Emission-free economic activity is the foundation of our sustainability strategy. That’s why, in 2015, T-Mobile became Austria’s first 100% CO2-neutral telecommunications company. The same is true in the new Magenta world: the merger with UPC means that the entire company is now 100% CO2-neutral, as certified by TÜV Austria. The example we have set is catching on across the Deutsche Telekom Group: by 2022, the entire Group will draw its energy from renewable sources.
Global warming is one of the greatest challenges of our time, which is why the basis of our ecological sustainability strategy is to be a completely carbon-neutral company. While we still produced a total of 17,800 tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2014, equivalent to that of a small city the size of Bruck an der Mur, today our carbon footprint is zero. T-Mobile became the first mobile operator to make this goal a reality in 2015 and achieved this through efficient energy management, emission-free electricity procurement from renewable sources, and CO2 offsetting in those areas where there are currently (still) emissions.
T-Mobile has worked since 2015 to achieve this aim of becoming Austria’s first mobile network operator to achieve zero CO2 emissions. It took efficient energy management, purchasing emission-free energy from renewable sources, and offsetting CO2 where emissions are (still) produced. Our energy management system, which we introduced in 2012, uses several approaches. We continuously work to modernise our network, utilise the capacity of our server farms, and save energy in the T-Center, our shops and our vehicle fleet. The result is significantly reduced energy consumption for every gigabyte of data we transmit for our customers.
As a result, we have managed to keep the increase in our overall power consumption extremely low despite the exploding demand for data: in 2018, data flows in our network increased by 57 percent, while energy consumption rose by only 7.6 percent. Our efficiency record is even more impressive when viewed over several years: from 2015 to 2018, data usage increased sevenfold, while the energy required only rose by around one-quarter.
Since the start of 2015, the electricity we purchase, which covers 90 percent of our total energy requirements, has been completely without CO2 emissions and is produced from renewable, non-nuclear sources. From the remaining 10 percent – made up of electricity supplied to individual locations by tenants from unknown sources – we compensate for potential CO2 emissions in accordance with international standards through CO2 offsetting. We likewise compensate for emissions from other sources, such as the CO2 emissions produced in heating our buildings, in our logistics operations, by our vehicle, and from our paper consumption. This impressive efficiency record has been confirmed by the award of certificates from TÜV Austria in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Our company-wide energy management system was successfully certified in accordance with EN ISO 50001 in 2016. The aim of this system is to improve energy performance continuously – that is to say, to enhance the efficiency of our energy use. Regular energy audits, in which external auditors analyse our energy consumption, are performed in accordance with statutory requirements.
In cooperation with ClimatePartner, we have selected certified projects in Africa for our CO2 offsetting work. The initiatives we support include the installation of efficient ovens in Uganda, water treatment projects in Kenya and forest protection in DR Congo. We opted for projects in Africa because, for one, mobile communication opens up major opportunities for social and economic development for many people. Second, Africa contains mining regions for rare earth elements and other raw materials used in smartphones. With this funding, we aim to contribute to the development of civil society so that resources can be mined without causing violent conflicts.
These sources are also the origin of some of the raw materials used to manufacture Fairphones. This smartphone is the first to be sustainably produced in accordance with socially and ecologically fair criteria and is exclusively available from Magenta.
Around 85 percent of the energy T-Mobile Austria requires flows in our mobile network. Although the volumes of data we transfer are increasing exponentially, our electricity consumption is rising only slightly. Over the past year, we needed only 7.6 percent more power for 57 percent more data. This was made possible by our constant investment in the steady modernisation of our network and the efficiency of our technology.
The result: every gigabyte of data our customers upload and download requires less and less electricity. In 2010, it took 8 kWh (kilowatt hours) of power – the amount of electricity it takes to power 80 100-watt bulbs in a ballroom for one hour. In 2018, we managed to reduce the power consumption to transfer 1 gigabyte of data to 0.25 kWh – enough to power the lights in a generously sized living room.
These measures have drastically reduced consumption in the past six years: LTE, the new generation of mobile networks, will enhance the efficiency of data transmission further still.
By producing a smartphone in accordance with Fairtrade rules, the Dutch social enterprise Fairphone aims to make a lasting impression on how handsets are manufactured. The Fairphone 2 stands out through its use of raw materials from conflict-free mining regions, fair working conditions, and the ease with which individual components can be repaired and upgraded. Since becoming one of Fairphone’s first mobile network partners around the world, Magenta has been the exclusive distributor in Austria since 2016.
The smartphone phenomenon, which has seen smartphones used as universal digital assistants, has problematic side effects. Handsets are produced using many raw materials that often lead to disputes and armed conflicts in these countries. At the same time, the people involved in mining and processing the materials often endure terrible working conditions. In addition, due to the rapid pace of technological developments, smartphones are discarded before they actually become technically obsolete.
