The telecommunications industry is one of the biggest in the world, as nations develop and strengthen, so do the companies that provide us with the services that allow us to connect using our mobile phones.

But the industry is not as green as it could be. Greenpeace India, has furthered its existing campaign to promote a phase out of diesel consumption within the industry, by unveiling an economic and environmental roadmap for implementation of a Green Telecom Directive, issued through its report “Enabling Clean Talking

The report emphasises that if the Green Telecom Directive is implemented effectively on the ground, with mandatory compliance clauses within, it can help save the Indian telecom sector over $ 400 million.

This Greenpeace roadmap provides a futuristic pathway for the Indian telecom industry based on renewable energy (instead of diesel) and low-carbon utilization. It’s important for the telecom sector to decouple its business from rising carbon emissions.

As more and more people start using mobile phones, the sector’s appetite for energy will increase, making it a significant source of carbon emissions unless the industry adopts and advocates for renewable energy use.

As the Greenpeace India campaigners have pointed out through this report, the telecom sector is well positioned to transit to a low-carbon growth pathway. But it’s important that they use their influence to promote policies that will allow them to grow responsibly without helping to fuel climate change.

Here in Africa people in rural areas will often have access to mobile phones before they have electricity; it is important that the telecoms industry takes the opportunity to lead and begins to invest in renewable energy. With these kinds of investments, access to energy and sustainable communication can happen simultaneously.

Vodacom South Africa is in the process of installing solar panels on their Century city offices, and is beginning to use renewable energy for some of their base stations, which is the first step in the right direction.  The telecom sector worldwide is already a leader in innovation and engineering, and Greenpeace asks that these same talents are applied to make the sector an environmental leader.

It’s already beginning to happen in India, and it would be a shame if South Africa were to be left behind.