Bharti Airtel Limited (“Airtel”), India’s premier communications solutions provider, has formed a Committee of Board of Directors (“ESG Committee”) to sharpen its focus towards its Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) agenda.
Manish Kejriwal, Lead Independent Director on the Board will be the Chairman of the ESG Committee. Other Board members on the Committee are D.K. Mittal, Independent Director; Nisaba Godrej, Independent Director; Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Non-Executive Director and Gopal Vittal, Managing Director & CEO (India and South Asia).
The ESG Committee will provide strategic guidance and oversight to the company’s progress on ESG targets, initiatives and best practices. This will also include initiatives to respond to challenges posed by climate change through sustainable business practices.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel said: “Businesses have the responsibility to sharpen their ESG agendas to contribute to the global efforts to combat climate change and ensure inclusive growth. Airtel has always set high standards of corporate governance, transparency and has proactively laid out a comprehensive ESG roadmap. This empowered committee ensures that ESG is a priority for the Board in order to create long-term value for all stakeholders through sustainable business practices.”
Airtel has already joined the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’ campaign and adopted targets to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and emissions from its network operations. With this, Airtel has joined the league of leading global corporations who have committed to the 1.5°C pathway outlined by the SBTi – a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Airtel is committed to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 Green House Gas (GHG) emissions 50.2% by FY2031 from FY2021 as base year.
Airtel also commits to reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions 42% over the same timeframe.
Airtel will achieve this through multiple interventions including accelerated green energy adoption across its network operations, energy efficient infrastructure and processes as well as implementing sustainable business practices at its workplaces.
Airtel has also become the first Indian telecommunications company to join the United Nations (UN) Global Compact – the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. By becoming a signatory to the UN Global Compact framework, Airtel is aligning its comprehensive Environmental, Societal and Governance (ESG) initiatives to the global body’s 10 principles spanning Environment, Human Rights, Anti-Corruption and Labour.
Airtel is already aligned to the Paris Climate Accord. It has a comprehensive environmental management framework and is proactively implementing clean, fuel-based power solutions for its towers, data centres, switching centres and other facilities. It has achieved 97% reduction in network emission intensity for mobile operations (from FY16) besides 25% increase in renewable energy deployment in operations over same period via various green power wheeling agreements which helped in saving CO2 emissions. For the FY ending 2021 Airtel e-bills initiative saved 667 tonnes paper sheets), besides 5,554.3 tonnes of e-waste was recycled.