With this in mind, Magenta presents its customers with a series of ways to use their smartphone with greater awareness. As early as 2014, Magenta moved to offer all handsets without a SIM lock, a mechanism that means phones can only be used in one mobile network. This makes it easy for handsets to be passed on in a family, between friends or for charitable purposes, as the devices are compatible with the SIM cards of all network operators. We also retained this positive tradition of unlocked handsets when we introduced smartphones with an eSIM on the Austrian market in 2018. The eSIM means that a physical SIM card is no longer required – a contribution to gradually replace the need for plastic cards with chips.
Eleven million mobile phones, estimates say, are living a useless existence in drawers and boxes despite being in good condition. This is why, since 2014, we have bought back used but still functional smartphones at the current market price, regardless of whether they were bought from us or another operator. After thoroughly erasing their data and refurbishing them, these handsets can still prove useful for a long time. We recycle phones in this way in partnership with Teqcycle Solutions. The Munich-based company has had its high environmental standards certified. The refurbished handsets return to the market via phone shops, online exchanges and other channels. If the phones are broken or the technology within them is completely obsolete, Teqcycle ensures that the devices are recycled under controlled conditions in Europe. Of course, we also accept broken phones in our shops and send them for properly recycling. As an incentive to return handsets to us, we make a donation to a social organisation for every device we receive.
Since April 2016, we have offered the Fairphone, produced by the Dutch social enterprise of the same name, as another option for our eco-conscious customers to handle their smartphones carefully. The handset’s modular design makes it easy to replace parts that have become defective, such as the screen or battery, or where an update is available. For instance, since the introduction of a new camera module, customers can upgrade to the photo quality of a Fairtrade 2 handset without having to buy a new phone.
In addition, Fairphone monitors its supply chain to ensure it complies with Fairtrade standards. Fairphone became the first smartphone manufacturer to receive Fairtrade certification for gold, an important material for handsets’ motherboards. It procures rare earth elements from conflict-free mining operations and continuously monitors its suppliers’ working conditions.
Fairphone, an alternative smartphone option, and the network operated by Magenta, a 100 percent CO2-neutral company, are increasingly attractive not only to eco-conscious citizens but also to companies seeking to keep their own ecological footprint to a minimum. These options allow them to create a supply chain that is as -conserves resources as much as possible. We’re particularly proud that the nature conservation organisation WWF Austria selected Fairphones from Magenta for precisely this reason.
The innovative use of information and communications technology can contribute to preventing one-fifth of all CO2 emissions around the world. This is why T-Mobile founded the charitable T-Mobile Environment and Sustainability Fund (TUN Fund) in 2011. Since then, €50,000 has been awarded every year to projects that seek to leverage mobile communication to resolve environmental and sustainability problems in every area of life. For us, this also includes projects to bring about a fair world and equal opportunities. A project to avoid the use of toxic receipts (an environmentally damaging consequence of the Austrian Ordinance on Cash Register Security [RKVO]) won first prize in 2018.
“Sustainability has many dimensions. Magenta Telekom is responsible for providing a product with lasting value and benefits for Austria. Internet over mobile networks and ultra-fast cables are the heart of digitalisation. They allow us to tap into numerous new opportunities for a sustainable lifestyle. This is why the TUN Fund is an essential element of our sustainability strategy: it provides the stimuli to show how digitalisation can make a substantial contribution to solving environmental and sustainability issues,” said Andreas Bierwirth, CEO Magenta Telekom, explaining the company’s commitment to the TUN Fund.
The TUN Fund and its jury, chaired by former Austrian EU Commissioner Franz Fischler, is independent from Magenta Telekom and supports charitable organisations and funds in accordance with statutory requirements, supervised by the Province of Vienna. Since, 2015, the business magazine trend has been the media partner of the TUN Fund, which increases public awareness of the submitted innovation projects.
The submitted projects show both the creativity of their developers and the array of added values that mobile communications can provide for sustainable development. The 2018 winner was the obono project, which provides eco-friendly electronic customer receipts to all smartphones. This saves on receipts printed on thermopaper, which contains phenol and other toxic substances that pose an enormous environmental burden. Tonnes of unnecessary receipts are produced – and often thrown away without even being checked – at an estimated cost of €12 million in Austria. Obono has developed an electronic system capable of creating and transmitting receipts that conform to legal requirements.
