There is no Plan B for the environment.It is our duty to this generation and those to come to handle resources economically. For this reason, T-Mobile has been a 100% carbon-neutral (TÜV-certified) company since 2015. We are working on making our technology more efficient. We purchase energy from emission-free, renewable sources. We offset the remaining, (as of yet) unavoidable emissions through climate projects. We buy functional phones back so that they can be reused. We recycle old devices that can no longer be used. And we are the only Austrian mobile operator to offer our customers the Fairphone, the world’s first sustainably-produced smartphone.
When it comes to reducing our CO2 emissions, we have only one objective: zero.
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.
The energy management strategy that we introduced in 2012 targets a number of different points. We are constantly modernising our network, improving the use of our server farms’ capacity, and saving energy in the T-Center, in all our shops, and with our vehicle fleet. The result is a sharp drop in energy consumption per gigabyte of data that we transfer for our customers.
Thanks to these measures, we have ensured that our total electricity consumption increases only very slightly, despite the surge in data demand: An increase of 86% in data flow saw energy consumption rise by just 10%.
Since the beginning of 2015, our own electricity procurement, which covers 90% of our total energy requirements, has been completely free of CO2 emissions and comes from renewable, nuclear-energy-free sources. In terms of the remaining 10% – electricity which is supplied to individual locations by leasers from unknown sources –, we compensate for potential CO2 emissions through CO2 offsetting according to internationally-recognised standards. In the same way, we compensate for emissions from other sources, for example, CO2 emissions from heating our buildings, our logistics, vehicles, or paper consumption. For 2015, 2016 and 2017, this impressive record was confirmed by a certificate from TÜV Austria.
Our company-wide energy management system was successfully certified according to the EN ISO 50001 norm in 2016. The objective of this system is to continually improve energy performance, i.e., the efficient use of energy. In compliance with legal requirements, regular energy audits are carried out, in which external auditors analyse our energy consumption.
To offset our CO2 emissions, we have chosen certified projects from Africa in cooperation with Climate Partners. The actions we support include the use of efficient stoves in Uganda, water treatment projects in Kenya, and forest conservation in the Congo. We chose Africa because on the one hand, mobile communications open up great opportunities for economic and social development for many people. On the other hand, Africa is home to mining regions for rare earth elements and other raw materials that are used in smartphones. Through our support we aspire to contribute to the development of civil society to make conflict-free mining a reality.
Some of the raw materials used to produce the Fairphone also come from these sources. The first smartphone to be sustainably produced according to social and ecologically fair criteria is available for sale exclusively at T-Mobile.
Our volume of data transfer is increasing exponentially, while our electricity consumption is barely rising.
Around 85% of the energy required at T-Mobile Austria goes into the mobile network. Despite the surge in data, we have managed to keep our total electricity consumption almost constant. We are permanently modernising and increasing the efficiency of our technology.
In 2010, the T-Mobile network transported around 5,000 terabytes of data. In 2017, this volume reached over 313.503 terabytes, an increase of 86% from the previous year and of around 6.545% since 2010. Meanwhile, energy consumption only rose by 10% from 2015 to 2016. The consumption required for one gigabyte of transferred data was again halved from 2016 to 2017.
Via these measures, we have accomplished the following in the past six years:
- The new LTE mobile communications generation is further increasing the efficiency of data transfer.
- By modernising our 2G and 3G network, we have reduced our energy requirements. At the same time, this has improved call quality and achieved higher connection speeds.
- Numerous transmission facilities have been upgraded with more efficient climate technology. Many facilities are also climatised with “free cooling”: This uses colder air from outside in place of air-conditioning, which requires a lot electricity.
We are bringing the first fairly produced smartphone to Austria for environmentally-conscious customers.
The Dutch social enterprise Fairphone aims to sustainably change the manufacture of phones with its smartphone produced according to Fair Trade regulations. The Fairphone 2 is characterised by raw materials from conflict-free mining areas, fair working conditions, easy repair by the users themselves, and the opportunity to upgrade individual components. As one of the first mobile communications partners of Fairphone in the world, T-Mobile is its sole provider in Austria.
T-Mobile provides its customers with multiple opportunities to use their smartphone in conscious ways. Since as early as 2014, all T-Mobile phones have been sold without a SIM lock: a block that prevents you from using your phone with any other mobile network. This enables phones to be passed along within families, circles of friends, or for charitable purposes, as SIM cards issued by all operators can be used in the devices.
Likewise, we have been buying back used and still functional smartphones at the market price since 2014, whether they were originally sold by us or by another operator. After the data has been carefully deleted and the phones refurbished, these are still able to perform useful functions for a long time (see next section). Phones that are no longer functional are, of course, properly recycled.
