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Etisalat: Powering Up a Green Future

At the 2021 Better World Summit (BWS) Dr. Ahmed Bin Ali, SVP of Corporate Communications for Etisalat Group, explained Etisalat's commitment to a green future in terms of technological innovation and business operations.

By Dr. Ahmed Bin Ali, SVP, Corporate Communications, Etisalat Group

A greener tomorrow

Governments, regulators, vendors, decision makers, and suppliers play critical roles in influencing and making decisions on what can be done for a better, sustainable, and greener tomorrow in their respective sectors.

Every day, we make choices in our lives that affect the environment, the climate, and our communities. The sustainability of the new digital economy must be embedded in our business practices, requiring us to leverage technology to be agile and resilient to disruption and develop new post-COVID business models. Now is the ideal time for the ICT sector to thrive and provide solutions that bring our lives closer to nature and sustainability. The next era of digital innovations is one where 5G communications, AI, IoT, and machine learning will enable new ways of living.

At Etisalat, we believe in creative solutions and adopting technologies that ensure long-term benefits to our planet and the climate. We play a key role in realizing the national ambitions of the UAE and also in helping to achieve the United Nations' sustainable development goals. During lockdown over the past two years, telcos have been instrumental in building the bridge between digital readiness and enabling communities to thrive, despite all the challenges the world has faced. And today, we're continuing our efforts to help the planet – we remain committed to GSMA's goals of achieving net zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.

Etisalat,green ICT

On the green journey 

We've transformed our infrastructure, converting our network from traditional coverage to coverage with fiber optic cables. They are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than copper cables, something that in turn benefits society. In the UAE, we've laid down 10 million kilometers of cables – the equivalent of 28 trips to the moon or circling the earth 274 times. 

However, it isn't just about ICT providing solutions for customers or the industry. It's also about how to help different industries to achieve their sustainability goals with digital solutions. By implementing more digital services and digital solutions, I believe that we'll be able to reach sustainability goals across different sectors. 

We're running various initiatives in the 16 markets we operate in, spanning Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In the UAE, for example, we've deployed cooling systems and hybrid solutions in more than 800 sites, achieving energy-savings of over 4 million kW and cutting diesel consumption by 14 million liters. In Pakistan, our ambitious solar power project is underway, focusing on boosting energy efficiency in 170 sites. In Afghanistan, we're applying the "super capacitor” concept to replace classical battery systems, which will cut energy consumption by an estimated 35%. Our efforts extend to mobile scenarios, with the conversion of shelter-type sites to outdoor units yielding 38% energy savings per site. In Egypt, we've continued deploying hybrid systems, which saves more than 50% in fuel. We've also implemented one of the key objectives of our digital arm, Etisalat Digital, to cultivate innovations and evolutionary services that can be implemented by our sustainable partners. Connected Mangroves, for example, is a new project that provides a solid example of how telecoms can apply connected machines, IoT, and cloud computing to boost yields by providing a full range of readings, like humidity and temperature. 

In another major step in our green efforts, we're doing more business through digital channels, including digital payments and digital self-service options both online and in digital retail. For example, we've expanded the self-service touch points in our smart stores. As part of Etisalat's Go Digital drive, we're running a number of automation initiatives to go paperless, including switching from paper billing to digital billing. In 2020, we achieved a 100% e-billing rate to customers and digitized our operations and processes, reducing overall paper consumption by 99%.

Moving forward, I'm confident that all of us will continue to play a major role in the new world, as we look towards providing safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible ICT services that help the planet for future generations. 

Developing power technology for greater benefits and at the same time maintaining sustainability goals remains our guiding principle.