Information and communications technologies can contribute to a more ecological and thus, sustainable, style of life. For it is important to find innovative solutions for challenges such as climate change.

New technologies are not an end in themselves but are to serve economical, societal and individual development. Thereby, digitalisation increasingly reaches into business and per- sonal spheres alike and requires ever more powerful information channels to do so. These put processes in motion that allow for massive savings in terms of time, money and natural resources. They also make it possible to transfer know-how from one place to another.


Today, a surgeon in a US hospital can perform a surgery on a patient in a European clinic without having to board a plane and flying there. Information and communications tech- nology (ICT) serves as an extended arm. One substantial side effect of performing a surgery remotely from the U.S. is that this method is easy on the environment — data transfer in- stead of air travel. Now, digitalisation enables people to perform tasks across huge dis- tances and thus reduces travelling needs. Which represents another important step, for in- ternational goods and passenger transport contributes to one of the biggest environmental issues of our time: climate change. Although climate change is something of a constant in earth’s history, it is currently accelerating at a rate that might pose a threat to the world as such. Compared with other processes, our climate is extremely complicated and complex. International efforts are required to calculate it. And these, in turn, require a respective communication infrastructure.


In a study, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) states that ICT has the potential to separate economical growth from an increase in global emissions. The emission of the green- house gas CO2, above all, is attributed to fast climate change. If one managed to maintain the same level of CO2 emissions or even reduce them, one would achieve a massive break- through. In case digitalisation could serve as one strategy to actually reach this goal, it could eliminate the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a global climate policy. The fact that, on top of this, comprehensive use of ICT could also reduce global emissions by 20 % by 2030 and bearing in mind that — despite a dynamic growth in transported data volumes — the ICT sector’s emissions could be reduced by 1.97 % in the same period is an added bonus.

The study also highlights an aspect that is often neglected when it comes to communica- tions technology: Agriculture. Correctly used, ICT can increase harvest yields by up to 30 % and save lots of drinking water and oil.


By means of cautious adaptation in the course of its business activities, even a European communications company such as Telekom Austria Group can contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change. For example, by making the expansion, operation and mainte- nance of its infrastructure as well as its removal as sustainable as possible. This is why Telekom Austria Group has integrated ecological criteria into the decision-making process in upstream processes such as the procurement of goods and services. In this area, environ- mental friendliness and energy efficiency, among others, are decision-influencing factors. Operating and maintaining a network infrastructure requires energy supply, which pro- duces CO2 emissions. To reduce them, Telekom Austria Group must lower its own energy consumption. This is achieved through increased efficiency when it comes to how the ener- gy is used. Thus, energy efficiency could be increased by 45 % between 2015 and 2016. In the same period, Telekom Austria Group’s overall energy consumption amounted to 753,788 MWh. Its electricity demand amounted to 620,678 MWh, 61 % of which came from renew- able sources. In 2017, the company ran 5,167 vehicles, consumed 7,588,533 litres of fuel and thus emitted a total of 205,457 tons of CO2.


The largest environmental impact caused by Telekom Austria Group’s business activities re- sults from electricity consumption. The power needed to run its networks amounted for some 80 % of its overall energy demand. Reaching maximum efficiency in this area is among the most important environmental measures. Among others, this concerns GSM re- sources at mobile communication base stations. These are adapted in a needs-based man- ner. They only run at full power — with the respective power consumption — at peak times. Once mobile communication traffic dies down, they are shut down in steps. Technologies such as Single RAN (Radio Access Network) also help saving power. Since 2013, mobile com- munication base stations are therefore converted to Single RAN technology. This lowers power consumption, makes the network faster and increases its capacity. Some 4,000 mo- bile communication base stations have already been converted. Moreover, innovative cool- ing methods such as hot-spot suction, cold-aisle containment or heat recovery systems yield a reduction in power demand by up to 75 % when compared with conventional cool- ing systems. 302-4, 302-5


However, measures raising efficiency alone cannot replace the entire amount of electricity. That is why Telekom Austria Group aims at sourcing power demand that cannot be elimi- nated by those measures as sustainably as possible. For instance, through the use of power generated from renewable sources such as the sun, water or wind. Telekom Austria Group’s largest solar power park has been in operation in Belarus since mid-2016, covering an area of 41 hectare and generating 19.4 mn MWh of electricity annually using 85,000 solar panels (see Thinking globally, leading regionally). The Croatian, Bulgarian, and Slovenian sub- sidiaries of Telekom Austria Group run more than 65 mobile communication base stations using solar and wind power or hydrogen fuel cells.

Even though operating networks does not immediately consume any fuel, their mainte- nance, continuous expansion, quality assurance as well as services provided to customers do. This is due to the fact that employees must use vehicles to perform these tasks. The mis- sion in this field is the same as when it comes to power: To achieve maximum efficiency. The first step is to reduce the kilometres travelled. Innovative logistics concepts, video con- ference and telepresence solutions are utilised to achieve this. The second step is all about the use of sustainable propulsion systems such as natural-gas-powered as well as hybrids and electric vehicles.


For Telekom Austria Group, environmental protection is more than a friendly commitment — it is a social responsibility. Besides that, it offers possibilities to further increase the intelli- gent use of resources in all corporate areas. Purchasing less and throwing less away as well as utilising things that can be recycled promotes a corporate culture of increased efficiency. This is why Telekom Austria Group follows ecological principles in its life cycle management: Was- te prevention, resource conservation and trying to keep valuable raw materials in the cycle as long as possible. Always in accordance with the motto Reduce — Reuse — Recycle.

