The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Swisscom supports customers in reducing their CO2 emissions

Realising that the ICT (information and communications technology) sector has a key role to play in reducing CO2 emissions, Swisscom, as Switzerland’s leading telecoms company, makes every effort to structure its offerings in a more energy-efficient and resource-friendly way  Tweet This!, providing products and services that help customers reduce their CO2 emissions and save energy.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Swisscom published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

According to a study conducted by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, the ICT sector has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions worldwide by some 16 per cent (approximately seven times the amount of CO2 emissions produced by the sector itself). Helping customers in their efforts to reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions is, thus, a top priority for Swisscom. In order to support customers in reducing their CO2 emissions Swisscom took action to:

  • provide sustainable ICT services for business customers
  • provide sustainable ICT services for residential customers

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Swisscom identified a range of material issues, such as business development, corporate governance, customer satisfaction, data protection. Among these, supporting customers in reducing their CO2 emissions stands out as a key material issue for Swisscom.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Swisscom engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers

 

·         Consulting residential customers on their needs and their level of satisfaction

·         Surveys on customer satisfaction

·         Quarterly surveys among business customers

·         Regular contact with consumer organisations

·         Blogs and online discussion platforms

Shareholders and external investors

 

·         Annual General Meeting

·         Dialogue with shareholders at analysts’ presentations, road shows and in regular teleconferences

·         Contacts with external investors and rating agencies

Authorities

 

 

·         Dialogue with municipal authorities and residents on network planning

·         Liaising regularly with public authorities on various occasions (for example, Swisscom invites ICT heads of the cantonal education authorities to an annual two-day seminar on the subject of “Internet for Schools”)

Legislators ·         Regular dialogue with authorities, parties and associations
Suppliers

 

·         Swisscom’s procurement organisations

·         Key Supplier Day

·         international cooperation within the relevant sectors

Media ·         Media Office

·         Representatives of management maintain a regular dialogue with journalists and make themselves available for interviews and more in-depth background discussions

Employees and employee representation

 

·         Employee survey

·         Round-table meeting with employee representatives twice a year

·         Dialogue with teams from all organisational units on sustainability issues under the motto “Hello Future”

Partners and NGOs ·         Sharing insights and information with partners within the framework of projects (for example, with WWF Climate Savers, myclimate, the Swiss Child Protection Foundation and organisations that address the specific needs of affected groups)
Public ·         Trade fairs and events

·         Swisscom website

·         Surveys of the public

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Swisscom carried out a survey among stakeholders that included government authorities, partners and NGOs.

What actions were taken by Swisscom to support customers in reducing their CO2 emissions?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Swisscom reports that it took the following actions for supporting customers in reducing their CO2 emissions:

  • Providing sustainable ICT services for business customers
  • Swisscom’s sustainable ICT services support business customers in their efforts to reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In its sustainable portfolio, Swisscom is focusing on the following areas of activity:
    • ICT solutions for buildings: Optimising energy consumption and reducing CO2
    • ICT solutions for mobility: Optimising and managing mobility and the corresponding impact on the environment
    • Data centre services: Outsourcing and virtualising servers in efficient data centres to optimise energy consumption
    • Dematerialisation: Reducing the use of paper through solutions for paper-saving printing and working without paper
    • Home office: Home office and mobile working solutions to reduce business travel
    • Virtual conferences: Solutions for efficient workplaces, to reduce business travel
  • In 2016, Swisscom distinguished 42 sustainable ICT services with the “Together we can increase sustainability” label, which designates sustainable products and services that help companies save energy and resources.
  • Providing sustainable ICT services for residential customers
  • In 2016,Swisscom Switzerland’s residential customer segment launched a programme to further develop its range of Green ICT services for residential customers. This programme included:
    • Smart energy: Swisscom launched the tiko service, which enables residential customers to control their heat pumps, electric heating systems and boilers remotely and immediately alerts them in the event of any problems. This service also comparesthe energy efficiency of heating systems in homes and businesses, and is free of charge for Swisscom’s residential
    • Data centre services: The Docsafe data centre service allows residential customers to securelystore all their documents in their own personal cloud on Swiss servers. The documents can thenbe managed, accessed from anywhere in the world and shared in encrypted format through a computer,tablet or mobile phone.
    • Dematerialisation as a result of online billing: Online bills are an attractive and environmentally friendly alternative to paper bills. In 2016, the share of customers who chose to receive their bill online increased from 25 per cent in 2015, to 31.5 per cent. In its communications with customers, Swisscom highlights the fact that online billing not only benefits the environment, but also saves the customer time and money.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 302-2 Energy consumption outside of the organization

2) Disclosure 302-5 Reductions in energy requirements of products and services

3) Disclosure 305-5 Reduction of GHG emissions

 

Disclosure 302-2 Energy consumption outside of the organization corresponds to:

Disclosure 302-5 Reductions in energy requirements of products and services corresponds to:

Disclosure 305-5 Reduction of GHG emissions corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Business theme: GHG emissions
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Ocean acidification
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Forest degradation

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified and IEMA approved Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Swisscom, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Swisscom: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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