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Leading a telco company in one of the world’s most climate conscious countries sets high expectations for green initiatives. Telenor Group’s EVP and Chief People and Sustainability Officer, Cecilie Heuch, had a chat with Lars Thomsen, CEO of Telenor Denmark, about their ongoing journey to create a more sustainable business to meet both Telenor’s and Danes’ demand for greener conversion.
Cecilie: What is Telenor Denmark doing to reach Telenor’s 2030 climate ambitions?
Lars: We are proud to be part of a corporation that has such ambitious climate targets, and we are committed to reaching our common goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. We are focused on energy efficiency in our network by investing in greener energy productions and AI solutions that reduce power consumption, saving tons of CO2 annually. In 2021, we are expanding these initiatives.
Parallel with our initiatives to reduce our energy usage, we invest in LED lighting on our locations, less transport, and traveling between our two locations. We are working on signing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a manufacturer to establish new solar cell systems in Denmark. With the agreement, we do not buy existing green energy but ensure that new green energy is established. As it is difficult to forecast ten years ahead, we will probably only sign a contract for 70-80 per cent of the expected consumption and buy Guarantee of Origin (existing green energy for the rest). The goal is to be up and running in 2024, which means we will be ahead of the 2030 climate ambition.
Cecilie: What is the opinion of climate change by customers in Denmark, and how is Telenor Denmark responding to these opinions and expectations?
Lars: Climate and sustainability are extremely important agendas in Denmark. In fact, Denmark is a first mover country when it comes to being climate conscious. Denmark is the world’s leading innovator and producer of windmills (land and sea). Danes are generally more concerned with sustainability than our European neighbors such as Germany and United Kingdom.
Both Danish companies and Danes have a huge awareness about the increased climate changes affecting our surroundings and the world in general. Danish consumers are increasingly buying sustainable and climate-friendly products. In Telenor Denmark, we are on an ongoing journey to create a more sustainable business to meet both our own and our customers’ wishes for greener conversion. Consumers expect Telenor to be transparent, honest, show commitment and action around climate. It’s a reason for them to stay with Telenor but not a reason for choosing Telenor, so be mindful of greenwashing.
Cecilie: What do you believe is needed from the telecom industry in general to achieve the UN’s 2030 climate goals?
Lars: Our network relies on energy, and the constant demand for higher data usage only makes it more crucial to talk about how we as an industry can become more energy efficient like expanding our green network initiative and investing in sustainable power supplies for our network. As an industry, we have a commitment to try to influence both our suppliers and the hardware manufacturers to produce and manufacture more sustainable products – such an important transformation calls for a joint effort where we as a responsible business do our best to ensure a global reduction of carbon.
Fundamentally, I believe that the climate crisis is a challenge that we have to solve through innovation. I expect 5G, IoT, and advanced analytics to be key parts of this innovation paradigm.