To ensure that it has a successful sustainability record, the A1 TelekomAustria Group takes into account not only economic criteria, but socialand ecological aspects as well. Being an ideal digitalisation partnerallows it to make valuable contributions in all three areas.
Digitalisation offers promising prospects for economic development by openingup entirely new options for enhanced efficiency and growth that target an abun-dance of economic sectors and business models. Accordingly, the A1 TelekomAustria Group began long ago to transform itself from an infrastructure, connec-tivity and broadband provider into the ideal digitalisation partner. At the sametime, the Group also specifically promotes the competent and safe use of digitalmedia to ensure that the associated opportunities and potential are available toas many people as possible in wider society. The A1 Telekom Austria Group alsotakes steps to ensure that its infrastructure roll-out, operation, maintenance anddismantling activities are as sustainable as possible. The Group consequentlyplays its part in leveraging the potential of ICT to mitigate climate change. A studyundertaken by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSi) in 2015 has shown thatthe use of ICT has the potential to cut global CO2 emissions by 20 % by 2030.
The A1 Telekom Austria Group implemented a group-wide, integrated sustainabilitymanagement system back in 2010. The group-wide sustainability strategy was de-rived from a materiality analysis (see ‘Vision and Strategy’). The Corporate Sustain-ability department is responsible for coordinating and managing sustainability ini-tiatives. As part of Group Communications & Sustainability under the direct respon-sibility of CEO Alejandro Plater, this department coordinates the implementation ofthe sustainability strategy with those in charge in the relevant countries.
Social commitment: A1 Internet for All
Studies such as the Global Information Technology Report 2016 by Strategy&project that an increasing rate of digitalisation will result in higher GDP, lowerunemployment and greater innovation activity. In light of this, ‘digital fitness’ isbecoming a top priority on both a societal and individual level.
Consequently, with its group-wide initiative ‘A1 Internet for All’, the A1 TelekomAustria Group is organising a series of free workshops to specifically promote thedevelopment of the knowledge and skills required to create equal opportunitiesfor people to leverage the potential of digitalisation. As early as 2011, the Groupfounded the ‘A1 Internet for All’ media literacy initiative in Austria und rolled outcomparable projects and initiatives in most countries the Group is active in.
The A1 Telekom Austria Group has set itself the goal of training as many as150,000 participants by 2018 — with different workshops aimed at children,young adults, adults and senior citizens. For the children and young adults targetgroup, the priority is to ensure they learn at an early age to shape the digitalworld and not just to consume it. Some of the content used for these workshopsis also being supplied in the form of training materials for lessons. One of the as-pects of the initiative in Austria is to invite parents to attend information evenings,where they can learn about children’s online usage habits and how they can pro-tect children against any potential dangers. Training sessions for senior citizensfocus on breaking down access barriers and encouraging experimentation. Inter-related courses, practical examples for daily digital life and tips on how to usedigital media properly help to improve senior citizens’ understanding of the Inter-net. All workshops also touch on security and safety aspects. By 2017, more than153,000 people participated in media literacy training, meaning the correspond-ing objective was achieved ahead of schedule.
According to the 2017 scientific evaluation undertaken by the NPO Centre of theVienna University of Economics, A1 in Austria is playing an instrumental role inclosing the ‘digital gap’.
Products with social value added
Digitalisation can also make daily life easier for socially deprived or physicallyimpaired people. New information and communication technologies have the ca-pacity to help blind or severely visually impaired people, for example, to integrateinto the general education system — even without the use of Braille. Vipnet alsoprovides mobile phones featuring larger displays or simplified menu navigationfor visually impaired people in Croatia. SMS and chat messaging are useful forhearing-impaired people, on the other hand. This is why velcom in Belarus offersspecial rates to people with impaired hearing, while A1 Slovenija offers specialtariffs for blind and deaf people including data allowances (unlimited voice callsand text messages).
In a society in which people are progressively ageing, health is naturally of para-mount importance. E-health solutions are the future of the healthcare system inmany areas. To that end, A1 in Austria is already contributing to provide a ‘MedicalData Network’. This network interlinks doctors, hospitals, laboratories and otherhealthcare institutions. The multimedia hospital bed, also known as the ‘E-CareTerminal’, is diversifying the conventional hospital bed, enriching everyday hospitallife with a number of additional services and supporting the work processes of carestaff. Simple applications like those supplied by A1 in Slovenia are also making lifeeasier: The application ‘Vem, kaj jem!’ (‘I know what I’m eating!’) helps diabetics tokeep track of their blood sugar level. And A1 in Slovenia is simplifying communica-tion between citizens and the authorities with e-government solutions.
Digitalisation and the environment
In its study, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative2) suggests that ICT has thepotential to uncouple economic growth from increasing global emissions. TheCO2 emissions produced by telecommunications companies originate from theirvehicle fleets, heating and cooling, and especially from the electricity consump-tion of their networks. In this respect, the A1 Telekom Austria Group has set itselfthe target of reducing CO2 emissions by 25 % by 20203).
