What Role Does Telecom Expense Management Play in Corporate Responsibility?

30 August 2022 | Posted by Nick Oldham

Corporate responsibility extends to all aspects of an organization. There are opportunities to have a positive environment and social impact in places you might not think. And one of those places is in how you manage your telecoms and mobility.

We are using more data and consuming more technology than ever before. Every Zoom call, every salesperson’s mobile, comes with a price on the environment. So, optimizing procurement, delivery, and data usage across your IT infrastructure can help you contribute toward green initiatives and achieve ESG goals.

There are two big aspects to corporate responsibility when we think about global telecom expense management (TEM): supply chain and data usage. Reducing the carbon footprint of your supply chain is an issue that we’ve all been aware of since the 1990s. But data usage is a new issue, created by the explosion of modern technology.

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Exercising Corporate Responsibility in the Mobility Supply Chain

Asset Procurement

Optimizing your managed mobility service procurement does more than save you money. By streamlining your asset procurement, you reduce the number of trucks, planes, and ships in transit across the globe. You can also reduce the distances that need to be traversed by using regional vendors. Why send 50 iPhones from the US to your team in Berlin when you can source them locally?

By leveraging country-specific knowledge and established vendor relationships, a TEM provider can greatly improve the procurement process, reduce cost, carbon output, and delivery times.

Reverse Logistics & Recycling

Landfill is another big issue for the environment and many organizations have successful recycling programs for their workforce’s mobile devices. In an ideal program, the recycling process has three steps to ensure value, corporate responsibility, and compliance:

  1. Working devices/components are refurbished, reset, and prepared for reuse.
  2. Devices no longer wanted are sold on the open market, maximizing the value returned.
  3. Non-working phones, components, and accessories are recycled following stringent environmental standards.

The Carbon Footprint of Modern Telecoms

The carbon footprint of our devices, the internet, and the systems that support them account for 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, according to some estimates. For comparison, this is a similar carbon output to the entire airline industry. And greenhouse emissions are predicted to double by 2025.

As a business-critical function, there's an opportunity within IT departments to optimize processes in a way that will move the needle against carbon emissions.


Organizations can help their workforce reduce its carbon output simply by initiating BYOD and BYON policies. This reduces the logistical costs of issuing devices to staff, while reducing the number of devices in circulation.

Cloud Data Management

In the US, data centers are responsible for 2% of the nation's electricity use, while globally they account for just under 200 terawatt hours (TWh). This figure has flatlined in recent years despite rising internet traffic and workloads. This is due in part because of improved energy efficiency and the move to centralize data centers into giant facilities.

But while many companies can power their data center’s using renewable energy, in some parts of the world they are still powered by burning fossil fuels. This makes it difficult for global organizations to hit their carbon emissions targets when they have little choice but to use regional resources. The solution, therefore, is to optimize your cloud environment to reduce data transfer costs and thus environmental costs.

For example, moving old data into “cold storage” servers reduces the number of data requests flying around your environment. This is a small change but adds up to big savings in the long term. And this is where you see real savings in the cloud – looking for small wins that scale into big savings.

Optimization Does More Than Reduce Spend

We all know the value of meeting in person and also the emissions which can be saved by meeting online, but meeting online is not without its own emissions. A 5-hour video meeting between two participants in different countries typically produces up to 215kg CO2e which is as much produced by 1,000 miles of flying.

With figures like these, enterprises need to invest more in SaaS and UCaaS solutions. Like any telecom billing arrangement, there will inevitably be complexity for businesses that operate on a global scale. And complexity means opportunity for optimizations and savings.

Telecom expense management providers are starting to pivot to provide expense management services to their customers’ entire technology suite so they can continue to optimize performance and reinvest their savings in new opportunities. We call this technology expense management.

According to Gartner, SaaS license tracking and optimization remain key concerns within TEM. Organizations want a TEM provider who can control and track SaaS and UCaaS subscriptions in their enterprise.

Telecom expense management may not have the largest role to play in corporate responsibility, but by optimizing your operation, you will naturally waste less and save more.

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Topics: TEM, BYOD, MMS

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