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BT sets out green ambitions post COVID-19

BT is in planning mode for the period in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, setting out two new initiatives that aim to build on the environmental gains made during lockdown.

Indeed, governments around the world are being called on to exploit the effects of a temporary lull in road traffic and factory production, promoting greener economies for the future. The UK target is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

BT has already set itself the goal of becoming a net zero carbon business by 2045. It has now launched a call for UK-based technology "scale-ups" to help the UK meet its target. The Green Tech Innovation Platform, in collaboration with US-based startup platform Plug and Play, aims to uncover new technologies in three main areas:

  • Smart streets: Insights from environmental monitoring and traffic optimization sensors that can be integrated into street furniture such as BT Street Hub units.
  • Smart buildings: "Internet of Things" offerings supporting energy and water management in social housing and other public sector buildings.
  • Remote working: Exploring how 5G-enabled products and services can reduce travel, such as video, augmented reality or virtual reality to carry out remote repair and diagnostics by health and other public sector workers.

The selected scale-ups are to be unveiled in autumn 2020, and will be given the opportunity to work on a collaborative basis with BT and its customers.

The second initiative, the UK Electric Fleets Alliance, has been launched together with The Climate Group and aims to support the increased use of electric vehicles. BT has the second-largest commercial fleet in the UK with almost 34,000 vehicles, including more than 28,000 used by Openreach engineers.

Philip Jansen, chief executive of the BT Group, said that despite the temporary reprieve on carbon emissions and air quality in towns and cities during the lockdown, the global climate emergency hasn't gone away.

"As we emerge from the crisis, the recovery presents a huge opportunity for governments, businesses and individuals to put action on climate at the heart of their efforts," Jansen said. "BT is stepping up on climate action and we want to encourage and help others to do the same."

For more on this topic, see:

— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

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