A1 Telekom Austria Group’s “digitalisation and climate change” study: Broadband is saving CO2
Climate protection and measures to mitigate climate change are defining issues both nationally and internationally. A1 Telekom Austria Group is an enabler for green and digital transformation and has set ambitious environmental targets as part of its ESG strategy as part of its social responsibility.
In order to demonstrate in a scientifically sound manner that digitalisation, and the broadband infrastructure it requires as a basis, offers considerable potential in the fight against climate change, the Institute for Economic Research, EcoAustria, conducted a study to this effect together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research.
- Results of the EcoAustria & Fraunhofer ISI study on the connection and potentials of digitalisation and climate change.
- Digital infrastructure is not only the foundation for growth, innovation and prosperity, but also makes a positive contribution to climate protection
- Huge future emissions savings potential through “mobile working and living” and “IoT applications”
- A1 Telekom Austria Group’s long tradition of thinking and acting sustainably will be continued with ambitious targets
Thomas Arnoldner underlines the enormous importance, ” A1 Telekom Austria Group has a long tradition of thinking and acting sustainably. Since last year, we have taken the issue to a new level through a firmly anchored ESG strategy, which is also part of the corporate strategy. Scientifically confirmed environmental targets and the recent joining of the European Green Digital Coalition are important milestones of a green and digital transformation.”
In order to demonstrate in a scientifically sound manner that digitalisation offers considerable potential in the fight against climate change, the Institute for Economic Research, EcoAustria, in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), conducted a study entitled “Digitalisation and climate change, Lever technologies, applications and overall effect of digitalisation on CO2 emissions”.
The team, led by EcoAustria director Monika Koppl-Turyna, placed a special focus on applications from the telecommunications industry, as these are seen as lever technologies to counteract climate change. “In the first qualitative analysis part of the study, we provided a systematic overview of the possible effects of digitalisation on the major economic sectors and their interrelationships, both in terms of resource consumption and the potential for saving resources and energy,” explains Koppl-Turyna, study author.
Broadband saves CO2
“Our results are essentially in line with previous empirical studies, according to which the CO2-reducing effects seem to outweigh the CO2-increasing effects on average,” says Koppl-Turyna, summarising the findings.
Specifically, the study found that broadband services help reduce CO2 emissions, Between 2002 and 2019, a total of 7.09 million tons of CO2 could be saved in this way. According to the study, mobile broadband has not led to systematically higher CO2 emissions in the past in the overall effect.
Thomas Arnoldner, CEO A1 Telekom Austria Group, “The results of the study confirm that we are a key enabler of green and digital transformation with our digital infrastructure.” Furthermore, an empirical study based on a panel data set for the group of OECD countries examined the overall effect of digital infrastructure based on econometric estimation methods.
Digitalisation and climate protection: a pair with future potential
This study shows that digitalisation offers considerable potential for a more sustainable society. Even if direct effects can have a negative impact on CO2 emissions in the short term, the versatile potential lies primarily in the leverage effects through the indirect effects of digitalisation. For example, the use of video conferencing and cloud solutions can reduce business trips and long journeys to the office, school or healthcare facilities.
Despite the numerous opportunities that may arise, the study also points to the possibility of unpredictable systemic effects such as long term structural and behavioural changes that can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment.
As an example, new shared mobility concepts may partially replace private motorised transport. On the other hand, this may influence the choice of residence and greater distances may be accepted, which could again increase the volume of traffic.
Pioneer for green and digital transformation
Specifically, the possibility of linking data in real time and connecting countless devices (“Internet of things”) can be harnessed for environmental and climate protection. More than 20 billion connected devices are already in use worldwide. Applications range from intelligent power grids and smart homes to smart traffic and logistics management.
With the A1 IoT ecosystem, A1 supports companies throughout Austria in seizing the opportunities of the Internet of Things and implementing IoT product developments. The basis for this is the “best network for the Internet of Things”, the IoT development lab founded by A1 Digital and Nokia, and numerous partnerships in the field of business and research.
A1, for example, has been working for some time with OBB and partners from industry on the digitalisation of the railroads in order to enable significantly more efficient, transparent and simpler use of the railroads through intelligent train control, digital transmission of control data and motion sensor technology.
Collaboration is also already underway with partners from industry and manufacturing on the digital foundations of smart factories. The basis for this is campus networks that enable secure networking of people and machines via 5G.
ESG as an integral part of corporate strategy
In addition to the positive effects documented in the study, the ICT industry can make a direct contribution to climate protection by reducing its energy and resource consumption. This is an aspect that A1 Telekom Austria Group has already defined in its ESG (Environment, Society, Governance) goals, By 2030, among other things, CO₂ emissions are to be set to net zero by reducing the company’s own CO₂ footprint and gradually switching to energy from renewable sources.
“Our goal is to be CO₂-neutral from 2030. We see this not only as part of our social responsibility, but also as a long-term value driver that brings economic benefits through lower energy consumption while reducing environmental impact and costs,” Arnoldner said.
As part of the EU’s Digital Day 2021, A1 Telekom Austria Group did also commit internationally to sustainable ESG goals by signing the “Declaration of the European Green Digital Coalition Members” (EGDC).