Bharti Airtel and Cellular Operator Association fail to deliver on commitment

Telecom sector reluctant to transit to a low-carbon profitable model

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Press release - October 20, 2011
New Delhi, October 20th, 2011: Bharti Airtel and the Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI) failed to honour their commitment of disclosing a detailed and sustainable emission reduction plan, including a substantial substitution of diesel with renewable alternatives to power their network operations by September 2011. The public commitment was made following a meeting between Bharti Airtel, representatives of COAI and Greenpeace India on June 10th, 2011. (1)

“Not only have they failed to deliver on their commitment, they are now looking to back-track by abdicating from their responsibilities to address this problem. While they are happy to make positive statements, they are unwilling to back these up on the ground with tangible and substantive commitments,” said Mrinmoy Chattaraj, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

The meeting between Greenpeace India and the Bharti Airtel led COAI was preceded by a public campaign where over 70,000 individuals from across the country urged the company by substantially shifting to renewable sources for its energy requirements.

Recently, Vodafone Essar and Google have disclosed their carbon emissions and renewable energy goals publicly (2). In the absence of public reporting by any of the companies in the Indian telecom sector so far, this could have far-reaching consequences for the long-term sustainability and profitability of the telecom industry in India.

“Quite clearly, we now have a precedent to suggest that the transit to a low-carbon profitable model is feasible for India’s telecom sector. The question before Bharti Airtel is whether it is willing to act in line with its professed commitments to decouple its growth from growing carbon emissions, in a manner befitting a responsible market leader,” added Chattaraj.

The issue came into centre-stage earlier this year through Greenpeace India’s report “Dirty Talking – A case for telecom to shift from diesel to renewable” which exposed how the subsidy on diesel has been aggressively exploited by the telecom sector, resulting in an annual loss of around Rs 2600 crores to the state exchequer (2). The report also showed how the sector can become a transformative force by adopting renewable energy for their business operations and advocating economy wide climate and energy solutions.

Notes to the editor:

1. Refer to

2. Refer to

For further information-

Mrinmoy Chattaraj, Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +91 9902201201,

Shashwat Raj, Media Officer, Greenpeace India, +91 9686861974,