BT expands green tech platform to target scale-ups to help manufacturers reach Net Zero

BT has announced the next phase of its Green Tech Innovation Platform – which sees the company collaborating with scale-ups to develop breakthrough tech to support the race to Net Zero.

The Green Tech Innovation Platform, launched in 2020, was awarded the Responsible Business Alliance Innovation Award at COP26 last year and has already fostered a series of successful green innovation partnerships. These are focused on developing solutions to help public sector organisations in reaching their net zero carbon emissions targets.

BT is already supporting Glasgow based scale-up iOpt on using its Internet of Things (IoT) platform which enables real-time information and alerts on the condition of properties for social housing providers like housing associations and local councils. BT is also working with scale-up Everimpact to deploy environment monitoring solutions for local authorities to help reach their sustainability goals, with a proof of concept to be rolled out via BT’s new digital Street Hub units this spring.  

The second phase will develop new digital solutions to support Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacturing businesses as they seek to adopt more sustainable manufacturing processes. The Manufacturing Technology Centre is collaborating with BT on the new phase of the project, bringing its sector experience and expertise to the ongoing development of the Green Tech Innovation Platform. BT is also continuing its work with Plug and Play, the world’s leading innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley, to support the selection of scale-ups.

The FMCG sector is currently the largest manufacturing market in the UK, accounting for 14% of all goods manufactured in the country. A recent report commissioned by BT and developed by Accenture has forecast that ICT, including 5G, can help reduce global carbon emissions from the manufacturing sector by 13% by 2030 which is equivalent to1.3 gigatons of CO2e. The Green Tech Innovation Platform aims to explore how advanced digital technologies such as IoT, Edge, Data, AI and 5G can play a critical role in helping manufacturing customers in their transition to Net Zero.

The platform will focus on addressing three main areas within FMCG manufacturing:

  • Circularity and supply chain: Uncovering new digital solutions to help track the flow of products, components, and materials to provide improved resource management and decision making across all stages of the production cycle, and empowering consumers to make better choices. This will support the sector to address the depletion of finite resources and how to embed circularity into production processes.
  • Production Resource Optimisation: Exploring digital solutions that either modify existing production processes or introduce completely new breakthrough methods in order to become more energy and resource efficient. This could be through supporting waste reduction in production processes or harnessing additional outputs from the shop floor such as water, heat, energy.
  •  Operation Design and Planning: Developing solutions that use data and digital technology to improve modelling, visualisation, scenario analyses and planning, with the aim to make it simpler to redesign legacy manufacturing processes with a sustainability focus.

Dean Terry, MD Corporate and Public Sector at BT, said: “Through expanding our innovative approach to green technology we’re accelerating action to address climate change, while supporting start-ups and scale-ups as they look to take their new solutions to market.

“In line with the BT Group Manifesto announced last year, this further demonstrates how we’re committed to creating  future digital services that will support our customers in driving quicker progress towards a circular world with net zero emissions.”

Joseph Darlington, Director of Technology Sectors at Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), said: “We recognise manufacturing has a vital role in driving down carbon emissions. Being part of BT’s Green Tech Innovation Platform initiative is an excellent opportunity for the MTC to contribute to the development of digital green technology and the technology supply chain we believe will be transformational to the manufacturing sector.  We invite the FMCG industry to engage with us and become part of this mission of delivering smarter factories and positive impact on the environment.”

 Kieran Borrett, Director UK at Plug and Play, said: “We are proud to partner with BT Group, helping them to engage and partner with the start-ups and scale-ups that are crucial to the transition to Net Zero. As a partner of Plug and Play Sustainability, BT Group will combine their knowledge and scale with the most promising technologies and business models to build a more sustainable future.”  

Successful scale-ups will have the opportunity to partner and work collaboratively with BT and its customers. The scope of the partnerships will range from BT using its expertise to find a cheaper, faster initial route to market through to new revenue share models. BT aims to announce the successful scale-up partners in late spring and start developing proof of concepts with customers in the summer.  

The Green Tech Innovation Platform aligns with BT’s wider commitment to accelerate responsible, inclusive, and sustainable growth over the next decade. As part of the BT Group Manifesto, the company has outlined plans to drive faster progress towards a circular world with net zero emissions.

To support tech start-ups and small businesses, BT is an active member of the SME Climate Hub which aims to motivate SMEs to halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

From today, scale-ups can apply to participate in the Green Tech Innovation Platform.

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