Furthermore, Fairphone ensures that its supply chain conforms with Fair Trade principles. As the first manufacturer of its kind, it has received Fair Trade certification for gold, an important mineral used to make the main circuit board of a smartphone. Rare earth elements are obtained from conflict-free mining, while working conditions from suppliers are continuously monitored
The alternative smartphone Fairphone and its availability in the T-Mobile network, a 100% carbon-neutral company, are of increasing interest not only to environmentally aware private customers, but also to companies who want to pay more attention to a low ecological footprint themselves. In this way, they can establish a supply chain that conserves resources as much as possible. We are especially proud that the nature conservation organisation WWF Austria has opted for a Fairphone with T-Mobile for these reasons.
More information on the Fairphone
Unlocked phones and phone repurchasing allow used smartphones to have a fulfilled second life.
Durchschnittlich alle 18 Monate kaufen Österreicherinnen und Österreicher ein neues Handy. Die meisten der funktionstüchtigen, gebrauchten Altgeräte samt ihren wertvollen Rohstoffen landen in der Schublade. Mit unversperrten Geräten zur einfachen Weitergabe sowie einem Rückkaufprogramm samt Bewertungs-App sorgt T-Mobile für Langlebigkeit gebrauchter Smartphones.
Just like smartphone users in many other countries, Austrians are hunter-gatherers: They buy a new device on average every year and a half to be able to use new features. Unfortunately, most used yet still functional old devices are no longer in use. An estimated 11 million phones languish unused in Austria.
T-Mobile has implemented several measures to counter this trend. Since 2014, all smartphones sold by T-Mobile have been unlocked. This means that used devices can easily be passed onto a friend or family member, or sold online, increasing the value of their original investment.
T-Mobile instituted a buy-back policy for used mobile devices in 2011. Thanks to the “As-you-like principle”, this programme has gained a new dynamic. The “ „Handy Ankauf“ ” (Phone Purchase) app provides transparent information about the projected sales value of the used device which is bought by T-Mobile shops in the form of vouchers. Repurchase is also offered to customers of other operators.
The reutilisation process is implemented in cooperation with Teqcycle Solutions . This Munich-based company is certified for its high environmental standards and ensures that data stored on the device is properly and securely deleted, so that personal information cannot fall into the wrong hands. The devices are subsequently refurbished and are resold in phone shops, online markets, and through other channels. If the devices are beyond repair or their technology is outdated, then Teqcycle ensures that they are recycled in Europe under controlled conditions.
In compliance with its legal obligations, T-Mobile also, of course, accepts old devices that are no longer functional from customers for proper recycling. In doing so, they support DEBRA Austria (the charity for sufferers of the skin disease Epidermolysis bullosa, also known as “butterfly children”), as well as the Kinder Krebs Hilfe charity (charity for children with cancer): For each phone handed in, T-Mobile makes a donation to one of these organisations.
TUN Funding: We support sustainable innovations with €50,000 every year.
An online service for social interpreting, a billing platform for E-car charging stations, a tablet display in Braille for blind people. These are just three examples of projects implemented as sustainable problem solutions by mobile communications. These and numerous other innovations are supported by awards granted by the T-Mobile Environment and Sustainability Fund (TUN).
Think, speak, DO: The award winners of 2017.
The innovative use of information and communications technology can contribute to the reduction by a fifth of all CO2 emissions worldwide. For this reason, T-Mobile founded and began financing the non-profit T-Mobile Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitsfonds in 2011. Every year since, €50,000 has been awarded to projects that use the mobile communications as a tool to solve environmental and sustainability problems. For us, this also includes projects which advocate a fair world and equal opportunities.
The Fund and its jury, chaired by former EU Commissioner Franz Fischler, are independent from T-Mobile and are correspondingly subject to the legal requirements for non-profit foundations and funds set out by the Regional Authority of Vienna. Since 2015, the business magazine Trend has been a media partner of the TUN Fund, which allows the innovation projects submitted to reach a wider audience.
The projects submitted for the competition demonstrate both the creativity of the developers and the diverse range of values that mobile communication adds to sustainable development. The winning project in 2016 was InterprAID, an online service for easy and cost-effective multilingual interpreting services. In developing this service, the project operators reacted to the current migration situation, which also represents great linguistic challenges for social services. A further award-winner, the start-up be.ENERGISED, is a vendor-neutral, Cloud-based software solution, which controls, monitors, bills, and networks charging stations.
