Clean Revolution leader: BT Group

6 February 2012

This summarized case study is one of an initial set of eight success stories which illustrate the emerging global leadership of the Clean Revolution. The full-length case study - plus the other seven case studies and more information on The Clean Revolution - can all be found at

BT Group – Leading the smart energy technologies revolution

The information and communications technology (ICT) sector is at the forefront of developing and implementing technologies that will be pivotal to the Clean Revolution. These smart energy technologies, together with measures to reduce the energy footprint of the sector, could reduce global emissions by as much as 15% by 2020. And one company that is helping to lead this revolution is BT Group.

BT Group (formerly British Telecom) is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies  operating in more than 170 countries, with a 2010 revenue of over $30 billion.

In the UK, where the company is headquartered, BT is one of the country’s largest energy users - but it was the scale of its energy use that first helped the firm to identify not only cost and efficiency savings within the company, but a new and growing range of external business opportunities as well. It has also moved further and faster than many competitors, underlining the importance of a corporate culture actively supportive of sustainability ideas and initiatives.

BT’s attention to environmental issues has been longer than most too. The company first started measuring and reporting its CO2 emissions in the early 1990s, well before the Kyoto Protocol was signed, let alone ratified. This period of time has helped embed a culture of sustainability in the company, enabling and driving greater environmental action.

Innovative leadership

As well as pioneering a values-driven stance on carbon reduction, as an innovative energy-intensive company it’s clear that financial drivers are equally important in the delivery of BT Group’s strategy. 

At first, BT’s actions were all about quick wins. But it quickly realized that a major audit and upgrade of its systems to measure and control energy use across the network would be required. In the UK as a result, BT is investing over $26 million to install smart meters, control systems, and integrated energy-management platforms in all its key buildings. Payback of around $20 million a year is expected in the first two years alone.

And the process is fast: BT is retrofitting 120 sites per month. Some 22,000 smart meters are already installed in the UK. These will provide real-time data on a half-hourly basis, covering 90% of BT UK’s energy consumption. 

Through its everyday business, BT is acting as a catalyst for the Clean Revolution: first by demonstrating how emissions can be reduced while still maintaining growth; and second by providing the tools and technology to enable others to follow.
Clean energy future for all

As well as being driven by minimizing costs and maximizing business opportunities, a long-term, internal commitment to carbon reduction, plus a further commitment to pass on cost reductions to customers have also accelerated change. Because of this, the company has set bold targets and pursued continuous improvement in its energy-reduction and sustainability measures.

Since 1997 it achieved a 59% cut in net CO2 emissions. By 2020, BT aims to have reduced its net CO2 emission intensity by 80% compared to 1996-97 levels. Significantly, BT’s targets were set in advance of the UK Government’s 2007 Climate Change Act, which commits the country to an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

By setting comprehensive targets that allow a wider, more long-term business case to be made, BT has been able to achieve a 3.5% net energy and carbon saving year-on-year despite its 4.6% network growth rate.


You can read more about BT Group's innovative carbon intensity reduction targets, the benefits of investing in the Clean Revolution for the telecommunications industry and how BT Group is marrying economic success and climate stabilization, in our Interview with Richard Tarboton, Director of Energy and Carbon, BT Group.

Read more about BT Group and explore the other seven case studies at

Your leadership

BT Group's leading work is just part of The Clean Revolution. Your leadership will drive The Clean Revolution - and your leadership is needed now. We’re looking for business and government leaders who can either help support the campaign or provide us with compelling case studies. Contact us now, to help us deliver a better, smarter, more prosperous future for all

Are you on Twitter? Then remember to use the #CleanRevolution hash tag to show its global leadership in action.


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