The other award winners in 2018 were the TopEasy app, the mobility provider goUrban, and the conservation solution BeeSaver. TopEasy was developed by capito, a Graz-based social enterprise, in collaboration with the news agency APA; it delivers news directly to smartphones in an accessible and comprehensible format. This development has the potential to deliver easy-to-understand news to 23 million people in the German-speaking world and enable them to participate more effectively in every area of life. GoUrban was recognised for its software to develop urban sharing models for all types of electric vehicles. It allows local authorities to develop their own environmentally friendly mobility models for their inhabitants. The BeeSaver project uses IoT (the Internet of Things) to support amateur apiarists. Using an app, a virtual apiarist mentor guides real-world amateurs with precise calculations, tailored advice and a smart beehive monitored by sensors throughout the bee year.
Human rights are still far from being upheld around the world. Our global procurement activities can expose us to country-specific and supplier-specific risks, such as the use of child labour or inadequate work and safety conditions. Our group sees respecting human rights and protecting the environment as high priorities; this applies both internally and beyond the company and, therefore, for our business partners and suppliers. To guarantee that human rights are upheld, including outside the Group, Deutsche Telekom expressly shares the responsibility with its approximately 20,000 active suppliers in over 80 countries.
Acting responsibly and with decency means exercising fairness and sustainability in procurement practices. A social charter applicable to the entire Deutsche Telekom Group defines minimum social standards that our suppliers are also obligated to observe. These strategies include guidelines for human rights and working conditions, environmental protection, equal opportunities, occupational health and safety and the right to form a union.
The Group-wide Code of Conduct forms a comprehensive basis for our own activities and also for our supplier relationships. We rely on dialogue, trust and an appropriate level of scrutiny in our relations with business partners. We conduct evaluations based on ecological and social criteria when selecting our suppliers and subcontractors. A points-based system allows us to make detailed assessments and compare suppliers in terms of sustainability. Fairness and sustainability are our standards – we work only with the best and take our suppliers with us on this journey. You can find further information about our Group-wide sustainable procurement strategy at www.cr-report.telekom.com/site19/suppliers/sustainable-procurement-strategy.
Just as we are mindful of ensuring sustainability in our supply chain, we also offer the same to our customers as a matter of course. This is why, as part of the Deutsche Telekom Group, Magenta Telekom submits to evaluations by EcoVadis, an online platform that companies can use to assess their suppliers’ sustainability. In 2018, the Deutsche Telekom Group was awarded a Gold rating.
Generating energy exactly where it is required is efficient and environmentally friendly. Base stations are often located in very exposed locations, such as treeless hilltops, mountain summits or on roofs or tall masts. These are locations with lots of sun and wind. Magenta Telekom is currently involved in a research project on how these energies can be used in a commercially effective manner. We already operate numerous transmitter stations that use solar energy. One of these stations is even self-sufficient.
The “Ecological Mobile Network Station” is a collaborative research project between the engineering firm Schneemann, the FH Joanneum in Kapfenberg, the University of Vienna, the research association 4ward Energy and Magenta Telekom. It examines in detail the use of renewable energies in transmitter stations. The insights gained in this project will be incorporated in the construction of future transmitter stations. As part of this project, Magenta fitted two transmitter stations in Burgenland with photovoltaic systems. One of them even features its own small-scale wind turbine. The first trial phase demonstrated required changes in terms of wind power, which are now set to be implemented.
Outside of this research project, Magenta already draws on solar energy as a source of energy for its day-to-day operations. A solar plant In Vienna’s 22nd district supplies one-quarter of the energy needed by the local mobile radio station. Another station, located on the Lawinenstein in the Salzkammergut mountains, is operated using 100 percent solar energy – and does not use any other energy sources whatsoever. The Group’s offices at the T-Center in Vienna have served as a small power station since autumn 2013: a photovoltaic system on the building’s roof supplies energy to the charging station in front of the T-Shop situated at Rennweg 97. Our customers are welcome to use the charging station for free while they conduct their business in the shop. Since 2017, solar energy and a saltwater battery – a new, environmentally friendly battery technology made in Austria – have also been energy sources for our #ConnectedGarden, Vienna’s highest smart garden on the roof of the T-Center.
Who says that office buildings can’t be used for gardening? On the T-Center’s terrace, our employees maintain the highest urban garden in Vienna. An IoT box turns it into a #ConnectedGarden, making gardening easier and more efficient by using smartphones. It gives our employees the satisfaction of cultivating and harvesting crops. Beyond that, it demonstrates how gardens and agricultural operations can conserve resources by using mobile communications – and how our cities, with their increasingly warm climates, can become home to new green spaces.
In 2017, 19 “SmartBeds” and two smart herb planters were installed on the roof terrace of T-Mobile headquarters, the T-Center on Rennweg in Vienna, to form the #ConnectedGarden. The heart of the SmartBeds is Magenta’s IoT box, which is connected to the beds’ sensors and transfers measurements such as the temperature, air humidity and soil moisture to the cloud. This enables intelligent control of the bed – through automatic operation on the one hand and, on the other hand, by allowing the gardeners to call up real-time data directly on their smartphones to find out about the status of the beds and plants.
