The Green Act: the Orange Business Services commitment to greener digital technology

Launched in the wake of our strategic plan, Engage 2025, the Green Act program embodies the ambition of Orange Business Services to become a benchmark among ICT players for a sustainable digital transition. We take a look at the program and how its deployment unfolded.

Why launch the program?

Awareness of the climate emergency has become widespread in recent years, accelerating since the onset of the health crisis, and most large international companies now have carbon-neutrality objectives. According to Marco Bastucci, Director of the Green Act program, these objectives must address the strengthening of environmental standards and regulations, as well as the challenges of employer attractiveness, while taking into account business opportunities and budget savings related to the optimization of energy consumption and the circular economy.

The Green Act program was designed as the main lever to accelerate the digital decarbonization of Orange Business Services and its customers through its various services. It contributes to the Orange objective of achieving net-zero carbon by 2040. It also sets a 2025 target to reduce CO2 emissions by 30%, use 50% renewable energy, and collect 30% of used mobile devices.

“At the end of 2019, Orange Business Services organized a broad dialog with its stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers and NGOs. More than a hundred interviews were conducted to understand their major concerns and the value that we could provide,” explains Jérôme Goulard, CSR Director, Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics. “The first expectation was the environment: to measure and reduce our impact but also to support customers with their own challenges and their digital ecosystems.” The Orange Business Services CSR policy had to respond to this expectation as a priority, as well as those relating to Tech For Good and digital inclusion, including in particular the ethical aspect of artificial intelligence and trust. The Green Act program addresses environmental issues within the organization and its ecosystem while serving as a tool for growth and development.

Six areas of action to meet the challenges of digital decarbonization while increasing performance

The program was officially launched in October 2020, when CEO Helmut Reisinger signed the Green Act manifesto. It is divided into six main areas of action broken down into a series of objectives and is based on more than 50 contributors in the various operational entities. Each Orange Business Services entity plays a key role as a sponsor, expert or contributor in its activities.

Green operation

Structure and deploy an energy efficiency program for our IT and network infrastructure. Increase the use of renewable energies at our locations around the world, wherever possible.

Eco-design and carbon footprint assessment

Apply eco-design principles to our key products and services, as well as to our IT and network infrastructures. Assess the carbon footprint of the products and services we market.

Circular economy

Extend the principles of the circular economy to all our infrastructure, products and services.

Employees, skills and commitment

Develop a training and professional skills program on the environment, and encourage and support employee engagement.

Solutions for green

Develop a portfolio of products and services to reduce the environmental impact of our customers, and offer them consulting services related to green IT.

Green ecosystem

Build an ecosystem to develop innovation and share best practices with our suppliers, partners and customers.

 

Concrete achievements

“An interdisciplinary subject, such as the environment, requires the implementation of a certain agility,” explains Jérôme Goulard. “The teams contributing to the Green Act were trained in agile methods in a 'test & learn' approach to test projects and adapt within short deadlines.”

The program runs projects that reduce the energy footprint of Orange Business Services and its customers. “For example, we have put in place solutions that measure our energy consumption in detail, with the deployment of more than 500 sensors in three large data centers in Europe, and we implemented an action plan that enabled a 10% reduction in consumption between 2019 and 2020. Three new Orange Business Services sites have been certified compliant with ISO 14001, bringing us to eight major certified sites around the world hosting 50% of the workforce. Half of the network equipment deployed by the Customer Service and Operations entity for new installations is reconditioned. Orange Cloud for Business is carrying out a proof-of-concept to analyze the lifecycle of cloud services to measure their environmental impact and optimize it,” explains Marco Bastucci.

“We also help our customers with their environmental challenges by providing solutions such as the management of mobile fleets, smart buildings, collaborative tools and the development of new models based on IoT and data,” adds Jérôme Goulard. Orange Business Services has, for example, developed a new common value proposition on SD-WAN with partner Cisco, in which the environmental dimension is taken into account at each stage of the project. Finally, a new offer is currently in the works to encourage the eco-design of mobile or web applications.

A program based on the commitment of all stakeholders

The Green Act program is based on the commitment of all entities: the adoption of a bottom-up logic integrating operational teams in the design and development of projects aiming to mobilize as many employees as possible. According to Marco Bastucci, “a clear roadmap and tangible deliverables in each area of action mean we can show our achievements step by step and identify what can be replicated in other Orange Business Services entities.”

The success of the program also depends on support from external stakeholders. Orange Business Services teams thus discuss the subject of the environment in the context of calls for tenders and customer relations and integrate CSR in the various updates organized with the partners. “We need to move forward in tandem, which is why we try to interact with our entire ecosystem, whether through projects or joint statements,” concludes Jérôme Goulard.