A tablet developed by for people with visual impairments (1st place in 2014) has the potential to significantly improve the everyday life of 314 million people with visual impairments worldwide. The display is enabled for Braille writing, as well as graphics and maps for visually-impaired and blind users, thus facilitating easy access to the wide online world. As a result, the TUN award winner also received support in the form of office space in the T-Center and mentoring by experienced T-Mobile managers.
We pay attention to a sustainable and fair supply chain.
Acting fairly and responsibly means displaying fairness and sustainability in our purchasing policies. The group-wide Social Charter and Code of Conduct both apply not only to us, but also to our suppliers.
We aspire to act sustainably and fairly, particularly towards the generations to come, and we also ask the same of our suppliers. Our Social Charter, which applies to the entire Deutsche Telekom group, specifies minimum social standards that our suppliers must also adhere to. These Strategien include guidelines on human rights and working conditions, environmental protection, equal opportunities, industrial health and safety protection, as well as the right to join a trade union.
The group-wide „ Code of Conduct“ is a comprehensive basis not only for individual action, but also our supplier relations. In our dealings with business partners we place great importance on dialogue and trust, as well as appropriate monitoring. When selecting our suppliers and subcontractors, we carry out a strict assessment based on ecological and social criteria. A points system allows potential suppliers to be assessed in detail and compared in terms of sustainability. For the sake of fairness and sustainability, we aspire to work only with the best and take our suppliers with us on this journey.
You can find more information on our group-wide strategy for sustainable procurement as http://www.cr-bericht.telekom.com/site15/lieferanten/strategie-zur-nachhaltigkeit-im-einkauf..
While ensuring the sustainability of our supply chain, we also, of course, offer the same in reverse to our customers. For this reason, T-Mobile, as a part of the Deutsche Telekom group, is subject to evaluation by the online platform Ecovadis, which helps the company assess the sustainability of its suppliers. In 2017, the Deutsche Telekom Gruppe was awarded the Gold rating for this.
We use the sun and wind to supply our transmission facilities with energy.
Transmission facilities are usually exposed to the elements. Using their energy commercially and sensibly is the subject of one research project T-Mobile is involved in. At present, we already operate several transmission facilities that use solar and wind energy. One of these is even already self-sufficient.
Producing energy exactly where it is needed is efficient and environmentally-friendly. This necessitates the availability of energy at the locations it is needed in. This is often the case with mobile communications sites in particular, as they are often located in very exposed areas, such as treeless hills, mountain tops, rooftops, or on high masts. And in these locations, there is a lot of sun and wind.
As part of the research project “Ecological Mobile Communications Sites”, the Ingenieurbüro Schneemann, the FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences Kapfenberg, the University of Vienna, and the 4ward Energy research institution have worked with T-Mobile to examine the use of regenerative energy at transmission sites in detail. The results are taken into account in the construction of future transmission sites. For this project, T-Mobile fitted two transmission stations in Burgenland with photovoltaic systems. One of these even features its own wind turbine. The first trial phase showed a need for changes in wind power, which are to be implemented shortly.
Beyond this research project, T-Mobile has already implemented solar energy as an energy source in everyday operations: In Vienna’s 22nd district, a quarter of the energy required for the base station comes from solar energy. The site at Lawinenstein in Salzkammergut has managed well without any additional energy sources and runs completely on solar power. The Viennese group head office at the T-Center itself has served as a small power station since autumn 2013: A photovoltaic system on the roof of the building supplies energy to the charging station in front of the T-Shop at Rennweg 97. This can be used by our customers free of charge while they are attending to business in our shop.
The electronic bill: One small step for our customers, one large step for our environment.
From electric cars to conserving paper through online electronic billing: T-Mobile Austria has employed an environmental management system according to the ISO 14001 international standard since 2003, making them the first mobile provider in Austria to do so. Since then, this has been established as a group-wide, integrated management system that also covers aspects of industrial health and safety according to OHSAS 18001. Our company-wide energy management system in line with the EN ISO 50001 norm was successfully certified in 2016.
We provide our customers with the chance to make a major contribution to protecting the environment: by switching to paperless, electronic bills. Although an overwhelming “three-quarter majority” of mobile users opt for this environmentally-friendly and practical form of billing, the 2012 Telecommunications Act took it a step backwards: Since that time, we are obligated to send a paper bill unless customers state otherwise – until then, bills had been published electronically, and obviously if desired, also on paper. The reverse thrust instigated by this law was illustrated in the past years, where the proportion of online bills fell from a record 81% to 76%.
Nevertheless: Last year, this saved over 7 million sheets of paper (and their delivery). In spite of the relative decline, the amount of paper saved has increased, due to our increasing number of customers. We would like to thank our customers for this – and stay ahead with our persuasive efforts to increase this number further.
