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Richard Tarboton

06 February 2012
Richard Tarboton

Richard Tarboton, Director of Energy and Carbon, BT Group, sheds light on the company's innovative carbon intensity reduction target, the benefits of investing in the Clean Revolution for the telecommunications industry and how BT Group is marrying economic success and climate stabilization.

  • What was the basis for BT Group undertaking innovative sustainable practices?

The fundamental basis for our long term commitment to sustainability is to reduce our negative effects on the environment, hand in hand with cost reduction, and leverage our experience to help our customers enhance their sustainability through innovative products and services.

  • Tell us about BT Group’s innovative carbon intensity reduction target?

Rather than set carbon targets based on achievability, we wanted to set a target that enabled both economic prosperity and climate stabilization. Our Climate Stabilisation Intensity Target does just that. It creates a single target for the whole company that can be implemented across our different geographies. A model like this, widely adopted across industry, is the path to economic success and climate stabilization.

  • What are the most significant areas you see for BT Group in the next five years?

More advanced energy controls to reduce energy consumption, increasing delivery of renewable energy projects and ensuring better transparent purchasing systems are in place. This is important both internally and as they have future market opportunities for BT Group.

  • What is the most significant challenge faced in implementing the Clean Revolution?

The greatest challenge at the global, country, company and individual level is measurement. It is only through measuring how much we’re consuming and producing that actions can be taken to reduce negative environmental impacts.

  • Is the telecommunications industry beginning to see the benefits of investing in the Clean Revolution?

We’re seeing other telcos starting to set ambitious carbon reduction targets. This is good for the industry as it promotes a more environmentally conscious industry as well as keeping each firm on their toes in the race to be the most sustainable firm. What needs to be reported on more clearly is the year-on-year energy consumption. This will enable a more effective comparison between those firms which are actual leaders and those who just say they are.

Read BT Group's Clean Revolution case study.


Richard Tarboton is the Director of Energy and Carbon at BT Group, where his team have overall responsibility for BT’s energy and carbon strategy and energy trading operations.

BT currently purchase 0.7% of the total energy supply in the UK and are the largest buyer of green electricity. BT has topped the Dow Jones Sustainability Index eight years running, and was also awarded as the top sustainability company in the UK at the 2007 Business in the Community awards. Now Richard's team is aiming to achieve an 80% reduction in carbon by 2016 from 1996 levels. Richard also leads the BT wind project; the biggest wind power project by a company not in the energy sector.

In 2006, Richard lead the development of the UK Government’s climate change strategy for local authorities. In a previous role as head of the transport energy business unit of the Energy Saving Trust, Richard also delivered the environment transport programme for the Government, where he led investments in low carbon vehicle technologies and helped roll out business services to fleets across the UK to cut their carbon footprint. 

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