Ensuring that the dynamic increase in data processing and data storage as aresult of digitalisation does not result in comparatively more energy and CO2requires energy-efficiency-enhancing measures (see ‘Technology and Innova-tion’). However, these measures alone cannot replace the entire amount of elec-tricity required. Which is why the A1 Telekom Austria Group is endeavouring tomeet the remaining electricity requirement as sustainably as possible. It is doingso by using electricity from renewable sources such as solar, hydro and windpower: In 2017, 62 % of the A1 Telekom Austria Group’s energy requirementswere covered by renewable energy sources. The A1 Telekom Austria Group alsooperates two major solar parks — one since 2013 in Austria that produces an an-nual electricity volume of more than 200,000 kWh and one since 2016 in Belarusthat produces an annual electricity volume of 24 million kWh.
In 2017, the employees of the A1 Telekom Austria Group used 5,180 vehicles andtravelled a distance of around 105 million kilometres — the primary purpose ofwhich was to perform network maintenance and expansion operations and pro-vide quality assurance and other services to customers. The Group has the sameambition here as it does for energy — to achieve the greatest possible efficiency.The first step is to reduce the number of kilometres travelled. This involves the useof innovative logistics concepts, video conferences and telepresence solutions.The second step is to use more sustainable propulsion models such as natural-gas-powered, hybrid and electric vehicles. Due to acquisitions, the A1 TelekomAustria Group is only around 0.4 % closer to its target of reducing CO2 emissionsby 25 % between 2012 and 2020.
Internal preservation of resources
Taking action to preserve resources is also important in an office setting. Which iswhy the A1 Telekom Austria Group has set itself the target of reducing paper con-sumption by 10 % between 2016 and 2018. Digitalisation of internal work pro-cesses is highly important in this respect. An increasing number of mobile de-vices are being used for field services, for example, because they allow data at-tachments such as plans and assembly orders to be processed digitally. In Aus-tria alone, this practice saves around 100,000 sheets of paper per year. From2018 onwards, all driver logbooks will be managed in a purely digitally manner aswell. Aside from digitalising internal work processes, switching to double-sidedprinting as standard and procuring Follow Me printers, internal campaigns alsoreinforce environmental awareness, motivate employees and involve peopleactively in environmental measures.
Although it does not manufacture mobile devices itself, the A1 Telekom AustriaGroup contributes to preserve resources in this respect as well with its mobilephone recycling initiatives. Most of its subsidiaries — some since 2004 — allow cus-tomers to give back their old mobile phones free of charge. These old devices arepassed on to specialist recycling companies, which recycle and reuse 70 % to 80 %of the substances contained in them. In Austria, for example, 100 % of the pro-ceeds from mobile phone recycling are used to fund climate protection projects.
ICT products providing ecological value
The A1 Telekom Austria Group is operating and maintaining its customers’ IT equip-ment with its range of housing services. The quality and standards of its data cen-tres ensure optimal security in this respect. The situation is similar for hosting,where the server infrastructure is relocated in a data centre. Relocating the in-frastructure means that electricity is used more efficiently and CO2 emissions arekept to a minimum. Integrated communication solutions like video conferencingmake communication with customers and partners more efficient and environmen-tally friendly. The operation of A1’s network in Austria is 100 % carbon neutral,which reduces not only the company’s own CO2 emissions, but also the emissionsof its customers. Services such as those supplied by subsidiary A1 Digital (see‘Technology and Innovation’) help to reduce the environmental footprint. ▬
Sustainability targets ‘society’
▸150,000 participations in media literacytraining 1)
▸Promotion of social projects according to localneeds
1) Cumulative figure since 2011.
In autumn 2017, ‘A1 Internet for All’ rolled outthe new workshop series ‘Blogging Plus’ inAustria, with the aim of establishing a greater un-derstanding of blogging among senior citizens. Itexplains how a blog works, what topics are suit-able for blogs, how to create a blog and whatsafety aspects need to be considered. Theory istranslated into practice in a series of training ex-ercises, using open source technologies to helpsenior citizens create their first blog posts.
▸EMAS (since 2013)
▸ISO 50001 for energy management (since2008)
▸ISO 14001 for environmental management(since 2004)
▸EMAS (since 2014)
▸ISO 14001 (since 2009)
Republic of Serbia
▸ISO 14001 (since 2015)
Republic of Macedonia
▸ISO 14001 (since 2016)
In 2017, velcom in Belarus equipped its firstmobile base station with a stand-alone, hybridpower supply system. The mobile base stationsystem now draws its power from several solarpanels. To ensure there is an adequate powersupply available overnight, this solar energy isstored. Diesel generators are used on a short-term basis in adverse weather conditions only.
2) GeSi, SMARTer2030 (2015)
3) Baseline for target is 2012.
Information and communication technologiescan help to encourage a more ecological way oflife by minimising distances driven or flown — e. g.for business trips — and reducing consumption ofhardware, energy, paper and other resources.From a social point of view as well, there areconsiderable advantages to digitalisation sincedigital media give everyone an equal opportunityfor individual or social development.
▸Reducing CO2 emissions by 25 %
▸Reducing power demand per terabyte oftransferred data volume by 30 %