The growing needs of energy efficiency and sustainability need to ensure that all players involved in the end-to-end service delivery focuses on it, and deliver needed progress.
MEDIA 7: You are on a mission to drive Orange to become net-zero carbon by 2040. Could you please tell us a little bit about the strategy you have in place towards this goal?
HERVÉ SUQUET: Orange, as a trusted partner, gives everyone the keys to a responsible digital world. While technology can help combat global warming, particularly by reducing travel, we’re still making every effort to reduce our own carbon footprint. Indeed, we’ve committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years earlier than the objectives set by the rest of the sector, in line with our original ambitions stated in 2015 during the Paris Agreement on climate change.
To achieve this goal, we are following a strict energy efficiency policy, increasing our consumption of renewable energies, developing our circular economy and investing in carbon capture solutions to reduce our residual emissions. Therefore, we have defined an ambitious roadmap, in conformity with best practices, with the first step in 2025. The 2025 objectives have been validated for scopes 1, 2 and 3 by the SBTi initiative (Science Based Targets initiative), which is the international scientific expert in the evaluation of companies’ climate targets.
Energy is one of the key elements to master to achieve this roadmap, and Orange has set up a global program to ensure it will be met. This program is articulated around a simple driver: less energy usage, less cost, and less CO2. It is supported by an appropriate governance model, an Energy dashboard, and a full catalog of actions, best practices, and recommendations to implement. Full support of the whole ecosystem will also be key for enabling our industry to succeed in this climate challenge, including for example our suppliers with eco-design, energy efficiency run mode (zero energy for zero traffic), Towerco, and ESCO commitment toward green energy, etc.
M7: Leading the Orange Group Energy Efficiency program, what is top on your list that you want to achieve this year?
HS: For Orange, improving our Energy Efficiency is a continuous and never-ending story, combining short, mid, and long-term actions, building on both one-shot and recurring levers. As an example of long-term actions, Orange is strongly involved in the normalization process to ensure the Energy efficiency of all our equipment, targeting the zero traffic / zero consumption rule. As an example of recurring actions, each of our data-center needs to be permanently monitored and managed to ensure its operation are rightly tuned for the best energy efficiency, taking into account the evolution of the equipment hosted, their effective load, the external climate evolution, etc.
Regarding more specifically 2022 key objectives, we will continue to accelerate on our ambition to secure a better and bigger part of green energy sourcing, thanks to cPPA (Solar/Wind), solar farms projects, solar as a service project for on-site consumption (data centers, office buildings, RAN sites). In parallel, we will further progress on better mastering the cost of energy sourcing, especially in Europe where we must face, and can work with, a more complex and more efficient energy market.
The above actions will need to be supported by further efforts in technical energy efficiency, and efficiency that we can benchmark across operations thanks to the two key selected KPIs that is the per country RAN kWh/Gb and per data-centers PUE. All this will be supported by continuous improvement in our reporting and analysis capability around energy usage and cost, with more specific efforts put on our capability to better forecast future needs (MWh), cost, and carbon footprint, including expected improvement from our various action plan.
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It’s only by working together that we will achieve our common objectives to reduce carbon footprint and master our cost.
M7: What is your approach towards building and implementing a strategy while ensuring the best cash usage and ROI?
HS: As for all our operations, new projects need to be analyzed combining both the expected strategic outputs and the planned ROI. From a Telecommunication point of view, on Energy domain, this translates into two key dimensions: Dedicated Energy investment tend to have a longer ROI than our core Telco investment, hence the importance of partnering with Energy specialist with whom we can build long-term As-A-Service contracts is a win/win approach. Case by case analysis is made to decide, per project or portion of a project, which model (Capex vs As-A-Service) will be the more efficient. Energy usage, both from a cost and Carbon impact, is not only our direct responsibility, but also strongly in hands of our more global ecosystem, including ESCO, TowerCo, RAN Sharing JV, and main Telco suppliers. It’s only by working together that we will achieve our common objectives to reduce Carbon footprint and master our cost.
M7: What are some of the different ways Orange promotes the principles of the circular economy?
HS: From eco-design to collecting, reconditioning, repairing, recycling, and increasing the overall lifespan of products: these are some of the key principles behind the circular economy. The objective is to produce sustainable goods and services while limiting our consumption and waste and thereby break away from the traditional linear economy (extract, manufacture, consume, dispose). We’re committed to ensuring 100% of our Orange-branded products are eco-designed by 2025. In addition, one of the main goals of the transformation from a linear economy to a circular economy is to massively reduce the CO2 consumption given that Scope 3 (undirect emission of the Green House Gas Protocol) reaches over 80% of the total.
A circular economy program (OSCAR) has been launched in Orange, enabling us to strongly support our 2040 carbon-neutral objective, and including several sub-projects such as:
Modifying OEMs behavior (negotiations) to push them to provide Orange with second end products.
Implement ‘’green’’ criteria to select suppliers in our RFPs.
Implement a marketplace to ease the exchange of unused equipment within Orange.
Implement a decommissioning plan to provide a global overview of available equipment to all Orange Affiliates.
Orange is also strongly implicated in ongoing work with GSMA and more than 20 Telcos to influence the telecom ecosystem evolution to support the circular economy to keep current equipment in use longer, enhance/increase infrastructure sharing, develop awareness on the circular economy, give refurbished the same presence as new in business proposals, improve the regulatory ecosystem in favor of circular operations in the telco sector, define energy reduction cap for IT&N equipment.
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Changing handsets every 3 years instead of 2, and bringing back old ones for recycling will indeed mare a strong difference in the overall domain carbon footprint.
M7: What are Orange’s AI-powered analytics and monitoring tools called Energy Big Data?
HS: Orange has developed a set of AI-powered analytics and monitoring tools based on Energy Big Data. The underlying principle behind these tools are:
M7: How are the growing needs of efficiency and sustainability driving shifts in the telecommunications industry?
To track and monitor all energy usage on all consumption points.
To build a per system energy usage model enabling to forecast energy usage based on business drivers.
To register and analyze all energy invoices/costs.
To synergize the above three components into a complete forecast/analyze/detect anomalies quality loop.
To proactively drive Data-centers energy & cooling systems to ensure the best tuning and operational performance.
To proactively drive RAN set-up to deliver the best service performance/energy usage equation.
As you have understood, I have already started to answer this question through my answers to the previous questions as the growing needs of energy efficiency and sustainability need to ensure that all players involved in the end-to-end service delivery focuses on it, and deliver needed progress. This is obviously, true for Telco gear and IT suppliers, both for the CO2 footprint linked to the equipment manufacturing and installation and for their usage energy efficiency.
But, it’s also an effort to be made for the various suppliers leveraging our Telco services, including for example OTT that are responsible for the rightsizing of the data flow and usage that they are generating. Last but not the least, it must encompass the whole ecosystem, including our customers, for example changing handsets every 3 years instead of 2, and bringing back old ones for recycling will indeed mare a strong difference in the overall domain carbon footprint.