- Guaranteed Irish member SIRO launches its’ Sustainability Strategy, with ambition to be Ireland’s greenest broadband network
- SIRO signs up to UN Global Compact; one of only 14 Irish SMEs to do so
SIRO CEO John Keaney: “Change is never easy or convenient. Becoming sustainable and protecting both people and planet is no longer a choice, but an essential, enduring activity; one which business leaders must champion.”
Broadband operator SIRO, a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, rolling out a new 100% fibre broadband network across Ireland, launched its’ Sustainability Strategy, which aims to establish the company as Ireland’s greenest broadband network.
The Strategy was formally launched by the Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment and Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Symth. The launch occurred on the same day as the company’s first electric vehicles (EVs) took to the road and coincides with Dublin Climate Action Week also taking place this week.
A switch over of its existing diesel commercial fleet to EVs is a key component of the Strategy. This initiative alone will see 1.6 million kilometres in journeys undertaken each year as part of SIRO’s network roll-out operations (equivalent to travelling around the globe 40 times), become greener and more sustainable.
The company expects the switch will more than halve its’ existing carbon emissions. With effect from this month, SIRO has switched 65% of its existing diesel fleet to EVs and the remaining third will be phased out by the company over the next year, with the fleet fully electric by end 2022.
Work on developing and activating the Strategy, which encompasses environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues relevant to the company and its operations, began in 2018 leading to today’s launch at its Carrickmines offices.
SIRO’s broadband network is 100% fibre, with no copper at any point, also making it significantly more energy efficient (by up to 60% and emitting less carbon emissions (over 80% less) that traditional copper or cable broadband networks).
Key aspects of the Strategy include:
- Switching the SIRO fleet to EVs: Transitioning of SIRO’s existing diesel fleet to EVs by end 2022, reducing carbon emissions by 53% once complete.
- Joining the UN Global Compact: SIRO joined the UN Global Compact in February 2021. The Compact obliges participants to implement changes to their business to achieve a set of agreed UN objectives in areas such as environment, human rights, labour, and anti-corruption. SIRO is only one of 14 Irish SMEs (or 35 Irish entities in total) to join the Compact (vs. comparable sized countries such as Denmark where almost 500 (493) businesses are members).
- Utilising solar power and supporting biodiversity on its’ network: SIRO has commenced a feasibility study on installing solar panels on SIRO’s PoP cabins. These panels would offset the energy used in these internet connection points with renewable and green energy and feed into the national electricity grid. SIRO is also undertaking biodiversity projects in the environs of PoP cabins.
- Reducing waste: SIRO has reduced its annual waste to landfill by 20% between 2018 and 2020 and is targeting zero waste to landfill by 2030.
- Reducing commuting: Introducing a hybrid work strategy which aims to reduce emissions from employee commuting by 15% per annum.
- Championing gender equality: The company has made significant progress in achieving gender equality, with its’ senior leadership team now 66% female, with 34% female representation across the business generally. The company is also a signatory of the UN’s Women Empowerment Principles (WEP) which commits employers to equal pay for work of equal value, gender-responsive supply chain practices and zero tolerance against sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Partnering with community stakeholders: SIRO is partnering with several community stakeholders including Open Doors, Junior Achievement Ireland or Employers for Change to promote inclusivity and equal opportunities in their workplace and the wider communities served by the company.
Commenting on SIRO’s launch Minister Ossian Symth noted: “Long term success for all telecoms operators requires strategic transformation, including through embracing sustainability and committing to a long-term investment which not only contributes to the circular economy, but which will also reap numerous benefits in meeting customer needs, increasing efficiency, strengthening brands, and creating new business opportunities.
“I look forward to engaging with SIRO and other telecoms operators to ensure that the sustainable solutions they apply in all aspects of their activities will allow for building competitive advantage and best in class innovation, while also helping to protect and preserve our natural ecosystems for future generations”.
According to SIRO CEO John Keaney: “Today’s launch is the culmination of several years’ work at SIRO, first to measure our outputs and impact on the environment and broader sustainability targets and second, to then act to become cleaner, greener and more sustainable as a leading Irish telecoms business.
Mr Keaney stressed the urgency for action: “Change is never easy or convenient. Becoming sustainable and protecting both people and planet is no longer a choice, but an essential, enduring activity; one which business leaders must champion.
“Technology can be a great enabler of more sustainable living. SIRO’s 100% fibre broadband is empowering communities and businesses to become more sustainable in areas such as remote working and reduced commuting; smart homes and cities; enhanced business productivity reducing emissions and driving greater energy efficiency.
“SIRO’s fibre broadband network is also the cleanest broadband available today, using less energy than traditional copper networks and emitting significantly less harmful emissions. This further highlights the focus that all stakeholders must place on achieving a full fibre Ireland, not least because of the contribution it can make to Ireland meeting climate change and sustainability commitments”, added Mr. Keaney.