As a leading operator, we aim to build a more responsible digital world by committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2040. This translates into considerable efforts to reduce our direct and indirect CO2 emissions, whether via energy efficiency, renewable energy, the circular economy, or carbon capture. This voluntary roadmap includes initial milestones to be achieved by 2025.
Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions
We are committed to reducing our scope 1, 2 and 3 CO2 emissions by 2040, with the first goal of -30% on scope 1 and 2 to be achieved by 2025 compared to our 2015 emissions; 14% on scope 3 emissions compared to our 2018 emissions; and a further milestone in 2030 with a 45% reduction in our emissions across all scopes compared to 2020.
Our Green ITN program has resulted in us avoiding approximately 3.4 million metric tons of CO2 between 2015 and 2022 by improving the energy efficiency of our networks and information systems. Gradually, we are replacing our old network infrastructure and deploying new, more eco-efficient equipment. This is the case with our two latest data centers which consume on average 30% less energy than our previous centers while providing equivalent capacity, meaning we can replace a further 10 data centers throughout the region. These data centers employ “free cooling”, a technology that reduces the use of artificial air conditioning by 80%. We’re continuing to improve that figures by co-innovating with various industrial and academic players in our labs.
Net Zero Carbon: a global commitment
To be Net Zero Carbon by 2040, we are committed to reducing 3 scopes of emissions: reducing our own CO2 emissions, reducing indirect emissions related to our energy consumption, and finally reducing the emissions generated by upstream by our suppliers and downstream by our customers.”
These three commitments correspond to scopes 1, 2 and 3 of our Greenhouse Gas Protocol, validated by the SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative), which drives ambitious climate action in the private sector by enabling companies to set science-based emissions reduction targets.
In summary, to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2040
We have defined an ambitious roadmap, with the first milestones in 2025, encompassing targets to increase our energy efficiency, proportion of renewable energies, circular economy, and carbon capture. Our objectives are monitored through performance indicators that demonstrate that our commitments are concrete and measurable.
Update on renewable energy in MEA
Orange is deploying a vast solar farm program in the Africa and Middle East zone, with more than 7,200 sites already equipped with solar or photovoltaic panels by end-2022. In Jordan, our three solar farms now meet 70% of the energy needs of our technical sites and we’re now aiming to extend the initiative to other countries, particularly Mali.
In April 2023, Orange received its first utility vehicle powered by hydrogen – the first such mass-produced model delivered to a company in France. Employees are also using solutions to limit business travel (videoconferencing and other remote collaborative work tools). Orange has approximately 300 videoconferencing rooms in France and almost a hundred more at other sites around the world. This figure is expected to decrease given the new collaborative solutions now deployed across the Group.
Reducing our upstream emissions linked to the purchase of goods and services, along with our fixed assets, will be done in cooperation with our suppliers (equipment manufacturers, transporters, etc.): this equates to scope 3 of the GHG Protocol. This is a significant environmental challenge because the impact of scope 3 emissions are five times greater than scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Deploying the circular economy
Increasing the lifespan of products: at Orange, we promote all aspects of the circular economy. In our core businesses (networks, data centers…), we’re increasing our use of refurbished equipment.
In 2021, for example, we launched OSCAR, an internal marketplace to reuse existing equipment in our infrastructure. In addition, through network sharing in Spain and Belgium, we can redeploy any dismantled equipment to the countries where we are developing new networks, reducing the amount of new equipment that must be manufactured and extending the useful life of our reconditioned equipment.
Understanding the Circular Economy:
The main purpose of the circular economy is to produce goods and services in a sustainable way.
By limiting the consumption and therefore waste of natural resources, the circular economy breaks with the traditional practices of the linear economy (extract, manufacture, consume, throw away). It optimizes the use of goods and services rather than their possession (functional economy).
From 2025, we are committed to ensuring that 100% of our Orange branded products follow an eco-design approach. Completely reworked from previous generations, the Livebox 6 was designed to limit its carbon footprint and support a circular economy approach. In addition to being easily repairable and fitted with a 100% recycled and recyclable plastic shell, the new Livebox has a configurable standby mode that, once activated, reduces its power consumption.
Our ambition also relates to the collection of used digital devices.
By 2025, we aim to collect the equivalent of 30% of our mobile phone sales volumes in Europe and 20% in MEA by 2025. The challenge is considerable because 80% of the environmental impact of a smartphone is linked to its manufacturing and end-of-life phases. With workshops operating in five African countries (Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, and Niger), more than 428,000 mobiles were collected for recycling in 2022.
By 2025, we will also offer phone repair, return, and refurbishment services to all of our European customers.
This type of service is already in place in our European stores :
Our device recycling initiatives have enabled us to develop, in partnership with Emmaüs International, a collection subsidiary that creates jobs in France and in Africa (Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, and Cameroon).
Investing in carbon sequestration
By 2040, we aim to reduce our CO2 emissions by 90% (compared to 2020) by acting on scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. To achieve our Net Zero Carbon target, we will also reduce our 10% residual emissions by investing in carbon sequestration initiatives.
Understanding Carbon Sequestration
Carbon sequestration is a process that captures the CO2 present in the atmosphere and stores it in natural “carbon sinks” (oceans, forests, biomass, soils, etc.) through physical and biological processes such as photosynthesis. All these carbon sequestration solutions help reduce the amount of CO2 present in the atmosphere and fight against global warming.
Implementing carbon sequestration programs
Rather than just purchasing carbon certificates, Orange has voluntarily chosen to invest in natural carbon sink projects, such as reforestation, agroforestry, and mangrove restoration. Given the project selection phase and the time taken for these forests to grow, the first carbon credits are expected around 2025-2026.
Orange uses the following criteria to select sequestration projects:
- Projects must deliver sustainable atmospheric carbon sequestration to store in natural carbon sinks (reforestation)
- Projects must include certification and registration with international standards such as Verra or Gold standard
- Projects must positively impact local populations (social and economic inclusion) and increase biodiversity, in line with two further Group commitments.
Orange Nature adds a new dimension to the carbon sequestration projects that we have been supporting for several years by boosting socio-economic development and preserving local biodiversity through carbon sink projects in Europe and MEA: in 2021, we joined the Livelihoods Carbon Fund 3 and co-launched a single-investor fund with Mirova.
Overall, we aim to produce a significant volume of carbon credits and capture a large proportion of our residual CO2 by 2040.
Achieving our Net Zero Carbon goal will take a collective effort.
While energy consumption associated with digital technology is increasing due in part to the exponential increase in its use across all sectors (industry, cities, transport, buildings, etc.), we are also raising awareness of how we can all do our bit to limit unnecessary screen time and build a more responsible digital world.