remember COP21, where global leaders formed the Paris Agreement. This is the framework we’re currently working towards, with the ambition of COP26 being make fresh commitments to drastically cut emissions and keep temperature rises to 1.5  degrees above pre-industrial times.

Ahead of the COP26 conference we worked with the UN, other climate change bodies and other companies across the industry to produce a pathway focused on how our telecoms sector can globally reach net zero.

The key finding was that renewable energy and energy efficiency are going to deliver most of the reductions for telecoms. At TalkTalk, already using renewable energy and our improvements in energy efficiency have helped cut our carbon footprint by 60% over five years, but we need to do more to ensure we continue to decarbonise.

Supply chain and electronic waste were also highlighted as issues in the report. We know that it is up to 18 times more carbon intensive to manufacture a new router than it is to refurbish and recycle an existing one, and we have made great strides in this area and managed to double our rate of equipment refurbishment in 18 months, thereby avoiding waste, but again, there’s lots more to do.

For businesses across the UK, the focus this week will be on how to decarbonise. At a leadership event in Glasgow this week, our Managing Director Jonathan Kini will be speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Net Zero taskforce within Business in the Community. One of his priorities will be to listen to other business and environmental leaders and exchange ideas related to best practice. One of the things we’re proud to be able to share is our report into FTTP, which demonstrates that it will use less energy than traditional copper.

At TalkTalk, we have a responsibility to fully participate in the global effort to decarbonise, and will continue to talk to our colleagues, customers and suppliers to help in the government’s Race to Zero.