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industry pathways to net zero

Industry pathways to net zero

How digital connectivity can ensure a sustainable future.

Accelerating decarbonization through technology

The manufacturing, energy and utilities, transportation and buildings sectors account for 80% of the total global CO2 emissions. Switching to renewable energy will not be enough for these industries to reach net zero by 2050. More ambitious, wide-reaching action is needed.  

GSMA Intelligence and Nokia have produced a whitepaper to explain how mobile and digital technologies will allow businesses to meet their decarbonization targets quicker – whether it’s by rethinking liquid cooling techniques or switching to electric vehicles.

Industry pathways to net zero

Inaction is not an option

Since the year 2000, we have seen 19 of the hottest years on record. And with higher temperatures come extreme weather events and catastrophic results for people and the planet. What can governments, businesses and societies do to stop the climate emergency? We all have a responsibility to build a more sustainable future. Mobile and digital technologies, such as 5G, cloud, automation and AI can play a crucial role, allowing businesses to boost productivity while significantly reducing emissions. But a transformation on this scale requires careful planning and commitment. 

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Four business sectors: manufacturing, energy and utilities, transportation and buildings account for approximately 40 gigatons of CO2 emissions per year worldwide

Manufacturing: smarter, more productive


Converting to smart factories could result in CO2 emission reductions of 1.4 gigatons by 2030

Connected smart factories hold the key to the manufacturing industry reducing its current emissions of roughly 16 gigatons of CO2 per year. Automating production lines, reducing plastic use in production and - developing a viable circular economy are helping decarbonize the manufacturing industry.

By moving to smart factories, leveraging IoT devices and automating labor intensive tasks, our research suggests potential annual productivity and energy savings gains of 10-20% by 2030.

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Energy & Utilities: switched on to sustainability

For the energy and utilities sector to reduce its emissions, a holistic approach is needed. A global switch to solar and wind grids could reduce CO2 emissions by 3 gigatons and 1.1 gigatons respectively by 2030. But equally important are efficient distribution techniques and enabling consumers to make informed energy decisions via smart meters.

Download energy and utilities overview

Energy and Utilities: switched on to sustainability

Transportation: a long road ahead


Transportation accounts for 8.5 gigatons of CO2 per year, equivalent to 16% of the global total

Mobile connectivity can optimize driver routes and reduce congestion. And we can all help reduce the environmental impact of transportation by increasing use of public transport and electric vehicles – but governments worldwide also need to encourage uptake. Our research found that the transport industry needs to lower emissions by roughly 4.5 gigatons over the next 10 years for net zero by 2050 to be possible – so immediate action is required.

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Buildings and smart living: constructing a better future

Fundamental changes must be made to the way homes are designed, heated and insulated. With greater integration of smart meters and energy management systems into homes, households can also be encouraged to use less energy. The commercial building sector has a growing responsibility too and, more sustainable materials and better energy efficiency are needed for offices and commercial premises.

Buildings: constructing a better future

What’s next?

It is clear that digitalization is crucial to helping industries reduce emissions at the rate required to reach net zero by 2050.

Mobile connectivity can help make factories more productive and more efficient, as well as enabling consumers to reduce their energy use via smart meters and management systems.

But technology cannot build a sustainable future alone. A growing number of governments and businesses have committed to carbon neutrality, but strategies must be backed by planned targets and actionable plans. We must all act together to achieve a sustainable future. 

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Over 130 countries have committed to carbon neutrality – but only 15 countries have either achieved or legislated their targets into law

What can I do to help?

We’ve put together a useful guide to give CSPs the information to help any prospective client with their digital transformation. It provides five actionable areas to accelerate decarbonization and outlines how you can provide clients with the connectivity to build more sustainable developments, create efficient transport systems, develop cleaner energy or deliver cheaper private network systems to small businesses.


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Real Talk: A Sustainable Future

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