Reflections are only that, reflections, nothing more nothing less. Often these reflections are related to books I read, but occasionally also other things. These are often written very late, very fast,  using notes from my mobile phone, so the grammar and spelling is horrible.

The report: "Low Carbon Telecommunications Solutions in China: Current Reductions and Future Potential"

Today the report ” Low Carbon Telecommunications Solutions in China: Current Reductions and Future Potential” was launched in China.

The process from idea to report has been very interesting and rewarding. It is in many ways one of the most interesting reports I've been part of writing. I want to thank everyone that was involved and look forward to further collaboration. I think this report is a landmark study in many ways:

1. For the first time (to my knowledge) a company has made a full assessment of its positive contributions to society through the services it’s providing (in this case everything from smart logistics and teleworking to e-readers and smart lighting) and compared this with its negative emissions through its own operation and value chain (Scope 1-3).

2. It clearly shows that by both having a product/company perspective (the traditional) way of measuring a companies climate impact and the service perspective gives a better understanding of the climate impact of a company and hopefully such a “total emission approach” can turn into a global standard for major corporations within a few years.

3. The report (and press release) focuses on transformative solutions where new ways to provide services is the focus. Most other reports and studies today still focus on incremental improvements in existing systems (even though we know that this is not enough and often result in high-carbon lockin).

4. Through the calculations China Mobile can reasonably claim to be climate positive and a solution company that needs support to grow in order to deliver more of these solutions. To understand what companies that need to grow is important and I hope we will see more of these assessments soon for other companies and sectors.

5. Through the policy recommendations the report help to establish the need for focus on companies with solutions. If China include this perspective in the 12th 5 year plan, as recommended in the report, this would be a historic shift from problems (the big polluters) to solution providers (companies providing transformative solutions by delivering the services we need in a much better way.)

6. By using accepted methodologies the report demonstrate that it is possible to get an understanding of the savings from a companies services. It also demonstrates the need to further develop the methodologies and frameworks to A. Indentify, B. Measure and C. Report, positive contributions from companies.

7. Demonstrating clearly that thought-leadership and actual action in key areas are happening in China and that China can become a key provider of the solutions we need to reduce the CO2 emissions and the use of natural resources.

8. The report list key actions that are needed to accelerate uptake of transformative solutions. This provides a platform for further action among stakeholders working to support a low carbon future.

I guess I listed eight key areas that I hope to focus more on after this study.

Below is the press release +++++++++++++ Beijing, China. A joint China Mobile and WWF study has shown the huge potential low carbon telecom solutions have to reduce carbon emissions, with savings from Chinese telecom solutions in 2008 estimated at being similar to the total CO2 emissions of countries like Sweden, Denmark or Finland.

Low Carbon Telecommunications Solutions in China: Current Reductions and Future Potential, which was presented today at the Telecommunications Sector Conference for Energy Efficiency and Emission Reduction in Beijing was carried out by the Service Management Science Research Institute of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

It estimates direct CO2 emissions savings from low carbon telecom solutions provided by China Mobile in 2008 at 48.5 million tonnes or just over six times the company’s own emissions. For 2009, the savings were 58.2 million tonnes, almost six and a half times company emissions.

“It is important to pay attention to the companies that deliver the solutions society needs, and not only focus on those that are big emitters,” said Dermot O’Gorman, the Country Representative of WWF China. “We want to support China and Chinese companies to take the lead in a solution approach that can deliver results not just in China, but globally.”

The estimates were based on detailed analysis of direct savings from 14 low carbon information communication technologies (ICTs) offered by China Mobile which were categorised into smart logistics (like matching truck journeys to load needs), dematerialisation (saving paper and other materials), smart work (reducing commuting and travel needs) and smart appliances (remotely monitored and controlled for energy savings).

The estimates are also conservative, disregarding the potential for indirect savings. For instance, while the energy implications from savings in paper from putting newspapers, sales brochures and invoicing online are calculated, no account is taken of the reduced needs for transport, storage and waste disposal or the knock-on infrastructure implications of such reductions.

“We are happy to present this joint report with WWF that clearly demonstrates the important role of the mobile telecom sector in helping China to move towards a low carbon economy,” said Jianzhou Wang, the President of China Mobile Communications Corporation.

“Many of our solutions are transformative and help people get better service with dramatically reduced emissions.”

The largest single current savings in carbon emissions lay in reducing commuting through teleworking, which could save an estimated 340 million tonnes of CO2 emissions China-wide in 2020. However, the savings from virtual meetings will increase at a much greater rate to an estimated 623 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030 when such meetings reduce the demand for commercial aviation by nearly 40 per cent.

The potential savings from smart logistics, dematerialization, smart work (including smart meeting and smart commuting) as a whole in 2010 is 399 million tons, 615 million tons in 2020 and 1298 million tons in 2030.

“This would be a significant contribution to the global greenhouse gas emission reductions and an important contribution to China’s target to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 40 to 45% by the year 2020,” said Yanli Hou, the Director of Climate Change and Energy Programme of WWF China.

“With the already existing savings and the great potential we look forward to continuing to explore the opportunities for China Mobile to contribute to a low carbon society,” said Guangze Qin, the Director of Working Group of Green Action Plan of China Mobile Communications Corporation.

The report recommends the recognition of the contribution of low carbon ICT solutions in China’s next five year plan, along with targets for the emissions reductions to be delivered.

“The government should stipulate emissions limits for certain services to support innovation and heighten the sense of industrial discipline in order to increase the incentive to use low carbon ICT solutions,” said Mr. Qin.