Jun 30, 2021

stc Group CEO: There is a great deal the telecom industry can do together to contribute to a low carbon economy

stc Group CEO stc Eng. Olayan M. Alwetaid confirmed stc’s commitment to providing a service, which is as environmentally friendly, and to adopt integrated sustainable practices into every aspect of our business. “We understand that as a MENA digital enabler we have a duty to our country in Saudi Arabia and to our customers to ensure we are operating in a sustainable manner.” Alwaetaid said while speaking in We Act For Impact" panel discussion during MWC Barcelona 2021, he was among environmental experts and ICT infrastructure development leaders who met to discuss sustainability progress at the Green Agenda: We Act For Impact open panel session during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2021.

Through open dialogue, the panel discussion asked ICT industry leaders to assess the latest progress on the remaining obstacles and positive actions needed to address the climate crisis, particularly as the mobile industry is one of the most advanced in terms of laying out its commitments towards net zero by 2050.Alwetaid gave his thoughts on a number of environmental issues in the debate stating that stc has been playing a pivotal role in Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation, which has seen the Kingdom launch a number of digital projects including the roll out and implementation of stc advanced 5G technology. He said: “stc is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and become a green network operator, and we have taken several steps to achieve this goal and reach Net Zero. We have developed a Sustainable Energy Framework designed to take us through 2030. These steps will reduce our energy consumption and will include better energy management, monitoring, and reporting – with clear benchmarks and KPIs. We will also develop renewable energy generation at our campus and facilities throughout Saudi Arabia. What’s more we will ensure energy efficiency in our existing buildings and assets and finally new buildings will be designed and built with energy-saving features.”

He added: "Saudi Arabia has committed to generating 50% of electricity through renewable resources by 2030 and to reach the environmental targets organizations will be expected to collaborate and work together to achieve KSA’s sustainability goals. Eng. Alwetaid was asked about the collaborations stc has planned with its investors. “Stakeholder engagement is an integral part of our approach. By engaging with our key stakeholders, we make sure that we address the issues of most importance to the business, both in our strategic approach and in our reporting. We have made excellent progress in aligning our disclosures with international standards such as GRI, SASB, national standards, and the requirements of sustainability indices and rating agencies.”

He continued, “First and foremost, mobile communications are the key enabling factor in SMART technologies and applications; it enables IoT and AI-based infrastructures through high-speed connectivity and low-latency, real-time edge-computing applications. At stc, we also plan to reduce emissions through a combination of engagements with our partners in the value chain and by developing e-services that reduce carbon emissions by providing services over the mobile network.”

stc is playing a big role in the digitalization of KSA, in line with the Saudi National Vision 2030, the aim of which is to make the Kingdom an industrial powerhouse. stc is also fully in support of the Saudi Green initiative - the world’s largest afforestation project with an aim to plant 50 billion trees, including 10 billion in Saudi Arabia. “The government has set a clear strategic vision with broad goals and it’s important for private sector leaders to be in alignment with their objective and goals the public sector,” said Alwetaid during the discussion. “For this to happen and lead to a green digital recovery, the government should establish a framework of investment incentives including financial support for R&D and scale up. For its part, the private sector must step up and leverage this opportunity with an eye to the future.

Also speaking on the Green Agenda: We Act For Impact panel was Kaan Terzioglu, Co-COO, VEON, H.E. Ahmad Hanandeh Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, Jordan, Alix Jagueneau Head of External Affairs & Industry Purpose, GSMA, Laura Fernandez Cavas Climate Change and Sustainable Finance Expert, Telefonica, Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Officer-in-Charge, Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology and H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid Commissioner, African Union.