In a sector where the next revolution is just around the corner, the Telecoms industry is characterised by high rates of innovation in a rapidly changing technological landscape. This in turn is associated with a vast array of sustainability risks and challenges for Telecoms service providers.
The Telecoms sector has been revolutionising at a furious rate, especially so in the past few decades, with the widespread introduction of the internet, followed by mobile phones and more recently the transition to using smartphones and smart meters, which has led to an increase in mobile data services. New technologies, rapidly changing consumer requirements, the need for continuously modernising infrastructure to keep pace with these requirements, peaking demand in mature markets, countered by rapid advancement in emerging markets and increased outsourcing of services present a number of sustainability challenges for Telecoms service providers.
DNV works extensively in the Telecoms sector, carrying out H&S and ethical supply chain audits, assisting organisations with putting in place frameworks for identifying and managing their supply chain risks, training suppliers to embed sustainability within their own supply chains, and DNV’s International Sustainability Rating System (ISRS), which includes requirements of ISO14001, ISO9001, SA8000 and other international standards within one comprehensive system, is widely used. Based on our extensive project experience and through discussions with key sustainability personnel in some of the world’s largest Telecommunications companies, I have summarised what I think are the key sustainability risks in the Telecoms sector associated with 4 key categories: Environment, H&S, Supply Chain and general Corporate Responsibility requirements. Understanding and addressing these risks and integrating the most material ones within an organisation’s strategic and operational risk management processes would help convert these risks into opportunities, facilitating business continuity and enabling long term success in a rapidly changing sector.