In developing this project, we paid particular attention to ensuring that we took all aspects of sustainability into account. For our employees, the beds provide a welcome opportunity to put their green fingers to use, even in a major city. The roof garden offers a green oasis in day-to-day office life that staff enjoy during breaks and at lunchtime. Our employees have access to the #ConnectedGarden from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
The electricity required for the system comes from solar cells that, thanks to a layout that mimics a forest canopy, allow sufficient sunlight through to the plants but also provide shade for our gardeners on hot days. For overnight and days when there is no sunshine, electricity is provided from Vienna’s first commercial saltwater battery. As a result, our #ConnectedGarden is also a pilot project for Magenta network technology through the use of an innovative, eco-friendly battery technology.
Weighing in at 236 kilograms, the saltwater battery is the first of its kind in Vienna and one of the first in Austria to enter commercial operation. This innovation is developed, built and distributed by BlueSky Energy, a full-service provider of energy storage solutions based in Vöcklamarkt, Upper Austria. The inner workings of the battery feature a sealed energy storage system based on a unique saltwater electrolyte. It uses plentiful, non-toxic materials and modern, cost-saving production techniques. These saltwater batteries require no maintenance and are optimised for daily exhaustive discharge. Even frequent partial charge and discharge cycles have no impact on the batteries’ lifespan.
The SmartBeds were developed by Viennese start-up Smartgreen Solutions. The timber used to create the raised beds and planters was sourced in Austria. The beds were constructed in the workshop of Job-TransFair, a company that employs long-term unemployed people over the age of 50. The design for the beds was created in cooperation with Nut und Feder, a non-profit company that has set itself the aim of helping refugees to integrate in society and find employment.
From electric cars, public transport “job tickets” and the cycle-to-work initiative to the paper saved by electronic online billing: in 2003 T-Mobile Austria became the first Austrian mobile network operator to implement an environmental management system in accordance with the international ISO 14001 standard. Over the years, this has become established as a Group-wide, integrated management system that also covers aspects of occupational health and safety in accordance with the OHSAS 18001 standard. Our company-wide energy management system was successfully certified in accordance with EN ISO 50001 in 2016.
Our customers therefore have the power to make a significant contribution to environmental protection with Magenta by switching to paperless, electronic billing. Although an overwhelming three-quarters majority of mobile network operators have offered this eco-friendly and practical billing option for several years, the Austrian Telecommunications Act 2012 was a step backwards. Since then, paper billing has been mandatory unless customers expressly refuse it – whereas previously, bills were provided electronically and, while obviously also available in paper form, this was only supplied on request.
The negative impact of the law can be seen in recent years, with the proportion of online bills falling from a peak of 81 percent to 76 percent. Online billing nevertheless saved almost 70 million sheets of paper (and corresponding deliveries) in 2017. Despite the drop in relative terms, the volume of paper saved has increased due to our rising customer numbers. We’d like to thank our customers for this; we will also continue our efforts to persuade others, so that we can raise the rate higher still.
Magenta employees can use electric cars from our vehicle pool for business travel in Vienna. A charging station powered by our photovoltaic facility is available in front of the T-Center in St. Marx to recharge vehicle batteries. In 2017, we introduced another eco-friendly innovation: employees can select an electric car as their personal business vehicle, allowing them to make emission-free business trips.
One element of every company’s energy footprint is the commute to work. The option for employees to spend up to 40% of their contracted hours working from home can reduce daily commuter traffic. In 2018, as an alternative to subsidised parking facilities in the T-Center, we introduced the “job ticket” – a subsidised annual ticket for public transport. This incentive has been well received in its first year and allows our employees to make a personal contribution to eco-conscious mobility.
Many Magenta employees already travel to work by bicycle. In doing so, they save time in daily traffic jams or journeys on crowded public transport. They also protect the environment and improve their health through exercise. Of course, lockable parking places are available for bicycles at the T-Center.
To inspire more employees to cycle as an alternative method of commuting to work, Magenta has supported the “Cycle to Work” campaign for the last four years. The campaign involves cooperation between the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, participating provincial governments and the cycling lobbying group Radlobby Österreich. Last year in May – cycling action month – more than 15,000 people cycled over 3.5 million kilometres. T-Mobile Austria employees contributed to this total.
Also in May, the Magenta Works Council offers a bicycle check and repair service. Ultimately, cyclists should not only feel relaxed but also as safe as possible as they ride to work.
These are the core elements of our environmental management system. As well as optimising the use of energy in our network, computing centres and shops, it also includes resource-conserving travel management, ecologisation of our vehicle fleet and helping our employees get to work and home in the eco-friendliest way possible.