Sustainability Analytics: Meeting Carbon Commitments Most Efficiently

James Donegan

September 2023

What makes a sustainable company a sustainable company? More and more companies are setting seemingly ambitious net-zero targets for their greenhouse gas emissions, with the dirty secret being that the path to achieving these targets is largely met with little to no actual emissions reductions from the company itself. These targets are being met through financial instruments, where renewable energy credits are purchased from a renewable energy plant in a different corner of the world and applied against a company’s operational emissions to counteract them on paper. So what can be done differently?

We build a prescriptive optimization framework, looking at how a major telecommunications company consumes energy, and output specific and actionable upgrade decisions that have been optimized to both save money and reduce emissions. Applying this framework resulted in a >10% reduction in operational emissions and energy spend. Furthermore, we look beyond operational emissions, and instead at embedded emissions of how a telecommunication network has been designed, and ask questions on what can be done to optimize this architecture. This included investigating the financial and environmental implications of reducing the real estate footprint of the company’s telecommunications network, finding billions of dollars of savings in energy spend just in the baseline location of New York City for the company.