Other environmental aspects in the company


Swisscom distinguishes between the deployment of short-life and long-life materials, and is committed to reducing the environmental impact of short-life materials, in particular paper. Swisscom uses recycled paper with the “Blue Angel” environmental quality seal in its offices and only paper with the FSC Seal (Forest Stewardship Council) for other purposes such as invoices, advertising and print media. The company significantly reduced paper consumption by switching to bi monthly customer invoicing and paperless online billing. For printouts at its offices, Swisscom introduced “follow-me printing”, which helped to reduce paper consumption. It also used 34 g/m2 paper with the “Blue Angel” environmental quality seal for telephone directories. Paper consumption for telephone directories is on the decline as significantly fewer directories are being printed.

In tonnesQuality2012201320142014 in %
Office (copiers, printers)Blue Angel 11701431301.7
Print mediaFSC Seal3,8843,4983,22543.3
Bills and envelopesFSC Seal4664564245.7
Phone directoriesBlue Angel4,244662 23,67049.3
Total paper consumption8,7644,7597,449100.0
1 75% in 2014, 100% previous years
2 Telephones directories outside perimeter Swisscom (shift to LTV and takeover of LTV by Swisscom in 2014)

Cables, optical fibres and wooden poles

Network construction necessitates the use of long-life materials such as cables and optical fibres. In 2014, Swisscom used the following materials in its fixed network: optical fibres, copper pairs and eco-friendly polyethylene piping. Swisscom also installed wooden telephone poles which are treated with copper and chromium-containing preservatives. Three partner companies guarantee these telephone poles are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way at the end of their useful life.

in km, tonnes or numberUnit201220132014
Glass fibrekm1,090,0001,140,5091,377,471
Copper pairskm145,797110,458104,032
Plastic pipes PEkm831745810
Plastic pipes PETons798716774
Telephone poles (wood)Number of items5,9316,6598,789


Swisscom projects its water consumption levels by multiplying the average measured in 1995 in its largest buildings by the number of FTEs. The average measurement was updated in 2014 and is significantly lower than before (115 l per FTE per day in 1995 in comparison with approx. 40 l per FTE per day). In the sanitation area, levels have decreased accordingly (see table of environmental performance indicators, page 36). The only business process in which water is used is cooling. Water as an environmental indicator thus carries little weight for Swisscom. In order to cool the return air in its data centres, Swisscom uses dry cooling. Hybrid or adiabatic (i.e. through evaporation) systems to cool return air are only used in exceptional cases. In accordance with an internal directive issued in September 2011, preference must be given to rain water or, if permitted, river/lake water in such cases. In the case of new data centres, the proportion of rain water used for cooling return air must be higher than 80%, and operation of the return air coolers using water may not exceed 15% of the total annual operating time.

Water used for cooling therefore accounts for significantly less than Swisscom’s total water consumption.

Cooling systems and cooling agents

Swisscom is in the process of replacing all compression cooling systems that use cooling agents at its telephone exchanges with the advanced Mistral cooling system. Mistral cools telecommunications equipment throughout the entire year using only fresh air and does not require any cooling agents whatsoever. Around 85% of Swisscom’s telephone exchanges have already been retrofitted with Mistral. Swisscom is also increasingly cooling its transmitter and mobile base stations without the use of compression cooling systems. Compression cooling systems with cooling agents are only in operation at the data centres, with Swisscom checking regularly that they are free of leaks. Cooling agent emissions in the year under review, determined by the refill volume was 128 kg (prior year: 88 kg). It has a global warming potential (GWP) of 271 tonnes CO2 equivalent (prior year: 221) and an ozone depleting potential (ODP) of 0 kg R-11 equivalent (prior year: 0 kg). The global warming potential of cooling agents is described in a separate climate report written in accordance with ISO 14064. Swisscom requires the use of natural cooling agents for the conversion or development of data centre cooling systems. If no other option is available, Swisscom uses agents with a very low global warming potential.

  • Building renovations
  • Low-consumption vehicles
  • Mobility management

Batteries and emergency power systems

Swisscom services must also be available in the event of power outages. To ensure availability, it has installed batteries and emergency power systems at telecommunications buildings and data centres. Swisscom regularly reviews the prescribed security measures in the battery rooms to prevent any possible danger to the environment through the use of batteries. At the end of their useful life, Swisscom has the batteries disposed of and recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. The emergency power systems are only used during power outages and for a few hours during annual test runs. The necessary fuel consumption is included in the overall figure of the fuel consumption of Swisscom.


Swisscom now sends TV set-top boxes as non registered parcel post. This measure and the smaller size of the new boxes have reduced shipping volumes by 52% and shipping weight by 16%. The sophisticated packaging design dispenses entirely with foam inserts without affecting the protective function of the packaging itself.

Waste and recycling

Swisscom minimises the volume of waste it produces by carefully selecting materials and extending the useful life of products. A contract is in place with the Swiss Waste Exchange for the disposal and recycling of waste. Special waste is disposed of by authorised companies in accordance with legal requirements. Waste is sorted into 16 different types, which fall under the four main categories of recycling, disposal of household and operational waste in waste incineration plants and special waste disposal. Leftover cables and building materials are sorted on site and disposed of directly. The volume of household waste is calculated by multiplying the number of full-time equivalent employees at Swisscom in Switzerland by the average Swiss consumption.

In tonnes2012201320142014 in %
Waste categories
Domestic waste disposal in incineration plants1,2931,3561,44338.7
Operational waste disposal in incineration plants15523540410.8
Special waste2010170.4
Total waste3,1283,2263,727100.0

Internal guidelines are in place to govern the recycling and disposal of network infrastructure in compliance with the law and in an environmentally friendly manner. Swisscom also uses recycled materials: the individual locations use recycled paper and the head office uses rain water and district heating from the nearby purification plant, and Swisscom also re uses routers where possible.

Soil and biodiversity

The base and transmitter stations ensure that the whole of Switzerland can use telecommunications, radio and TV services. In some cases, these stations are located outside populated areas. Six transmitter stations are on the edge of protected areas and two (0.4%) in protected areas of national significance (moor landscapes, water and migratory bird reserves, Ramsar and Emerald sites), and 62 base stations (1%) in protected areas, two of which are located in the Swiss National Park.

Only a few square metres of the surface are sealed for the construction of a base or transmitter station. In isolated cases, the stations may impair the natural scenery, even if Swisscom makes every effort to integrate them in the best way possible. Other impacts from the stations have not been detected. All base and transmitter stations were approved by the relevant authorities. When Swisscom dismantles decommissioned transmitter stations, it rehabilitates the ground in accordance with internal guidelines issued by Swisscom Broadcast Ltd. In 2014, Swisscom dismantled ten stations and rehabilitated the ground. The stations in question were used exclusively for broadcasting analogue TV signals and are no longer required.

Swisscom supports a number of partners who work to protect the soil and biodiversity. This support takes the form of financial assistance as well as assistance through the personal efforts of employees on site during Nature Days. These Nature Days are part of the corporate volunteering programme “Give & Grow”. In 2014, Swisscom employees clocked up a total of 600 volunteer days for nature and landscape conservation. Swisscom also provides technical services to support the Swiss National Park.

Other air emissions

Besides CO2 emissions, the burning of fossil fuels for heating and transport also produces NOx and SO2 emissions. These emissions are calculated using the relevant conversion factors and depend on the amount of vehicle fuel and heating fuel consumed. Swisscom is reducing NOx- and SO2 emissions by continually optimising heating boilers and drive motors. The emissions are listed in the table of environmental performance indicators.