Information and communications technologies cancontribute to a more ecological and thus, sustainable,style of life. For it is important to find innovativesolutions for challenges such as climate change.
New technologies are not an end in themselves but are to serve economical, societal andindividual development. Thereby, digitalisation increasingly reaches into business and per-sonal spheres alike and requires ever more powerful information channels to do so. Theseput processes in motion that allow for massive savings in terms of time, money and naturalresources. They also make it possible to transfer know-how from one place to another.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: STREAMING INSTEAD OF FLYING
Today, a surgeon in a US hospital can perform a surgery on a patient in a European clinicwithout 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 surgeryremotely 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 environmentalissues of our time: climate change. Although climate change is something of a constant inearth’s history, it is currently accelerating at a rate that might pose a threat to the world assuch. Compared with other processes, our climate is extremely complicated and complex.International efforts are required to calculate it. And these, in turn, require a respectivecommunication infrastructure.
ECONOMICAL AND ECOLOGICAL POTENTIAL
In a study, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) states that ICT has the potential toseparate 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 thesame 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 couldeliminate the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a global climate policy. The fact that, ontop of this, comprehensive use of ICT could also reduce global emissions by 20 % by 2030 andbearing in mind that — despite a dynamic growth in transported data volumes — the ICTsector’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.
SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES AND ECOLOGICAL CRITERIA
By means of cautious adaptation in the course of its business activities, even a Europeancommunications company such as Telekom Austria Group can contribute to global effortsto 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 whyTelekom Austria Group has integrated ecological criteria into the decision-making processin 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 energyconsumption. 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. Inthe same period, Telekom Austria Group’s overall energy consumption amounted to 753,788MWh. 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 andthus emitted a total of 205,457 tons of CO2.
SAVING POWER WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES
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 forsome 80 % of its overall energy demand. Reaching maximum efficiency in this area isamong 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. Technologiessuch 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 lowerspower 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 systemsyield a reduction in power demand by up to 75 % when compared with conventional cool-ing systems. 302-4, 302-5
ENERGY FROM SUSTAINABLE SOURCES
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 powergenerated from renewable sources such as the sun, water or wind. Telekom Austria Group’slargest solar power park has been in operation in Belarus since mid-2016, covering an areaof 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 stationsusing 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 customersdo. 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 aboutthe use of sustainable propulsion systems such as natural-gas-powered as well as hybridsand electric vehicles.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CORPORATE CULTURE
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 asutilising things that can be recycled promotes a corporate culture of increased efficiency. Thisis 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 aslong 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. Afterthat, everything is supposed to be recycled. Devices and facilities no longer operational aresystematically disassembled and their parts properly recycled. Life cycle management notonly 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.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AS A BONUS FOR CUSTOMERS
Apart from increased efficiency, Telekom Austria Group also targets customer benefitswhen 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 phonerecycling programme. In order to recycle these valuable resources, almost all of TelekomAustria Group’s subsidiaries — some of them since 2004 — offer their customers the chanceto drop off old devices free of charge. 70 to 80 % of their components can be recycled andreused by specialised recycling businesses to which the subsidiaries hand them over. InAustria, for example, 100 % of the proceeds from the mobile phone recycling programme goto climate protection projects. This recycling process furthermore prevents pollutants fromold mobile phones to get into environmental cycles. Additionally, it counteracts the need tomine 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
RATINGS 2016 (SELECTION)
CDP: B –
OEKOM: B –
Leader Energy Award in the category‘Technology and projects based onrenewable energy’ (velcom)
Digitalisation is beneficial to moresustainable forms of economic activity, lifeand consumption. It can reduce real-worlddistances such as those travelled in thecontext of business trips as wellas theneed for hardware, energy, paper and otherresources.Furthermore, it can optimiseprocesses regarding energyconsumptionor transport logistics. The networked con-trol of building technology or traffic flowsalso harbours great resource savings po-tential. The same holds true for digitallymonitoring the need for machine and de-vice maintenance and repairs. From bothan 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 providesmanifold possibilities of combining effici-ent work with a sustainable lifestyle.
-ETNO (Telekom Austria Group)
-klimaaktiv mobil (A1)
-Code of Conduct on Data CentresEnergy Efficiency (A1)
-Green Network (A1 Slovenija)1)
USEFUL INFORMATIONFOR GRI EXPERTS
-302-2: In 2016, energy consumptionoutside the organisation came in at68,028 MWh. This includes thepower used by mobile phones soldto customers aswell as TelekomAustria Group business trips usingtaxi, train or aeroplanes.
-305-1: Biogenic Scope 1 emissionsamounted to 1,313 tons of CO2; nodata is available for Scope 2 andScope 3 emissions.
-306-2: Telekom Austria Group iscommitted to properwaste disposaland complies with the regulations inthe respective countries.
TOTAL ENERGYCONSUMPTION 2016
TOTAL ENERGY CONSUMPTIONTELEKOM AUSTRIA GROUP
Number of mobile phonesreturned throughinitiatives
MOBILE PHONE RECYCLING
1) The renaming of Si.mobil d.d in Slovenija, d.d. in the course of the rebranding became effective in April 2017.
THE ROADMAP — ENVIRONMENT
-Accelerated introduction ofenergy-efficient equipmentin the framework of the life-cycle managementprogramme
-Taking comprehensiveenergy efficiency measuresto reduce CO2 emissions
-Implementation of acarpooling platform atAustrian subsidiary A1
Reducing CO2-emissions by 25 %
-Accelerated introduction ofenergy-efficient equipmentin the framework of the life-cycle managementprogramme
-Comprehensive energyefficiency measures, e.g. theuse of energy efficientequipment in the frameworkof life cycle management,optimisation of airconditioning units, etc.
-Continuation ofcomprehensive energyefficiency measuresacross entire TelekomAustria Group
Reducing powerdemand by 30 % perterabyte of transfer-red data volume
-Optimisation of wasteseparation
-Awareness-raising andinternal campaigns onthe topic of resourceconservation and wasteseparation
-Sharing of best practiceinformation on wasteseparation within TelekomAustria Group’s subsidiaries
Reaching a constantrecycling rate of 70 %
-Switch to follow-meprinters, digitalisation ofwork processes
-Comprehensive switch tofollow-me printers as wellas initiation of a project topromote digitalworkprocesses
-Continuation of measuresto digitalise work processes
Reducing in-housepaper consumptionby 10 %
1) Baseline for target is 2012. 2) Baseline for targets is 2015.
THINKING GLOBALLY, LEADING REGIONALLY
A successful mobility concept has made its wayto the Austrian subsidiary A1 in December 2016:A1 Car Sharing. 240 vehicles are available toemployees across Austria. Important error mes-sages generated by the vehicle are electronicallytransmitted while they are opened and closedusing an access card. Electronic trip reports arealso possible. This increases the efficiency ofusing operating equipment and improves theiravailability 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 producesome 19.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The power generated fromsunlight is directly fed into the Republic’s power grid. Thus, the solar power park ranksamong the largest in Belarus.
In 2016, Bulgarian subsidiary Mobiltel opened anew recycling centre aimed at using resourcesalready in operation as long as possible, withoutphysically or chemically converting them. All equip-ment returned such as modems, routers, remotecontrols, etc. is meticulously inspected for techni-cal operability, repaired if possible, renewed orcleaned. Every month, this is supposed to breathenew 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 serviceand likewise receive a SIM card with 10,000 free minutes. Austrian subsidiary A1 has alsoextended its mobile phone recycling programme which it runs since2004. Since 2016,business customers are invited to participate in the mobile phone recycling programme.