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Vodafone sustainability report reveals 5G and IoT could reduce CO2 emissions by 4pc a year

Paul Lipscombe
September 16, 2021

Vodafone and WPI are hoping to put pressure on the government to step up efforts to reduce emissions

Digital technology could play a pivotal role in helping the UK to achieve its net zero targets, according to a report from Vodafone and WPI Economics.

Research from Vodafone and specialist economics and data firm WPI Economics revealed that the adoption of technology in manufacturing, transport and agriculture sectors could reduce the UK’s overall emissions by as much as four per cent a year.

And the adoption of digital technology could help the government slash emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, ahead of achieving net zero by 2050.

The ‘Connecting for Net Zero: addressing the climate crisis through digital technology’ carried out by Vodafone and WPI Report examines how existing tech, such as IoT and 5G can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the report, 3.3 million tonnes of CO2e can be saved each year through advancements in AI, machine learning and smart building solutions when it comes to manufacturing.

An additional 9.3 million tonnes of CO2e can be saved in the transport sector, while digital tech advancements can save 4.8 million tonnes of CO2e in agriculture.

Efforts to tackle emissions could also generate up to 175,000 additional jobs a year, according to a previous Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) report.


Vodafone UK chief network officer Andrea Dona has called on businesses and the government to work together to drive the adoption of technology.

Dona said: “Significantly reducing emissions from traditionally carbon-intensive sectors – such as manufacturing, transport and agriculture – is one of the biggest opportunities of the next decade.

“Businesses and government must work together to drive the adoption of technology that will maximise efficiencies and help the UK decarbonise more rapidly to meet vital environmental goals.

TechUK associate director, climate, environment and sustainability Susanne Baker added: “It is critical that Government, regulators and business work together to fight climate change and achieve net zero by 2050.”

“Digital technology has a huge potential to help us achieve our climate goals. Digital is already emerging as a key tool to support the net zero transition, and as this report shows, existing digital technology can have an even more significant impact in reducing our carbon footprint across the economy.

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