The European Commission has set an ambitious objective for the European Union, to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. This is the main goal of the European Green Deal, an action plan that would allow the EU to become a global green leader and improve global environmental standards. However, to fulfil this aim, the EU will need not only to invest in environmentally-friendly technologies, but also to count on Europe-based key technology companies, such as Huawei.
After becoming the first female president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen clearly stated that climate action will be at the heart of her presidency, and introduced the European Green Deal just right after taking office in December 2019. According to this plan, the EU will cut net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 and gradually decouple growth from resource usage. For the EU, this new deal is more than a simple series of initiatives to tackle climate change, it is also a new growth strategy which will promote economic development, create new jobs and build a more sustainable European economy.
In the process of attaining these environmental goals, new technologies will play a central role. In other words, digital transformation will act as a catalyst for a sustainable economy. Digitalization will allow Europeans to share information needed for environmental protection, improve the use of natural resources, monitor the implementation of climate policies, and create more environmentally-friendly mobility, agricultural and food systems. Therefore, digitalization and sustainability are inevitably linked, and its common implementation will be imperative to achieve economic growth after the COVID-19 crisis. As Annika Hedberg, Head of the Sustainable Prosperity for Europe Programme at the European Policy Centre (EPC) puts it, “aligning the EU’s green and digital transition policies carries enormous potential and should become central to the Union’s efforts to create a competitive and sustainable climate-neutral economy.”
As an environmentally conscious leading technology company, Huawei advocates protecting the environment through technology. Our planet is currently under pressure, and technology should be a part of the solution. At Huawei, we firmly support the European Green Deal proposed by the EU Commission, and we are wholly committed to become a reliable partner to pursue a more sustainable economy in the continent by providing the EU with green ICT solutions. At Huawei, we lead by example. Environmental protection has already become one of our four corporate sustainability strategies. In 2019, we increased the energy efficiency of our main products by up to 22%, cut CO2 emissions intensity by 32.7%, recycled 86% of returned products, and used 1.25 billion kWh of clean energy, reducing emissions by 570,000 tons. But we haven’t stop there. We have also set two 2025 targets, which include reduce our carbon emissions per unit of sales by 16%, and increase the energy efficiency of our main products by 2.7.
All across Europe, Huawei has been specially designing a series of projects to promote Europe’s green agenda. In the case of Ireland, Huawei started supporting Ocean Research & Conservation Ireland through Tech4All, our global social responsibility initiative. Through this program, Huawei will provide a research grant and technological support to O.R.C. Ireland as it conducts the first real-time study of the impact of marine traffic on whales in Irish waters. Huawei’s advanced machine learning and AI algorithms will allow O.R.C. Ireland to better understand the marine soundscape of the southern coast of Cork. Besides, recently launched Automated Cetacean Acoustics Project (ACAP) will also enable O.R.C. Ireland to achieve near real-time acoustic monitoring of cetaceans off the south coast of Ireland using convolutional neutral networks (CNNs). This innovative and exciting project, will allow Ireland to protect its rich maritime biodiversity, which is one of the main strategic goals set in the European Green Deal.
At Huawei, we believe in a digitized Green Deal, which will speed up the European green agenda while deepening digital transformation all across Europe. After contributing to Europe’s digitalization for more than 20 years, Huawei is already fully integrated into the European culture, and coincides with the Commission on the necessity of tackling the climate emergency through concrete and urgent actions. The objectives stated by the European Commission in the European Green Deal are highly ambitious, and they won’t be easily achieved. We are ready to become Europe’s reliable partner and provide European policymakers with smart ICT solutions that will turn the European Green Deal into reality.
Jorge Vega Sanchez, Public Affairs and Communications Department, Western Europe, Huawei Technologies.