Digital and green transition or technology for the planet
The global health and economic crisis has highlighted the need to accelerate the digital transformation of economies to ensure social recovery, promote economic prosperity and protect the planet. In the European Union (EU), the recent increase in geopolitical tensions has spurred the design of an ambitious policy and regulatory framework to boost energy efficiency and reduce the region’s external dependency.
The World Economic Forum estimates that technological solutions could reduce emissions by more than a third of the required 50% figure by 2030. Digitization, with technologies such as 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence, big data or internet of things, is a key factor in achieving the EU target. sustainability goals. Applying these technologies to different industries and developing new digital services can accelerate the decarbonization of various sectors. Advanced connectivity and high-capacity networks can also facilitate efficiency and green our economies.
Digitization, key to driving the energy transition in different sectors
A recent report from European Commission Joint Research Center reveals that energy, transport, industry, building maintenance and agriculture are the sectors that emit the most greenhouse gases (GHG) in the EU. In the same document, he explains how digitalization could substantially change this situation to make these vital sectors of the economy more sustainable.
“There is no energy transition without digitalisation”
In this context, Telefónica has launched the Eco Smart solution, which makes it easy to identify the environmental benefits of each of the digital services it offers. Eco Smart establishes a mechanism for customers to help protect the environment by applying environmental and sustainability criteria in their purchasing decisions. Through the implementation of Eco Smart solutions, our customers avoided over 8.7 million tons of CO₂ last year, the carbon equivalent of planting 158 million trees.
Digitization of the energy sector
The European Union has proposed that by 2030, 45% of energy should be renewable. This figure implies a 30% reduction in current gas consumption. Digitization can provide data-driven solutions (analytics and forecasts) to maximize energy efficiency and match supply to demand.
One of the existing services is “Energetic efficiencywhich allows Telefónica customers to generate savings on their energy bills and reduce operating expenses related to infrastructure management. The solution includes the installation of energy monitoring equipment that generates information on energy consumption and other important variables. All the data generated is periodically sent to the platform, which transforms it into reports that provide information on the energy performance of the installations.
More efficient transportation
Road passenger transport should increase by 21% by 2050 and freight transport is expected to grow by 45% by then. Digitalization can support efficient traffic management and reduce fuel consumption.
Telefónica Tech has developed kite platform, the managed connectivity solution that allows you to control and monitor the fleet of vehicles in real time and remotely, from anywhere in the world. This initiative improves operational efficiency by avoiding unnecessary travel and accelerating the detection of security threats.
A climate-neutral industry
Industry is responsible for 37% of total energy consumption and about 20% of global GHG emissions. By 2030, the EU has proposed to reduce CO2 emissions from industry by 23% compared to 2015.
Connectivity and new technologies are the basis of Industry 4.0. which, together with real-time data management, can enable more efficient use of resources and more sustainable plant maintenance. In this sense, Telefónica Tech and Grupo Álava have signed a strategic agreement to create a predictive maintenance solution that will provide industrial companies with an advanced data platform. This platform will allow them to optimize their activity by being able to anticipate possible breakdowns of the machines used.
More environmentally friendly buildings
Buildings consume 40% of energy in the EU. By 2050, 80% of the population is expected to live in urban and intermediate areas. The EU wants to renovate the not insignificant 35 million energy-intensive buildings. Considering the environmental impact and the time spent in buildings, it is essential to promote smart buildings to increase efficiency while providing a good user experience and improving safety.
One of the solutions to achieve this goal in time is to use digital twins or technologies such as the Internet of Things for urban land use planning and predictive building maintenance. For example, Telefónica has enabled the automation, monitoring and centralized and remote management of several stores of the Tendam group. This alliance has resulted in energy savings of 15% and more than 3,700 MWh of cumulative energy in these commercial spaces.
Digital and green transition in agriculture
By 2050, agriculture sector emissions should increase 15 to 20% and 10% of the earth’s land surface will be unsuitable for crops and livestock due to the consequences of climate change. In the new geopolitical context, the EU must reduce its emissions and its dependence on imports of animal feed, fertilizers and other resources.
In addition to buildings, Telefónica promotes “smart agriculture” with the “Smart Agro” initiative. This proposal brings together the different technological capabilities available in Telefónica for the agricultural and livestock environment and transforms them into projects tailored to the needs of each client. Projects include monitoring, real-time performance and geo-data visualization of field assets to enable new business models, improve operational processes and reduce costs.
Our goal is to achieve inclusive, equitable and sustainable digitization and we strive to put technology at the service of people, reducing its environmental impact. We have collected some of these cases in our Digital Transformation Notebook on “Technology for the Planet”.
How to accelerate this transition?
Digitization can accelerate the ecological transition, foster innovation and increase productivity. Undoubtedly, next-generation telecommunications networks are an essential tool to achieve this. Achieving Europe’s environmental goals in time will require ambitious measures to invest in high-capacity broadband infrastructure and improve the use of digital technologies and opportunities in the private and public sectors. .
At Telefónica, we are already working in this direction with a double objective: to accelerate digitalization for decarbonization and to offer digital solutions to promote efficiency. Therefore, in addition to our portfolio of technological solutions to protect the planet, we want to have the most efficient and least polluting telecommunications network in the sector. Our goal is to make the connectivity we offer to our customers green. We are committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2025 in our core markets and by 2040 across the rest of our operations, including our value chain.
In addition to the benefits for the planet, the link between digital and green transitions will help create new business models and new jobs, as well as improve people’s health and quality of life.