GSMA urges industry leaders to evolve existing smart technologies in race for net zero

Underutilized smart technology could contribute 40% of carbon emissions savings required to meet net zero goals

LONDON, October 29, 2021 / PRNewswire / – GSMA calls on business leaders and policymakers to harness the potential of mobile connectivity and smart technology to achieve net zero by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels.

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Smart technology could contribute 40% of the carbon emission reductions required for the world’s net zero goals.

These connected technologies already exist. But today, new research from the GSMA, supported by the Carbon Trust, shows that mobile connectivity and smart technology are significantly underutilized by energy-intensive industries, such as power and manufacturing.

In the energy sector, connected technology is only used in around 35% of solar grids and 10% of wind grids worldwide. About 5% of the manufacturing sector uses connected technologies. And yet, these technologies could help achieve nearly 40% of the required carbon emission reductions by 2030, if these industries are to reach net zero by 2050.

the general manager of the GSMA, Granryd rugs, notedThe risk is that without widely used smart technology, the world will miss the net zero commitments by 2050. Business leaders and policymakers must act now to harness the power of mobile technology and connectivity as a as a key lever in the global race for net zero.

As low and zero carbon technology evolves, people might think that we will have to rely on future technological solutions to achieve net zero goals. At the GSMA, we disagree. We believe that many smart tools and technologies needed to reduce carbon emissions, especially in the energy sector, already exist – they are just not being used to their full potential. “

GSMA’s research focuses on four energy-intensive industries, including energy, transportation, buildings, and manufacturing. It shows how increased connectivity and mobile technology can enable global savings of around 11 gigatonnes of carbon emissions by 2030. These savings are the same as dismantling 2,700 coal-fired power plants.

As political and business leaders around the world come together to Glasgow next week for COP26, the GSMA encourages executives to consider our latest research that shows how existing technology can dramatically reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency. The results assume a halving of emissions by 2030, as demanded by the “Exponential Roadmap Initiative”[1], in line with the limitation of global warming to 1.5 ° C.

CEO of Carbon Trust, Tom delay said, “This new GSMA analysis of the enabling effect of increased connectivity in four energy-intensive industries builds on previous research from the Carbon Trust. It highlights the crucial role that smart and mobile technology can play in reducing carbon emissions and makes it clear that much of the technology already exists – it just needs to be rolled out at scale across all sectors. “

The main research findings include:

Energy industry

  • 46% of the required reduction in carbon emissions in the energy sector could come from the deployment of connected wind and solar grids – equivalent to 4 gigatonnes of CO2 or the dismantling of around 1,000 coal-fired power plants by 2030.

  • Today, connected technology is used in around 35% of solar grids and 10% of wind grids around the world.

  • Without the use of connected grid technology, the savings in carbon emissions would be about 10% lower, which equates to 1 gigaton of unnecessary additional CO.2 by 2030.

Transport industry

  • 65% of the carbon emissions reductions required in transport could come from digital infrastructure to support electric vehicles, working from home, as well as route optimization and road transport fleet management and of commercial shipping.

  • This would represent a saving of 2.8 gigatonnes of CO2 over the next 9 years – equivalent to 2.8 billion thefts of new York To Paris

  • Today, the number of electric car charging stations is only 0.8% of all cars on the road.

Building industry

  • 43% of the carbon reductions required in the building sector could come from the impact of installing smart meters in residential properties and smart buildings that use connected heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

  • The installation of smart meters and connected buildings would represent around 2.2 gigatonnes of CO2 over the next nine years – the same emissions as heating over 90 million homes over the same period.

  • Today, only 60 million commercial premises have smart electricity and gas connections, a small fraction of the total commercial buildings in the world.

Manufacturing industry

  • 16% of the carbon reductions needed for manufacturing could be provided by smart manufacturing processes, equivalent to 1.4 gigatonnes of CO2; equivalent to emissions from manufacturing 140 million cars

  • Today, connected technology is used in 1% of manufacturing plants worldwide

  • GSMA Intelligence analyzed the impact of intelligent manufacturing processes, including Internet of Things (IoT) sensors for more efficient factory production monitoring, diagnostics, warehouse management and inventory tracking.

For more information on this research and methodology, Click here; This microsite shares other research from the Carbon Trust and GSMA Intelligence on mobile connectivity and the role of technology in achieving net zero.


TO COP26, in the Green zone, the GSMA presents an electric connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) powered by 5G. It highlights how the spectacular connectivity speeds of 5G will help make the future of transportation more sustainable. Real-time air pollution sensors will also provide data from various locations across the UK.

On Wednesday, November 3, the GSMA will also host an event and roundtable with industry leaders: #MobileNetZero – How can mobile technology help us reach Net Zero faster, easier and cheaper? To register and get more information, please click here.

About the GSMA

The GSMA is a global organization unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver fundamental innovations for positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unleash the full power of connectivity so that people, industry and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organizations in the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA offers its members three main pillars: connectivity for good, industrial services and solutions, and awareness. This activity includes advancing policy, solving today’s biggest societal challenges, supporting the technology and interoperability that make work mobile, and providing the world’s largest platform. to bring together the mobile ecosystem during the MWC and M360 series of events.

We invite you to find out more about

[1] J. Falk, O. Gaffney et al. Exponential roadmap. 1.5.1 (2020).

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