Carbon-conscious networking that can help deliver on your sustainability goals

Organisations committed to science-based net zero targets need to minimise the impact of their digital network infrastructure as demands for data and AI grow.

Carbon-conscious networking that can help deliver on your sustainability goals

Organisations committed to science-based net zero targets need to minimise the impact of their digital network infrastructure as demands for data and AI grow.

Sarwar is responsible for integrating sustainability into the way we design, build, sell, market, and measure the performance of digital products and propositions.

Sustainability has had a seat in the boardroom for some time – but it now needs to be operationalised, with CIOs playing an important role, if organisations are to achieve their carbon reduction targets.

Reducing Scope 3 emissions will be critical

Network infrastructure providers are a core part of most organisations’ supply chains, and that puts them front and centre under the Scope 3 spotlight. As organisations embark on their decarbonisation journey, they need a clear understanding of the carbon impact of their networks in order to be able to devise a strategy to reduce this by the target net zero date.

Three crucial questions to ask network vendors to inform your decision

Whether you’re deciding to stay with a network provider or choose a new one, it’s essential you take every opportunity to look inside their strategy and operations. A provider that can truly deliver the low carbon-usage levels you need will have woven sustainability into their end-to-end planning. Questioning on three core areas will reveal the extent to which they can support your 2030 goals:

  • What’s the carbon footprint of the products and services you’re supplying to us?
    You can’t change what you can’t measure. Now is an opportune time to baseline and track network carbon footprints in a standardised way, to help organisations quantify and demonstrate how they’re reducing their carbon emissions. Incoming regulations such as The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in Europe and the Climate Disclosure Act in the UK increase the imperative for this.
  • How are you lowering the network’s carbon footprint?
    Network providers should be investing in driving energy efficiency within networks to help lower their carbon footprints. By using networks with lowered energy requirements, organisations unlock a reduction in their Scope 3 emissions.
  • What investments are you making into continuous innovation to drive future savings?
    Market-leading network infrastructure providers can leverage their global scale to build renewable energy use into their services, to further reduce their customers’ Scope 3 emissions. This can be combined with optimising device and data centre management to both minimise carbon emissions and to accurately track and allocate emissions.

Global Fabric – a revolution in both cloud networking and sustainability

We have committed to helping our customers accelerate their sustainability as part of our work within this space. We have set Science Based Targets to drive us to being net zero across our operations by 2031. This work includes increasing the efficiency and lowering the carbon footprint of networks.

So, we’ve reimagined networking, to put sustainability at its heart.

The result is Global Fabric, a revolution in cloud networking. It’s an end-to-end programmable platform that will connect you both to the cloud, and between where you operate in public and private clouds.

It has the power to transform your operations in so many ways but, in sustainability terms, we made a deliberate decision to invest in deploying more energy efficient technology and to power this technology with 100% renewable electricity. As a result, our carbon footprint will be lower and, in turn, our customers will benefit from a lower carbon footprint for their networking infrastructure.

To help customers measure and track this impact we’ve calculated the carbon footprint of the entire Global Fabric network, and can allocate emissions to customers, using a methodology that’s aligned with ICT sector guidance built on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. In the future our customers will be able to track changes based on their usage of our network alongside their existing LAN and WAN devices through our Digital Carbon Calculator. Bringing this information together with our Carbon Network Dashboard will extend our customers’ insight into their networks, so they can make smarter, more sustainable decisions on how to run workloads and applications.

Compared to our existing MPLS network, Global Fabric will deliver a carbon footprint that’s approximately 80% lower*, when the in-use and embodied phases are combined. We’ll achieve this by replacing devices with more energy efficient alternatives, reducing the number of devices to deliver more output for the same amount of power, realising a reduction in embodied emissions, and using data centre locations with better Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). This will actively reduce our customers’ carbon footprints, and we will continue our innovation to push the boundaries of sustainable IT further.*

Visit our dedicated webpage for more information, including our videos and expert blog posts exploring the transformative benefits of Global Fabric.

*Sustainability figures and calculations:

Global Fabric and sustainability – key figures

Using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol ICT Sector Guidance by Gesi, BT has generated the following estimates:

• In use, Global Fabric will consume 8,326 MWh/year versus its existing international networks at 39,890 MWh/year — a 79 per cent reduction.

• Use stage gross carbon including PUE will be 2,964 tonCO2e/year for Global Fabric versus 13,596 tonCO2e/year for BT’s existing international networks — a 78 per cent reduction.

• Global Fabric’s embodied emissions will be 363 tonCO2e/year versus its existing international networks 2,185 tonCO2e/year — an 83 per cent reduction.

• This gives a total carbon in use plus embodied carbon figure of 3,327 for Global Fabric versus its existing international networks at 15,781 tonCO2e/year — a 78 per cent reduction.

• BT estimates the average power consumption of Global Fabric will be 787 Watts per device, versus 2,201 Watts per device for its existing international networks.

• Moreover, Global Fabric will be built using 1,326 devices versus 1,571 devices — a 16 per cent reduction versus its existing international networks.