Challenge 2030: How We're Helping Make the Climate Crisis History

Climate change affects us all. Its impact can’t be underestimated – and if we’re to tackle it successfully, we need to take urgent action now. That’s why TalkTalk supports Business in the Community’s Challenge 2030 campaign.

The initiative builds on targets laid out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. It aims to strengthen the global response to climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. At our current trajectory, we will have used our entire carbon budget outlined under the Paris Agreement by 2030. To combat this, BITC is encouraging UK businesses to aim higher and accelerate progress – aiming to reach this goal 20 years earlier.

Leading the way

As the UK comes out of lockdown and we begin to restart the economy, we have a unique opportunity to catalyse rapid action, tackle the climate crisis and create fantastic jobs.  But building back better (and greener), will require strong leadership and we’re proud to play a key role in Business in the Community’s work.

TalkTalk Business’s Managing Director Jonathan Kini is the chair of BITC’s Net Zero Carbon Taskforce, which believes that businesses need to increase their focus on societal gains, take care of their people and pursue a purpose beyond profit.

Kini commented: “The next generation joining the workforce – often called Gen Z – demands that businesses of all sizes pay attention not only to their people’s wellbeing, but to the environment and the communities they work in too – and rightly so.”

While BITC’s environmental goals are ambitious, the economic benefits of meeting them are significant. Research conducted by Route 2 on behalf of BITC reveals that accelerating our progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2030 means we could avoid social costs of up to £1.1tn.

Mobilising the workforce

The time to act is now and businesses can play a vital role in helping facilitate the necessary change. To achieve these aims, there needs to be buy-in all the way through a business – cascading down from the boardroom to every member of staff. This is something we’re focusing on at TalkTalk. Will Ennett, our Head of Content and Sustainability, is working closely with Business in the Community and recently took part in a webinar discussing how we’re engaging with our employees to help reach net zero carbon goals.

One of the key activities is our Net Zero Heroes network which unites colleagues across the business around a culture of sustainability, and invites them to share ideas to help TalkTalk become a greener business.

The initiative focuses on how TalkTalk can reduce, reuse and recycle. We celebrate successes and share impact with the wider business. The Net Zero Heroes network is made up of members across a range of seniority levels - and while this is only the beginning, we are building momentum and membership is growing steadily.

We also offer a number of benefits which incentivise eco-friendly behaviour. These include season ticket loans for public transport and a longstanding cycle-to-work scheme. In fact, we recently increased the value of the scheme to accommodate e-bike options, to further encourage colleagues to ditch the car and cycle instead.

We appreciate that’s not possible for some, which is why we’re soon to launch a salary sacrifice electric vehicle scheme.

Going forward, we’ll be working with colleagues that design new processes and systems, to keep Net Zero front of mind. Whether it’s new products and services for our customers, or internal systems, we’ll always consider the potential impact for Net Zero.

Fibre is the future

In terms of TalkTalk’s focus in the immediate future, Fibre is an essential part of how we can help the UK achieve Net Zero by 2030. In addition to the benefits of fast, reliable, resilient connectivity that Fibre offers businesses – crucial in the post-COVID landscape – it’s also a far greener option than traditional broadband.

Fibreoptic cables transmit data using light, so they’re far more energy efficient than copper, and require only a fraction of the energy. As a result, less energy is needed to keep fibre networks cool, further reducing carbon emissions.

And as Fibre is rolled out across the UK, we’ll feel the environmental benefits in other areas too. Fibre delivers the robust connectivity needed to support bandwidth-hungry video software and make online collaboration the viable new normal. This will have a positive knock on effect of reducing the number of people commuting to and from the office, taking millions of cars off the road.

Reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030 certainly won’t be easy. But it’s critical. And with a coordinated effort by businesses across the UK, we believe it’s achievable.

If you’d like to discover more about Challenge 2030 and how your business can help make the climate crisis history, you can visit the BITC’s website here.