Carbon Footprint of Mobile Services

British mobile services provider O2 has produced statistics[1] about the carbon footprint of individual activities such as a phone call and a data download. This came from the company's effort to become the first carrier to independently certify its carbon footprint. Information like this is important to organizations wishing to account for emissions from their cloud use in carbon audits[2].

O2 "...calculated the greenhouse gas emissions embedded throughout the entire lifecycle of its voice and data services. This robust analysis revealed that the carbon footprint of making a one minute voice call made on the O2 network is 3.6g CO2e and transferring one megabyte of data is 11g CO2e. Based on this certified data making a 5 minute call is the carbon-equivalent to boiling water to make one cup of tea."

By comparison, a piece of physical mail emits ~30g CO2e to create and over 50g CO2e to deliver. An email message or an online search are each less than 0.5g CO2e.

More:
Carbon footprint of a movie DVD


[1] O2 news release containing these statistics
[2] Legacy carbon auditing catching up with the cloud