Energy minister Graham Stuart backed the initiative
Hull-based phone and broadband provider KCOM has set itself a target to be Net Zero by 2040 – ten years ahead of government deadline.
The company has revealed a variety of green initiatives to help it reduce its carbon footprint, with regional MP and Energy Security and Net Zero Minister Graham Stuart there to back it. KCOM serves 170,000 customers across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, who will soon transition to a full-fibre network.
Business Live reports that the Hull broadband provider plans to electrify their vehicle fleet and increase solar power usage, to take in exchanges across the network. It is also exploring ‘urban mining’ of obsolete IT equipment and infrastructure for precious metals and will offset existing emissions by starting a tree planting initiative in the local area.
Tim Shaw, KCOM chief executive, said: “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the planet today and now is the time to act. As a major employer in our region, it’s important that we take a lead and do what we can to show we’re serious about reaching Net Zero and combatting global warming.
“We no longer have the option of standing by and hoping for someone else to come up with a solution. We already work with great local initiatives such as the Oh Yes! Net Zero campaign and The Waterline Summit, but today we are putting our money where our mouth is and making our pledges to reach Net Zero by 2040, which is ten years ahead of the government’s national targets.
“It will be challenging but we believe it is the right thing to do for our business, our customers, our region and our planet.”
To kick off the move towards Net Zero, is the £17 million programme to replace the legacy copper landline network with full fibre. The two-year project, first announced as part of the £100 million Full Fibre Future strategy in September, is one of the biggest infrastructure schemes in the company’s history, and starts in Beverley in April.
It will reduce KCOM’s electricity usage by 35% while removing a quarter of current carbon emissions. A pilot partnership with urban mining company N2S will then look to reclaim copper, nickel, gold, platinum, zinc, aluminium and tin from the ‘e-waste’, aiding a scale-up to tackle the mounting stock in homes and businesses, while reducing the need to dig for virgin materials.
KCOM is also partnering with Yorkshire-based family business Make It Wild to offset 1,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide by planting trees in regional nature reserves.
Mr Shaw added: “We’re already made a great start on our journey towards Net Zero. For instance, 18 per cent of the energy we need to run our Salvesen Way offices is already produced by solar panels.
“By teaming with innovative companies such as N2S we’re looking to eradicate our e-waste and feed valuable rare materials back into the economy. But we still have a long way to go and the plans we’ve unveiled will be transformative for our business and hopefully set the benchmark for how other local and national companies view their approach to Net Zero.”
An interim target is to take the average of 27kg of CO2 per customer level down to 2kg by 2030.
Director of Aura Innovation Centre at University of Hull, Louise Smith, said it was “only right one of the oldest and most innovative companies is making this announcement,” while Mr Stuart, Beverley and Holderness MP, described it as “inspiring” from a business that was “a really visible one in our daily lives”.
Kenneth Ross, chief people officer at KCOM, is leading on the initiative, with Hull’s vulnerability to rising sea levels referenced at the launch, as well as the Humber’s teed up transformation from most carbon intensive cluster to Net Zero leader. Urging others to follow suit and get on board, he added: “There is no Earth 2.0. If we destroy this habitat we have left ourselves no option. We feel it is our duty to make a difference for this region.”