Interview with Véronique Guibert – CSR Director at Orange Innovation
In this 3rd In The MIX.E interview, Véronique Guibert – CSR Director at Orange Innovation presents the operator’s commitments to the energy transition and its projects for a more environmentally friendly future.
Orange has been committed to the energy transition for several years now, with clear objectives to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2040. To achieve this, the operator has set so-called “intermediate” targets that are part of its strategic plan. By 2025, for example, the company is aiming for a 30% reduction in emissions in scopes 1 and 2, and a 14% reduction in scope 3, which is a real challenge because these are emissions that it does not completely control. And by 2030, it is aiming for a 45% reduction in its emissions on the three scopes.
In order to fully commit to these energy transition projects, Orange is involved in three areas: energy efficiency, renewable energy and the circular economy.
For energy efficiency, it is first working on optimising its network and IT infrastructures, with the primary objective of taking action at the design stage and investing in its networks, using standby modes at night, when traffic is lower, and decommissioning old technologies, for example.
There are also actions to reduce energy consumption because in this context of energy crisis it is important to be able to switch the power supply of part of the network to battery power, for short periods of 1 hour, in order to leave the energy for other activities that really need it.
In terms of renewable energy, Orange is aiming for a 50% renewable energy mix by 2025 in the countries where it operates (France, but also other European countries and Africa). This will be achieved through the signing of supply contracts and the deployment of specific installations.
In terms of installations, Orange has a programme to create solar farms to supply its technical sites (especially in Africa and the Middle East), either with its own funds or through partnerships. For example, 70% of the electricity needed for its operations in Jordan is covered by the production of 3 solar farms.
Finally, for the circular economy, it is important to look at the issue from the manufacturing phase. This is particularly the case for terminals (screens, TVs, etc.) which, for example, generate more than 65% of the environmental impact of digital technology. Orange has set up a programme called OSCAR which focuses on the use of second-hand network equipment. This programme has a target of 10% of second-hand equipment purchases by 2025, which requires work with the ecosystem.
Annual carbon budget
Environmental criteria have been included in the calls for tender. Orange has also set up the “Eco Rating” index on smartphones with other operators. 22 manufacturers have joined the initiative with the aim of being virtuous together. An “annual carbon budget” has also been set this year, attributable to the operator’s scope 3, which leads it to work differently and therefore to be more virtuous on the reconditioning and sale of reconditioned smartphones. There is also work to be done with the industry to extend the lifespan and software updates of smartphones to five years. The GSMA, which represents the mobile phone industry, has published a paper on the mobile circular economy and vision to 2050 to help the ecosystem plan ahead.
Véronique Guibert also explains that things are moving in organisations: companies have made commitments to the environment, but also to digital inclusion (this is part of CSR for her), and so they are putting pressure on the ecosystems. For example, Orange supports them by providing them with data on the carbon impact of the solutions it sells, which enables them to better control their overall footprint.
Orange also offers remote collaboration tools, intelligent mobility and process optimisation solutions. All this helps the sector to work on common objectives, but also to know what the figures are, to have a robust methodology to assess the impacts and act in the right place. There are lots of good ideas, but they are not impactful ideas, so we need to have robust methodologies, such as the one Orange submitted to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) standardisation agency to measure avoided carbon. Indeed, when a solution is put in place that can save greenhouse gas emissions, this methodology makes it possible to evaluate them, to identify the extent to which the solution can decarbonate, to become aware of the rebound effects, and to understand the limits and the “rules of use”.
For Véronique Guibert, it is the circular economy and the ability to work together – with suppliers and consumers – that will accelerate the move towards Net Zero. The suppliers of products to have a more adapted, longer life span of equipment, and the consumers of these products to accept, for example, not having the latest smartphone if one has a moderate use or because the human eye does not perceive the rendering and precision of an 8K video on a small screen.
The awareness that there is competition on certain scarce resources between the different sectors of activity is also important, because it is necessary to understand that instead of fighting, we need to think about the most intelligent use we can make of these resources in relation to the Donut Theory (the 9 climate limits versus the essential needs of individuals). Orange is contributing to an initiative that aims to model all this to help raise awareness and put ourselves in the right perspective with regard to these bundles of constraints.
Orange has developed an emblematic application called “My Energy Action Plan”. The aim is for subsidiaries in the countries where the group operates to be able to monitor their energy consumption trajectories and activate those levers in a catalogue that are adapted to their geographical area. The visualisation of the effects from one country to another makes it possible to identify good practices and to have industrial reporting to know where we are.
Finally, Véronique Guibert thinks that MIX.E is a great opportunity for exchange and cross-fertilization of initiatives and innovations that will help to achieve this Net Zero trajectory: “we cannot do it alone, so it is very important to create cooperation and sometimes even coalitions”.
3rd interview of the In the MIX.E podcast series to be found on our website.
Véronique GUIBERT – CSR Director (Orange Innovation)