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Integrating circular economy principles into your business offers great potential for climate change mitigation because it will help to avoid or reduce emissions that occur over product’s life cycles. With increased scrutiny by governments, financiers and other critical stakeholders because of mayor shares in global energy consumption, companies are increasingly looking for ways to leverage the opportunity of a circular economy in their decarbonization pathways.  

The telecom sector is a material intensive industry in which electricity usage is increasing through rapid increase in data consumption. That data consumption is also coming with an increasing resource footprint. That means that – to complete the picture – many telecom operators start to broaden the focus from energy consumption to its physical operations and resources. 

Our client

A leading European telecommunications operator has committed to 100% Circular Operations. This company reached out to KPMG to substantiate and implement its circular economy strategy and operationalize in the business functions. 

Our joint effort

First, we performed an industry benchmark and identified circular market trends in telecommunications and other sectors to find circular opportunities eligible to feed into our client’s strategy.

Together with the client we determined the critical internal and external stakeholders that are pivotal for success (e.g. business unit heads, key suppliers), and we developed a stakeholder engagement plan to work with these stakeholders and create enterprise-wide support. A dedicated circular core team, with circular champions in the various departments, was launched for this.

To become fully circular by 2025 and to realize decarbonization in the value chain , we conducted a material flow analysis. The analysis resulted in concrete opportunities for circularity in business operations, such as refurbishing set-top boxes, digitizing network equipment and improving purchasing policies. Afterwards, we modelled the financial implications of the opportunities identified which led to insights in investments needed and potential cost savings, for example increasing its refurbish activities while at the same time reselling end-of-use equipment. The new circular program is designed to integrate circular economy principles into specific parts of the organization (e.g. procurement, network organization, consumer products and enterprise market) and is supported by clearly defined objectives and KPIs to measure and report on progress.

Together with our partner Circular IQ we applied our methodology (Product Circularity Improvement Programme) to deliver Product Circularity Reports for the client. We generated objective and data-backed reports which helped to identify and underpin their devices’ eco-impact (like the cost of carbon, for example) and their circularity performance.

In short, we helped the client to build a robust circular strategy, program and roadmap to deliver on its 2025 ambition.

Business benefits for our client

By working closely together, we supported our client to learn how to identify circular opportunities and the potential value they bring. With the introduced objectives and KPIs, we put a solid basis in place to communicate impacts of circular activities. And by making sure critical stakeholders had their say in building this foundation, we ensured their full commitment for the road ahead towards decarbonization.

Figuring out progress

We help organizations with the themes that society values most. Like circular economy. So real progress takes shape. Knowing how we can bring your organization further? Please don’t hesitate contacting us. 

Arnoud Walrecht

Director Sustainability | Global Circular Economy Lead
KPMG in the Netherlands
+31 (020) 656 8705



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