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July 29, 2015

Testing the Soundness of BT's Green Supply Chain

Most of my focus in on IoT these days, and I feel far afield from my network planning and telco days. So it was refreshing to speak with Darrin Whitney, GENBAND’s Chief Information and Sustainability Officer, about GENBAND’S achievement in reaching BT Group’s Silver Level Status and their participation in the Better Future Supplier Forum.

The network has changed a lot since I used to look at PLATs and try to determine the best path for a connection. The migration to packet has made virtualization more imperative and driven the adoption of NFV and SDN. With this virtualization comes the ability to reduce the consumption of power, water and emissions.

That’s something particularly being discussed in Europe.

However, BT Group’s efforts to drive sustainability goes further in the requirements to the supplier to also manage the sourcing of materials and ensure that the reduction includes the entire supply chain.

BT created the Better Future Supplier Forum in 2012 to drive sustainability innovation in its supply chain and with the goal to help its customers reduce their carbon emission by three times the end-to-end carbon impact of its own business.

“It’s vital for us to work with partners who share our vision for a sustainable future, and GENBAND has demonstrated its commitment to that process,” said Liz Cross, BT’s head of sustainability for procurement. “Our feedback loop allowed us to witness GENBAND implementing impressive improvements across the company.”

For Whitney and his team at GENBAND to achieve Silver Status, they had to look at operations, product design, and supply chain in a companywide effort to improve sustainability. The process included training and education, auditing suppliers, implementing a lifecycle analysis, improving business continuity, reducing real-estate costs, adopting eco-design techniques to improve products, benchmarking against the competition, modifying packaging, and implementing best practices.

“We saw this as an opportunity to become smarter, more innovative and more sustainable,” said Whitney. “It’s rare to have a customer challenge you to improve your processes in the way that BT has, but we know that all of our customers will benefit, as does the company. We look forward to continuing on this path and driving additional improvement in the coming months.”

Think of ISO for sustainability.

The conversation brought home the fact that I should visit and see how the network was being upgraded, so stay tuned for future conversations.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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