The company thus ensures that technical facilities remain in use as long as possible. After that, everything is supposed to be recycled. Devices and facilities no longer operational are systematically disassembled and their parts properly recycled. Life cycle management not only promotes a culture of efficiency but also the migration of technology and the replace- ment of old platforms. After all, new devices are more energy efficient than old ones.


Apart from increased efficiency, Telekom Austria Group also targets customer benefits when pursuing its environmental measures. Despite the fact that it does not produce mobi- le end user devices itself, it contributes to resource conservation through its mobile phone recycling programme. In order to recycle these valuable resources, almost all of Telekom Austria Group’s subsidiaries — some of them since 2004 — offer their customers the chance to drop off old devices free of charge. 70 to 80 % of their components can be recycled and reused by specialised recycling businesses to which the subsidiaries hand them over. In Austria, for example, 100 % of the proceeds from the mobile phone recycling programme go to climate protection projects. This recycling process furthermore prevents pollutants from old mobile phones to get into environmental cycles. Additionally, it counteracts the need to mine rare earth materials to produce mobile phone components. The mining and distribu- tion of these raw materials is often in the focus of social critics who point out the social is- sues in the mining countries. Environmental protection, after all, not only serves the com- petitive aspects of a corporate culture but — above all — the people. 301-3, PA11


CDP: B –



Leader Energy Award in the category ‘Technology and projects based on renewable energy’ (velcom)



Digitalisation is beneficial to more sustainable forms of economic activity, life and consumption. It can reduce real-world distances such as those travelled in the context of business trips as wellas the need for hardware, energy, paper and other resources.Furthermore, it can optimise processes regarding energyconsumption or transport logistics. The networked con- trol of building technology or traffic flows also harbours great resource savings po- tential. The same holds true for digitally monitoring the need for machine and de- vice maintenance and repairs. From both an entrepreneurial and personal perspec- tive — for instance by replacing resource- intensive data carriers for software, ga- mes, films or music with cloud and strea- ming services — digitalisation provides manifold possibilities of combining effici- ent work with a sustainable lifestyle.


-ETNO (Telekom Austria Group)

-klimaaktiv mobil (A1)

-Code of Conduct on Data Centres Energy Efficiency (A1)

-Green Network (A1 Slovenija)1)


-302-2: In 2016, energy consumption outside the organisation came in at 68,028 MWh. This includes the power used by mobile phones sold to customers aswell as Telekom Austria Group business trips using taxi, train or aeroplanes.

-305-1: Biogenic Scope 1 emissions amounted to 1,313 tons of CO2; no data is available for Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.

-306-2: Telekom Austria Group is committed to properwaste disposal and complies with the regulations in the respective countries.

753,788 MWh


21,533 MWh



620,678 MWh

in 2016


74,048 MWh


37,530 MWh


Number of mobile phones returned through initiatives


TOTAL 2016


TOTAL 2015


1) The renaming of Si.mobil d.d in Slovenija, d.d. in the course of the rebranding became effective in April 2017.





SAID 2015

DONE 2016



-Accelerated introduction of energy-efficient equipment in the framework of the life- cycle management programme

-Taking comprehensive energy efficiency measures to reduce CO2 emissions

-Implementation of a carpooling platform at Austrian subsidiary A1


Reducing CO2- emissions by 25 %

-Accelerated introduction of energy-efficient equipment in the framework of the life- cycle management programme

-Comprehensive energy efficiency measures, e.g. the use of energy efficient equipment in the framework of life cycle management, optimisation of air conditioning units, etc.

-Continuation of comprehensive energy efficiency measures across entire Telekom Austria Group


Reducing power demand by 30 % per terabyte of transfer- red data volume

-Optimisation of waste separation

-Awareness-raising and internal campaigns on the topic of resource conservation and waste separation

-Sharing of best practice information on waste separation within Telekom Austria Group’s subsidiaries


Reaching a constant recycling rate of 70 %

-Switch to follow-me printers, digitalisation of work processes

-Comprehensive switch to follow-me printers as well as initiation of a project to promote digital workprocesses

-Continuation of measures to digitalise work processes


Reducing in-house paper consumption by 10 %

1) Baseline for target is 2012. 2) Baseline for targets is 2015.


A successful mobility concept has made its way to the Austrian subsidiary A1 in December 2016: A1 Car Sharing. 240 vehicles are available to employees across Austria. Important error mes- sages generated by the vehicle are electronically transmitted while they are opened and closed using an access card. Electronic trip reports are also possible. This increases the efficiency of using operating equipment and improves their availability for short trips.

In the summer of 2016, Belarusian subsidiary velcom opened its first solar power park. Since then, 85,000 solar panels distributed across an area of some 41 hectares produce some 19.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The power generated from sunlight is directly fed into the Republic’s power grid. Thus, the solar power park ranks among the largest in Belarus.

In 2016, Bulgarian subsidiary Mobiltel opened a new recycling centre aimed at using resources already in operation as long as possible, without physically or chemically converting them. All equip- ment returned such as modems, routers, remote controls, etc. is meticulously inspected for techni- cal operability, repaired if possible, renewed or cleaned. Every month, this is supposed to breathe new life into some 12,000 devices and accessories.

Belarusian subsidiary velcom has been offering mobile phone recycling since 2016.

When dropping off a tablet or old mobile phone at a shop during the campaign period, customers receive 10,000 free minutes. Even non-customers can make use of this service and likewise receive a SIM card with 10,000 free minutes. Austrian subsidiary A1 has also extended its mobile phone recycling programme which it runs since2004. Since 2016, business customers are invited to participate in the mobile phone recycling programme.