BT commits to responsible tech and greener future

Communications giant BT Group has said that it will only back ‘responsible tech’ in future, as it launches a new plan for the next decade.

It said also that the company’s future success will rely on being as sustainable and as inclusive as possible as a business.

BT Group, which has a significant presence in Scotland, recently set out the company’s future vision. The group supports more than 12,400 jobs across Scotland and its activities, according to independent research, generates more than £1bn to the Scottish economy in ‘Gross Value Added’ (GVA).

Outlining the vision, BT Group Chief Executive Philip Jansen said that customers, and society generally, now rightly expect businesses to act in a “responsible, inclusive and sustainable way”.

Launching its ‘manifesto’ for the next decade, BT said that the technology it uses and sells must benefit people in a way that ‘minimises harms’.    

The company also said that it is already developing products and services that help reduce climate impact, and set out how it plans to become more ‘inclusive and diverse’ as a business.

Chief Executive Philip Jansen said: “We will only succeed if we help solve some of the problems faced by the societies and customers we serve.

“This will be achieved through the creation of products and services that directly address those problems and by doing it in a responsible, inclusive and sustainable way.”

On the environment, BT said that it is formally committing to the circular economy model, in which products and services are designed to have as little impact as possible on the planet. The model is based on the idea of developing products that can be reused, repaired, and remanufactured.

BT Group is committing to creating products, networks, and operations based on the circular model by 2030, with suppliers joining by 2040. 

The company has been a leader on climate action for several decades and announced recently plans to bring forward its net zero target date from 2045 to 2030 for its own emissions, and 2040 for those of its supply chain and customers.

Last year, BT completed the transition to 100% renewable electricity worldwide, which means customers who buy mobile or broadband from EE, BT or Plusnet are now supplied by networks which are powered by 100% ‘clean’ power.

To support the shift, in 2017, BT signed an agreement worth £185m over 15 years with a Scottish wind farm to further support the provision of new, renewable energy in the UK.

Thirteen wind turbines at Stroupster, in the far north of Scotland, now provide the company with around 80 Gigawatt (GW) hours per year. In fact, BT has agreements with four windfarms in the
UK, including Fallago Rig in the Scottish Borders, helping to power the country’s demand for digital services.

Through its customers embracing new technologies like full fibre broadband, 5G, cloud computing and connecting more smart devices to the internet, BT has estimated that this will help avoid 60 million tons of CO2 by 2030.The Herald: VR headsetVR headset

Highlighting the potential of this technology, working with the University of Stirling, BT has helped to launch a “living laboratory” – a state-of-the-art environmental monitoring system designed to help businesses in central Scotland make more intelligent, data driven, and sustainable business decisions.

Using sensors, satellite data and AI, the laboratory will capture, process and share data from across the Forth Valley using BT’s EE 5G network. This will provide vital information to inform decisions that could help deliver major economic and sustainability benefits in the area.

Another new technology launched recently by BT is their new Street Hub 2.0 units. At the end of last year, Glasgow became the second city in the UK to benefit from the new digital screens, with the new unit installed in Sauchiehall Street in the city centre. The screens provide a range of digital technologies, including ultrafast Wi-Fi, local advertising and information, and can be fitted with air quality and CO2 sensors to help inform local authorities.

To address the growing debate around online harm, cyber security and the impact of technologies like AI (artificial intelligence) on data privacy and security, BT said its aim now is to become ‘the most trusted connector of people, devices and machines in the world’.

Its manifesto says that BT will commit to delivering tech that improves people’s lives, taking care to ‘protect against tech misuse’.

To deliver this new approach, BT says it will need ‘fresh ideas’ and ‘new skills’ and to be as inclusive and as diverse as possible as a business. This means recruiting ‘diverse digital talent’ that reflects the whole of society, and making sure that as many people as possible can access the benefits of connected technology.

With technology increasingly playing a role in people’s daily lives, the company believes this forward-looking approach is essential for its future growth and success. The Herald:

Philip Jansen added that, “for BT Group, this isn’t just good, it’s fundamental to our growth path.

“The BT Group Manifesto is about using our scale and technology to enact real change that the world desperately needs, while simultaneously growing our business by staying true to our purpose, we connect for good.”

To find out more about BT Group’s future manifesto, visit: