The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Telenet reduces and recycles waste

Case study: How Telenet reduces and recycles waste

Telenet is committed to be the leading provider of converged connected entertainment and business solutions in Belgium underpinned by high-quality fixed and mobile networks, offering digital television, high-speed Internet and fixed and mobile telephony services to residential customers in Flanders, Brussels and parts of Wallonia. It is Telenet’s ambition to grow as a company while reducing its impact on the environment  Tweet This!, actively decreasing its use of resources and generation of waste.

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by Telenet 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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Telenet’s approach to waste is to reduce the use of resources, to recycle and refurbish customer premise equipment (CPE), and to properly dispose of and process waste. In order to reduce and recycle waste Telenet took action to:

  • recycle set-top boxes and modems
  • reuse and recycle computers, mobile phones and IT equipment
  • support rational paper use
  • promote proper waste disposal
  • recycle and refurbish customer premise equipment

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Telenet identified a range of material issues, such as business ethics and transparency, product sustainability, privacy and data security, digital inclusion and skills development. Among these, reducing and recycling waste stands out as a key material issue for Telenet.

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 reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

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 Telenet engages with: 

To identify and prioritise material topics Telenet engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers ·      Net Promoter Score (NPS) to assess customer satisfaction

·      Transparent communication around sensitive issues such as price adjustments

·      Dialogue with customers through Telenet’s social media channels

Investors ·      Open, active, and simultaneous communication with all investors

·      Financial reports in accordance with international standards such as the International Financial Reporting Standards (EU) and the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act

·      Active participation in external reviews, with focus on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and customer-led audits using the EcoVadis CSR Performance Scorecard



·      Bi-annual survey to actively assess employee satisfaction

·      Young Grads programme for young employees to develop their talent



·      Dedicated Telenet Supplier Code of Conduct, to be signed by all suppliers

·      EcoVadis platform to evaluate and monitor the sustainability risk of each supplier

·      Structural partnerships with suppliers who have a strong social dimension, such as the social profit company Vlotter (IMSIR cvba)

Local community ·      Consultation of local communities and neighborhood committees for major projects, such as the roll-out of ‘De Grote Netwerf’ network optimisation project in Flemish cities and municipalities

·      Active support for social initiatives that boost the digital talents of the future, like CoderDojo Belgium, ToekomstAtelierDelAvenir, YouthStart and BeCode

Policymakers ·      Telenet Stakeholder Engagement Charter, with principles to develop lasting, trusted relationships with Telenet’s corporate stakeholders in an open and transparent way

·      Membership of professional organisations, such as the ISPA (Belgian Internet Service Providers Association), the GSMA, Cable Europe, and the Agoria Federation of Telecom Operators

·      Transparent interactions with policymakers, without supporting political parties

What actions were taken by Telenet to reduce and recycle waste?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Telenet reports that it took the following actions for reducing and recycling waste:

  • Recycling set-top boxes and modems
  • Every year, Telenet recycles more than 220,000 set-top boxes and modems returned to Telenet Centres by end customers or replaced by Telenet technicians. In 2018, through a reverse logistics solution developed in collaboration with the Flemish social profit organisation Vlotter (IMSIR cbva), Telenet avoided 375 tons of waste. This reverse logistics cooperation also resulted in the creation of job opportunities for 60 individuals with limited access to the labour market.
  • Reusing and recycling computers, mobile phones and IT equipment
  • Telenet’s old PCs and IT equipment are given a second life thanks to a cooperation with the non-for-profit organisation Pro Used Computers (PUC). In 2018, 2.0 percent of Telenet customers and 3.5 percent of BASE customers who bought a new mobile handset at a Telenet or BASE point of sales traded in their old device. Some of these mobile devices are reprocessed and sold as second-hand devices.
  • Supporting rational paper use
  • Telenet promotes rational paper use and has adopted smart and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Telenet also embraces digital administration solutions and, in 2018, 71.6 percent of Telenet customers and 52.3 percent of BASE customers opted for electronic invoices.
  • Promoting proper waste disposal
  • When waste is inevitable, Telenet puts in every effort to make sure it is properly disposed of. Normally, the waste that Telenet produces is recycled or permanently disposed of through energy recuperation (e.g. incineration). In 2018, no incidents involving significant spills occurred.
  • Recycling and refurbishing customer premise equipment
  • Telenet actively invests in e-waste recycling and recuperation and, in 2018, Telenet’s consolidated recycling and recuperation result was 55 percent refurbishment of collected customer premise equipment and 100 percent recycling of hazardous waste, a slight increase compared to the 2017 restated baseline. Telenet also works with several government-certified organisations to ensure proper disposal of waste created by customers. For every purchase of a Telenet or BASE product, a contribution is made to Recupel and Bebat, and for waste streams like packaging and print ads, Telenet pays an annual contribution to Fost Plus, Val-i-Pac and the non-profit Interventiefonds Oud Papier.

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

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 301-3 Reclaimed products and their packaging materials

Disclosure 301-3 Reclaimed products and their packaging materials corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Resource efficiency of products and services
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Business theme: Resource efficiency of products and services


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, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by Telenet, 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:


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