CO2 savings by customers thanks to Green ICT services

The ICT sector has a key role to play in reducing CO2 emissions. A study conducted by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative found that the ICT sector has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions worldwide by some 16%. This potential reduction is around seven times the amount of CO2 emissions produced by the sector itself.

Swisscom is constantly working on making its services ever more resource-friendly and energy-efficient, as well as offering products and services to help customers reduce their CO2 emissions and save energy.

During the financial year, ICT solutions contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. For example, virtual conferences allow companies to cut down on business travel, and communications solutions allow employees to work from their home office. Furthermore, the further optimisation of vehicle fleets, the use of energy-efficient services from data centres and the intelligent control of office buildings, equipment and power networks can all make a useful contribution toward reducing CO2 emissions.

Private households reduce CO2 when they replace physical media such as CDs, DVDs and magazines with digital products. E-shopping eliminates trips to brick-and-mortar stores and reduces the energy needed to maintain the sales outlets.

Green ICT services for business customers

Green ICT services from Swisscom help business customers in their efforts to reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Swisscom has set itself the target of boosting revenues from these services by 10% annually in the following categories:

  • ICT solutions for buildings: Optimising energy consumption
  • ICT solutions for mobility: Reducing business travel
  • Data centre services: Outsourcing and virtualising servers in efficient data centres and optimising energy consumption
  • Dematerialisation: Saving paper, solutions for paper-saving printing and working without paper
  • Home office: Home office and mobile working solutions, reducing business travel
  • Virtual conferences: Reducing business travel and solutions for efficient workplaces

The services offered by Swisscom are labelled as recommended by myclimate. This recommendation label documents how much energy and CO2 are saved through the use of the services and can be viewed on the Internet.

Swisscom once again heavily promoted its Green ICT services in the financial year 2014 and expanded the range of services labelled by myclimate. Revenues from Green ICT services continued to grow, underlining the appeal of the services.

Swisscom collaborated with Home Office Day and the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) to investigate the prevalence of mobile working and the use of home offices.

  • The representative survey of people working in German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland reveals for the first time how many people work while on the move and how many days they spend working from home. According to this survey, more than half (54%) of the 4.5 million people currently working in Switzerland could essentially work while on the move based on their job descriptions. A quarter of the workers, or just a little over 1 million people, already do this several times a month or even several times a week. Mobile working is a rather seldom occurrence for 11% (in other words, once a month or less). Another 13% could take advantage of mobile working yet do not, either because it is not permitted (9%) or because they lack the technology required.
  • This survey of 1838 workers in German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland reveals that: 27% of those surveyed work from home on a daily basis. In the survey, a home office day was only recorded as such if the worker spent the entire day at home, thus eliminating their commute to work. On average this is the case 3 days per month or 0.7 days per week. In Switzerland, a total of around 42 million days are spent working at a home office every year. No differences were found between the German-speaking and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. These figures have made it possible to calculate the CO2 reductions achieved through the use of home offices more precisely than in previous years.

Swisscom also carried out the following activities in the area of Green ICT:

  • National Home Office Day: Swisscom has supported the Home Office Day as a partner since its inception in 2010 and participated for the fifth successive year in 2014. The “home office friendly” label introduced on Home Office Day identifies companies, in job advertisements for instance, as attractive employers.
  • Label: Launch of another label, the “work-friendly space” label, for restaurants where mobile working is allowed and supported through the provision of a WLAN connection and power supply.

Green ICT services for residential customers

The residential customer segment of Swisscom Switzerland launched a programme during the year under review to further develop its range of Green ICT services for residential customers. In doing so, Swisscom aims to optimise its services from an ecological point of view (for example, in terms of radiation and energy efficiency) and provide its residential customers with transparent information.

During the year under review, this programme could boast the following successes:

  • Dematerialisation thanks to online billing: Online bills are an attractive and environmentally friendly alternative to paper bills. The share of customers who opted to receive their bill online rose from 18.3% in 2013 to 20.8% as of the end of 2014. In its communications with customers, Swisscom emphasises the fact that online billing not only benefits the environment, but also saves the customer time and money. The company also carries out campaigns together with the WWF to try to persuade customers of the advantages of paperless billing.
  • Docsafe data centre service: Docsafe by Swisscom allows residential customers to safely store all their documents on Swiss servers in their own personal cloud. The documents can then be managed, accessed from anywhere in the world and shared in encrypted format via computer, tablet or mobile phone.
  • tiko Smart Energy: Our subsidiary Swisscom Energy Solutions Ltd has launched the tiko service, which allows residential customers to control their heat pumps, electric heating systems and boilers remotely and immediately alerts them in the event of any problems. tiko also compares the energy efficiency of heating systems in homes and businesses, and is free of charge for residential customers of Swisscom. This service aims to recover balancing energy in the Swiss energy market that can be used to offset fluctuations in demand by creating the largest possible pool of heat pumps and electric heating systems. This pool will allow significantly more renewable energy from energy sources such as wind and sun to be incorporated in the power supply and, in doing so, stabilise the power network.

Ecological and socially acceptable product innovation

The CR strategy is an integral part of the product design process. Swisscom gathers information on the effects of new products on the strategic priorities of the CR strategy using a CR checklist. If the effects are shown to be substantial, suitable measures are taken.

  • Eco points are now also available on fixed network devices: Fixed-line devices and mobile handsets produced by different manufacturers vary not only in terms of design and performance, but also in terms of environmental compatibility. Information on the energy consumption or the raw materials used in the manufacture of a device has not been readily available to customers in the past. To create more transparency, Swisscom became the first provider to introduce an eco points rating in Switzerland in 2011. Since then, all the devices in Swisscom’s portfolio are awarded eco points according to three equally weighted criteria. These are low energy consumption in use, low energy consumption in manufacture and responsible choice of raw materials. Eco points are limited to ecological factors. They help customers to make an informed choice about environmental friendliness when buying a device. Swisscom made further developments in the eco points rating system in 2014. Customers now benefit from an independent rating provided by myclimate when purchasing fixed-line devices.
  • Repairing and recycling devices: By law, Swisscom provides a two-year guarantee on all telecoms devices, such as phones, modems, mobile phones and mobile unlimited USB modems, and also offers repair services. In addition, any electronic devices from the Swisscom range can be returned to the company, and routers are re-used if possible. Recycling is performed in conjunction with SWICO Recycling, the recycling commission of the Swiss Association for Information, Communication and Organisational Technology, and is financed by a recycling fee charged in advance. Recycling statistics are available from SWICO.
  • Swisscom Mobile Aid: In 2014, around 82,000 mobile handsets were returned to Swisscom and many of these were resold via a third-party company to countries where there is a demand for low-priced second-hand devices. All proceeds from the sales go to the social enterprise réalise and the SOS-Kinderdorf Schweiz relief organisation. Devices that can no longer be sold are professionally recycled by SWICO. The return rate of used mobile handsets decreased in 2014 compared with the previous year and amounted to 6.2% (prior year 9.8%).