honest mobile becomes the UK’s first carbon neutral mobile network

Aug 12, 2020

We’re proud to announce that we have received our Carbon Neutral Company status. This has been part of our mission from day one and we’re excited to be the first mobile network in the UK to offer consumers a completely carbon neutral alternative.

what does being carbon neutral mean?

At Honest Mobile we aimed to build sustainability into the very foundations of our business. 

We started by offering carbon neutral calls, messages and data. This means that we have always offset the carbon emissions associated with making calls, sending messages and using data. 

Using your phone has other impacts too though and to be fully carbon neutral we need to consider all of these. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol defines these as Scope 1 emissions, Scope 2 emissions and Scope 3 emissions:

Table showing scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse gas protocol Greenhouse Gas Protocol – Scope 1-3[/caption]

We have been working with an amazing non-profit organisation, On A Mission, to ensure we accurately cover all three scopes and offset all associated carbon emissions through sustainable reforestation. 

how do we work out our carbon emissions?

Each month, we look at all the usage from our customers and offset your calls, texts and data usage. We offset the emissions associated with the manufacture and charging of our customers’ handsets as well as all the emissions associated with running Honest Mobile HQ.

but that’s not all!

We are also a proud member of 1% for the planet and donate 1% of revenue towards reforestation projects and planting trees for each of our customers to help them further offset their own personal carbon footprint. You can track how many trees you’ve planted and in the Honest Mobile app.

what’s next? 

While we are extremely proud to be the first mobile network in the UK to be carbon neutral, the next step for us is to work towards becoming Carbon-Zero (this means that no there are no carbon emissions in the first place). We’re working with our existing suppliers to encourage them to move to renewable energy, and also assessing where new partners might help us to become zero-carbon more quickly.

what are the commitments of other mobile networks? 

EE has been actively reducing their carbon emissions since 2008 and EE have gone on to pledge to create less waste, cut carbon emissions and increase fuel efficiency by 2030. This is a great step in the right direction, but without a clear target or deadline it’s hard to be confident in the network’s true environmental commitments. 

Next up is Three. Three’s ‘Responsible Commitment’ pledge outlines their plans to continue to reduce their carbon footprint through making changes to the way they operate by developing paperless billing, device recycling and more SIM only plans. Once again, there are no clear targets outlined and no mention of their plans to cut carbon emissions completely. As you might have noticed, we’ve had paper free billing since day one.

In July 2019, Vodafone set out an action plan that would see them reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by 50% and to purchase 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Then to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050. O2 have also set out specific targets for attaining a carbon neutral status in their latest pledge to cut all carbon emissions from their entire business and network by 2025. 

O2 have also set out specific targets for becoming net-zero in their latest pledge to cut carbon emissions from their business and network by 2025, as well working with supply chain partners to reduce emissions by 30%. 

UK mobile network carbon commitments

Whilst each network is taking important steps to reduce the impact the industry is having on the climate, the question remains whether it will be enough in our fight against climate change. 

why technology plays such a big role

The technology industry is committed to reaching net-zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement, but is this a bigger challenge than we realise?

Information and Communication Technology could use 20% of the world’s electricity and create up to 5.5% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2025, largely due to storing and transmitting data from billions of smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices. 

The number of mobile users is also increasing steadily. By 2025 we’re expected to reach 5.9 billion global mobile users and with 5G being rolled out, data usage is expected to soar.

There is no doubt that with all this growth, it’s going to become more challenging to meet our targets on climate change.