ZTE has recently released its 2022 Sustainability Report and upped the ante by announcing its participation in the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
Launched in 2015 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the SBTi initiative provides businesses with a well-defined and scientifically derived pathway to effectively reduce emissions. The initiative aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement to enable companies to proactively mitigate the impact of climate change by implementing scientifically grounded emission reduction strategies.
Aligning with the initiative’s guidelines, ZTE said it aims to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 1.5°C temperature rise limitation pathway over the next five to 10 years, and ultimately reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
ZTE says the move marks another milestone in its carbon neutrality journey, following the introduction of its “Digital Economy Green Road” strategy in 2021. The company says, based on the criteria set by SBTi and its own strategic planning, it will develop tailored emission reduction action plans covering various domains, including corporate operations, product research and development, manufacturing, and supply chain management.
Inside the ZTE 2022 Sustainability Report
ZTE has been publishing its Sustainability Report for 15 consecutive years, starting in 2009.
In 2022, ZTE achieved a year-on-year decrease of 7.48% in greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1&2&3) whilst maintaining revenue growth. According to the 2022 edition of the report, ZTE also achieved a 14% year-on-year product energy efficiency enhancement and a 4.9% year-on-year reduction in total emissions for the use of sold products in 2022.
The report adds that ZTE implemented initiatives such as Intelligent Manufacturing Powered by 5G and dark factories to manufacture its products, resulting in a 9.3% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per unit for 5G products manufactured, as well as a decrease of over 7.13% in electricity consumption compared to the previous year.
ZTE also cited a number of awards and certifications last year for its sustainability activities. For example, in 2022 ZTE received an “A-” rating from the CDP for outstanding performance in climate change. ZTE was also awarded the CDP China 2022 “Environmental Leadership Award”. ZTE also received the ISO 14604-1:2018 Greenhouse Gas Verification Statement from SGS in 2022, becoming one of the first companies in the Chinese telecoms industry to adopt and implement this standard.
Digital economy strategy at the center
Notably, while these are the usual stats one expects to find in any CSR sustainability report, in this case, they’re only part of ZTE’s sustainability story. ZTE places its “Driver Of Digital Economy” strategy as the centerpiece of its sustainability efforts.
Put simply, ZTE isn’t just innovating ICT tech products to sell to telecoms operators and enterprises (as every tech company naturally does) – it considers the very act of tech innovation as a fulfillment of its CSR requirements because its technologies are designed to help both ZTE and its customers in “fulfilling corporate social responsibilities, supporting society’s digital transformation, advocating sustainable development, contributing to global communities, and advancing corporate governance.”
According to the report, digitization emerged as a crucial element amid the complex global political and economic landscape in 2022. Consequently, ZTE says it has focused on further enhancing its technological innovation capabilities to support global digital transformation.
ZTE channels that strategy through four key pathways (or “Digital Economy Boulevards”, as ZTE calls them): green corporate operations, green supply chain, green digital infrastructure, and green industry empowerment.
“The Company continuously strengthens its efforts in energy-saving and emission reduction throughout production and operations, enabling operators to establish comprehensive green and low-carbon networks,” the report says.
It also has the patents to prove it – by the end of 2022, ZTE had filed over 85,000 global patent applications, with approximately 43,000 patents authorized over the years.
Bringing ZTE partners along for the ride
The 2022 Sustainability Report also highlights ZTE’s emphasis on partnerships to achieving its sustainability goals and shaping the digital ecosystem.
“In 2022, ZTE forged partnerships with more than 500 companies across 15 industries, including industrial manufacturing, metallurgy and steel, mining, power, transportation, and large enterprises,” the report says. “Through the implementation of innovative solutions, ZTE facilitated over a hundred digital transformation initiatives, leading to the successful development of several flagship projects. These efforts have significantly accelerated the overall digital transformation and advancement of society.”
Moreover, ZTE is applying its sustainability strategy to its supply chain by enhancing supplier responsibility management and implementing responsible procurement practices.
“Through supplier CSR certification, risk assessment, on-site audits, and capacity-building training, the company encourages suppliers to establish and effectively operate CSR management systems,” the report says. For example, ZTE initiated dual-carbon audits for suppliers last year in line with its overall carbon neutrality strategy, conducting audits for 109 suppliers.
Steady as she goes
Looking ahead, ZTE is essentially planning more of the same, leveraging digital innovation to promote sustainable development worldwide and collaborate with industry partners to explore new opportunities for developing a sustainable future.
Notably, ZTE says it is actively developing digital energy solutions such as AI energy cloud, green power generation, and intelligent energy storage to expedite the journey towards carbon neutrality. And, of course, all of this will be guided by its new commitment to the SBTi initiative.
Xu Ziyang, executive director and CEO of ZTE, said in the report: “ZTE will stick to its role as a driver of the digital economy and strive for excellence while tackling the hardest challenges. With greater determination, we will join hands with partners across the industry to break new ground and ultimately contribute to high-quality economic growth and make the planet a better place for all.”
The link to the full ZTE 2022 Sustainability Report is here.