Sus­tain­able use of resources and circular economy – management approach

It takes not only energy but also a multitude of other resources, such as paper, water or land, to operate telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions networks. Careful handling of these is not only sensible from an economic perspective, but also essential from an ecological point of view.

Swisscom therefore con­tin­u­ously develops its operational en­vi­ron­mental compatibility and its sustainable use of resources in accordance with ISO 14001. It intends to reduce con­sump­tion in its op­er­a­tions and as an operator or at worst to limit it to the same level as in the previous year. As the annual review of targets and progress achieved shows, reduction targets or mea­sures that do not affect energy con­sump­tion only lead to minor im­prove­ments in relative terms.

The resources used by Swisscom are finite, and in some cases scarce. It is therefore not only the choice of materials that plays a central role; the use and service life of the materials also make an im­por­tant contribution to determining the carbon footprint. The longer a resource is used, the more eco-efficient it is. Both manufacturers and, above all, retailers and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies have become aware that the linear economy, however efficient it may be, must be replaced with a completely closed circular economy through­out the value chain. Such a circular economy enables resources to live a second life and relieves the en­vi­ron­ment thanks to reductions in waste and emissions.

Swisscom plays an im­por­tant role in the circular economy on the Swiss market as a supplier of merchandise (mobile phones, etc.) and self-developed and branded devices (e.g. TV boxes and routers) and also as a network operator. Its innovations enable even better products and services for cus­tomers, while eliminating the need for outdated platforms. An example of this is the dismantling of the previous TDM transmission tech­nol­ogy: The existing fixed network is no longer needed after the complete migration to All IP. In keeping with circular economy principles, its components are set to be returned to the cycle instead of being disposed of.

Based on the commitments of its sustainability and supply chain strategy, Swisscom has prepared an internal circular economy analysis. The analysis structures the business activities and framework conditions, and also reveals strengths and action areas. A separate working group, consisting of internal experts and led by the sustainability team, is dedicated to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the knowl­edge gained. The working group coordinates the Group-wide circular economy programmes by exploiting synergies and challenging the status quo. It also reports on key figures and supports major projects from a circular economy standpoint. The decision-making authority lies with the line managers.

The following sections describe the mea­sures in relation to the circular economy and the sustainable use of resources which go beyond energy use: