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Axiata Formally Commits to Net Zero

Axiata becomes the first telecommunications company in Malaysia to adopt the SBTi by signing Science-Based Target Initiative Business Pledge

by Shah Farouq

Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata or the Group) has formalised its commitment to a set a long-term science-based target to reach net-zero no later than 2050, by signing its commitment to the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi).

Jointly driven by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (“WWF”), the SBTi is the lead partner of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign – an urgent call to action from a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders, mobilising companies to set net-zero science-based targets in line with a 1.5°C future to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

In addition to aligning with the goals of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 on Climate Action, Axiata has responded to the GSMA’s call for mobile industry players to join the UN Global Compact Business Ambition for 1.5°C carbon reduction targets consistent with SBTi criteria. The signing today makes Axiata the first telecommunications company in Malaysia to adopt the SBTi, joining more than 50 others in the industry globally.

Axiata’s President & Group CEO, Dato’ Izzaddin Idris, who signed on behalf of Axiata said, “Demand for network coverage continues to grow and in fact, has accelerated following the onset of COVID-19, as people and businesses embrace digitalisation at an unprecedented pace.

“As we invest in network expansion and continue to improve our coverage with newer technologies, we are cognisant of the need to mitigate the environmental impact from current and potentially higher energy consumption whilst also implementing innovative solutions to address our energy needs.

“This signing marks an important milestone in Axiata’s sustainability journey , as we align with the global movement championing a stronger sense of urgency and real results from climate action initiatives.

“As a business that prioritises value creation for all our stakeholders over the long-term, it is important that our journey towards becoming The Next Generation Digital Champion across our footprint remains aligned with targets of the Paris Agreement, UN SDG 13 on Climate Action and the GSMA’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 for the mobile industry,” he explained.

UNGC Malaysia & Brunei Executive Director, Faroze Nadar, who witnessed Axiata’s signing, added that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed greater emphasis on governments and companies to reassess their sustainability agendas towards ensuring the achievement of societal goals such as the UN SDGs.

“Against this backdrop, we are pleased to welcome Axiata to a growing network of global corporates which are shouldering the shared responsibility of building a better world. We also commend the Group for its commitment to align to a 1.5°C pathway and look forward to the role it can play in climate action as a regional leader of the mobile industry,” he said.

Dato’ Izzaddin emphasized that the SBTi commitment will strengthen Axiata’s Net-Zero Carbon Roadmap, which is targeted to be launched by the first quarter of 2022. The Roadmap will lead the Group’s operating companies towards a single trajectory on industry-led climate action.

Under the Roadmap, the Group aims to reduce its carbon footprint by decreasing emissions from its network and connectivity ecosystem. These account for the largest contributors to its environmental impact under the Scope 1 and Scope 2 definitions of carbon emissions.

“Unless we proactively take steps to improve our energy efficiency, use more renewable energy and reduce the carbon intensity of our operations while contributing to regional digital telco green innovation, our network growth to support higher data consumption would only put more strain on the environment.

“Our Net-Zero Carbon Roadmap and commitment to SBTi will thus steer the Group towards achieving our climate goals and reinforce our stewardship role in the regional mobile industry,” he concluded.

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