T-Mobile employees can use an electric car from our vehicle pool for business travel within Vienna. A photovoltaic energy station is available in front of the T-Center in St. Marx for charging. In 2017, we introduced another new environmentally-friendly feature: Employees are can also choose E-cars as their personal company cars to complete their business trips emission-free.
These are the main themes of our environmental management strategy: Besides the energy optimisation of our network, computer centres, and shops, they also include resource-saving travel management and making our vehicle fleet more ecological.
We encourage our employees to cycle.
T-Mobile Austria supports the national “Cycle to Work” campaign and also provides its employees with a free bike check.
Part of every company’s energy record is the commute to the workplace. The opportunity to carry out 40% of working hours at home helps to reduce daily commuter traffic. And many employees at T-Mobile Austria are already travelling to work by bike. In doing so, they avoid the daily traffic or trips in packed public transportation. In addition, they protect the environment and improve their health through exercise. Naturally, lockable bicycle racks are available at the T-Center.
To motivate even more of our colleagues to switch to cycling, T-Mobile began supporting the “ RadeltZurArbeit” campaign three years ago. This is a cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the participating local governments, and the sponsoring organisation “Radlobby Österreich” (Bike Lobby Austria). All company teams that cover at least half of their commute by bike during the yearly campaign month of May have the chance to win valuable prizes. During the campaign month last May, over 15,000 people “pedalled” more than 3.5 million kilometres - a large proportion of which can be credited to employees of T-Mobile Austria.
The works council at T-Mobile also offers a mobile repair and bike check in May. After all, we want cyclists to be able to get to work not only comfortably, but also as safely as possible.
With the IoT, we are currently operating the highest (smart) garden in Vienna.
Who says that you can’t use office blocks for gardening? On the terrace at the T-Center, our employees run the highest urban garden in Vienna. And the IoT, the Internet of Things, is turning it into a #ConnectedGarden, making gardening via smartphone app more efficient and easier. This makes growing and harvesting enjoyable, and also shows how gardens and farms can be operated to conserve resources using the opportunities provided by mobile communications.
In 2017, 19 “smart beds” and two smart herb tables were run as a #ConnectedGarden on the roof terrace of the T-Mobile T-Center headquarters at Rennweg in Vienna. The centrepiece of the smart beds is the T-Mobile IoT box, which is connected to sensors in the beds and transmits readings such as temperature, air humidity, or soil humidity to the Cloud. This allows the beds to be intelligently controlled — on the one hand, via automated operations, and on the other hand by the gardener via an app that provides real-time data on the status of the beds and plants.
In developing this project, we placed great priority on ensuring that all aspects of sustainable action were taken into account. For our employees, the beds are a welcome opportunity to put their green fingers to work in a large city. The rooftop garden offers a green oasis in day-to-day office life and is enjoyed during breaks or at lunchtime. Our employees have 24/7 access to the T-Center and are therefore able to garden and harvest even at the weekend.
The “SmartBeds” were implemented by the Viennese start-up Smartgreen Solutions. This start-up aims to make green areas within the city smart using the IoT in order to create an incentive for greener living spaces. The founders and directors of Smartgreen Solutions, Manfred Czujan and Robert Veselka, have developed an extensively self-sufficient system to combine the use of natural resources such as rainwater and solar energy with state-of-the-art technology such as Machine-to-Machine communication (M2M).
The electricity required for the facilities comes from solar cells and thanks to their design, they act like a leaf canopy to allow the plants enough sunlight, while also providing the “gardeners” with shade on hot days. The electricity is stored for cloudy days and nights in Vienna’s first commercially operated saltwater battery. This also makes our #ConnectedGarden a pilot project for T-Mobile’s technology thanks to the use of innovative, green battery technology.
The saltwater battery, which weighs 236 kilograms, is the first of its kind in Vienna and one of the first to be commercially used in Austria. This innovation is developed, constructed, and distributed by bluesky.energy, a full-service provider for energy storage solutions based in Vöcklamarkt, Upper Austria. The battery’s interior workings consist of a sealed energy storage system based on the unique saltwater electrolyte. It is made using abundant, non-toxic materials and modern, cost-saving production technology. These saltwater batteries do not require any maintenance and are optimised for total discharge on a daily basis. Even frequent partial loading and discharging cycles have no impact on battery life.
The wood for the SmartBeds and tables comes from Austria. The beds were built in the Job-TransFair joinery which employs long-term unemployed people over the age of 50. The beds were designed in cooperation with Nut und Feder, a non-profit GmbH which is committed to integrating refugees and giving them work.