Data is vital if we are to turn climate risks into new opportunities. For major telecompany Telenor, this is an opportunity to simultaneously secure future growth and to do good for the world. This is the key message from Telenor CEO, Sigve Brekke.

When it comes to mitigating climate risks and tapping into opportunities, data has massive potential as a positive game-changer. The mobile industry and smart services through the Internet of Things (IoT) have the potential to cut global carbon emissions, reduce resource intensity, stimulate economic growth and deliver substantial social benefits.

This notion is an important driver for one of the biggest telecompanies in Northern Europe, the Telenor Group. The company bases its future growth on the fundamental notion that they can and should try to drive positive change.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure that our activities drive equitable and inclusive growth in the markets we serve. Doing so in a sustainable way, leaders must become ambassadors of change. Now is the time to move from words to numbers to impact,” says Sigve Brekke, CEO President and CEO of Telenor Group.

When it comes to climate change, the possibilities of applying more data are enormous – in close to all sectors and businesses. The SMARTer 2030 report has identified a number of sectors where the enabling potential of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) can deliver significant carbon emissions reduction – up to 20% by 2030 and close to ten times the ICT industry’s own direct emissions. This places ICT as one of the key instruments for the achievement of the climate commitments undertaken in Paris in 2015 and the implementation of related national action plans.

For Telenor this is a business opportunity that they expect will only grow in the coming years.

“We believe that a virtuous cycle in green consumption, awareness and green tech development will take shape in 2019, given a boost in large part by mobile technology. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s late 2018 report came as a wake-up call to those not already paying attention. As climate change worries and awareness of consumption both skyrocket in society, a wave of mobile-driven people live and consume more smartly than ever. In 2019, this wave will reach its much needed crest,” says Sigve Brekke.

The business of doing good

For decades, the telecompany has been working towards the ambition to bring connectivity for the many, not just the few. The company is thus committed to responsible business conduct and driven by the ambition of empowering societies. That’s why sustainability is – and has long been – an integrated part of how they do business.

“Telenor fully supports the UN Global Compact Principles, and together with customers and partners we are well positioned to help deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” says Sigve Brekke. As part of this work, Telenor have chosen to focus particularly on the SDG #10, “Reduced Inequalities” – since it is one of the global goals that is trending in the wrong direction and needs more focus, and is one of the challenges where increased connectivity and data is an important part of the solution.

Working across sectors

To catalyze positive change when it comes to catalyse the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Sigve Brekke believes it is necessary to work across sectors and partner with a wide range of stakeholders.

This is also very much defining for Telenor. In October 2018, Sigve Brekke joined a group of Nordic-based CEOs to announce a joint initiative to speed up the realisation of the SDGs.

“Technology creates new opportunities to solve massive challenges connected to health, education and inequality. Businesses and the public sector play a key role in facilitating positive impact on society – that’s why we need close and constructive collaboration across sectors and industries,” says Sigve Brekke.

A focus on partnerships is not something that is new to Telenor. Over the years, the company has engaged with the industry, customers, organisations – such as GSMA – and industry partners to embrace new opportunities.

Approaching mainstreaming

IoT Today Telenor is a top-10 global player in IoT connectivity, with more than 12 million SIM cards deployed and about 160 experts dedicated to IoT across the Group. As it is a major growth area for the telecoms and data industries, this is also high priority for Telenor, and in 2019, IoT will be one of the strategic priorities of the group.

“We think 2019 will be the year when industrial IoT customers crack the transition from proof-of-concepts, which we’ve seen in recent years and months, to large-scale commercial deployments,” says Telenor’s CEO.

Telenor expects IoT including the LPWA ecosystems stems to blossom this year, enabling larger industrial applications which to date haven’t matured quickly enough.

“We can expect to see industries start to roll out large scale IoT, particularly within the arenas of smart cities, industrial manufacturing and process industries as well as shipping, traffic and transport monitoring, and fisheries. In short, IoT is going industrial in 2019,” says Brekke.

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