French incumbent Orange boosted its eco-credentials at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) by adding a new strand to its long-standing Cisco partnership.

Nick Wood

February 28, 2024

3 Min Read

Its enterprise unit, Orange Business, has been reselling various Cisco solutions for more than 25 years. This week, the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a joint action plan to share detailed information on their respective greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to better inform customers, and as extra motivation for reducing them.

It means that Orange Business solutions that integrate Cisco products will come with a baseline figure for GHG emissions, allowing both companies to keep track of them across their shared portfolio.

In addition to emissions, Cisco will provide Orange with the estimated carbon footprint of the Cisco products that Orange sells. This should help the telco get to grips with tracking its indirect – or scope 3 – emissions.

Under the agreement, Orange will be able to share all this data with customers, in turn helping them to meet their own environmental objectives.

As well as making for a good story for those all-important sales pitches, the expanded partnership will also help Orange and Cisco on their own journeys to net zero.

Orange has set a target of cutting emissions by 45 percent across all scopes by 2030, eventually reaching net zero by 2040. Cisco meanwhile aims to reach net zero across its value chain by 2040, which includes cutting scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream transportation and distribution, and use of sold Cisco products by 30 percent by 2030.

The expanded partnership also covers the circular economy. Orange Business will encourage customers to purchase re-manufactured kit through the Cisco Refresh Programme, and encourage recycling through Cisco's Takeback and Reuse Programme.

They have also agreed to collaborate on so-called 'eco-design' principles when it comes to creating new products and services. This means Cisco will provide Orange Business with lifecycle analysis data for its products, when available.

"We have an aggressive timeline to reach net zero and our partnership with Orange Business is a major step in that direction," said Cisco chief executive Chuck Robbins. "By sharing data and best practices, we are going to hold ourselves accountable to our shared goals and mission, and hopefully inspire others to join us in this journey."

Indeed, when it comes to getting on top of scope 3 emissions in particular, sharing is caring.

In September, UK incumbent BT partnered with SAP to launch a pilot of the software giant's Sustainability Data Exchange (SDX). It's a database that uses carbon data interoperability standards drawn up by the Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT) to enable companies to collect, trace and share data regarding indirect emissions.

It means that BT business customers who purchase services through the SAP Business Network can see the carbon footprint of BT and the products it offers.

The Orange Business/Cisco deal is an encouraging sign that more organisations are prepared to be frank about their environmental performance.

Aliette Mousnier-Lompré, CEO of Orange Business, said: "We encourage all stakeholders to embed environmental issues as a key priority into their day-to-day processes and activities."

On that note, this year's MWC also saw Nokia publicly commit to reaching net zero GHG emissions by 2040, 10 years earlier than its previous target.

Its net zero pathway covers everything from how it designs products and powers its facilities, to waste management, and carbon removal and storage.

Putting its money where its mouth is, the Finnish kit maker has subjected its plan to validation by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which helps organisations take concrete steps towards decarbonisation in time to meet the Paris Agreement target of net zero by 2050.

"Our new emission reduction targets show that net zero is a business priority for Nokia," said CEO Pekka Lundmark.

"We already help our telecoms customers to decarbonise by building sustainable, high-performance networks, and we work with a rapidly growing range of enterprise partners to reduce emissions and improve productivity," he said. "That journey will only accelerate, as Nokia launches more energy efficient solutions in next generation mobile, fixed, IP and optical networks and in software, silicon and systems."

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MWC 2024

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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