In the Swiss business environment, climate targets have become more important than ever before – becoming net zero and achieving climate neutrality have become key benchmarks for many businesses. But how exactly can a company become climate neutral? Swisscom has put its trust in science and set goals using the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) framework.
Text: Swisscom, Image: iStock,
Since it was founded in 1998, Swisscom has been focusing intensively on the impact it has on people and the environment by continuously increasing energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The latest milestone has recently been reached: since January 2022, all Swisscom subscriptions have also been completely climate neutral in terms of the manufacture, delivery and end use of devices. The goal is for the entire company to be climate neutral across the entire value chain by 2025.
New, ambitious goals are always an important tool on this path to success. To this end, Swisscom became part of the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) back in 2016. The company set and achieved specific goals for 2020 based on SBTi calculations. SBTi helps companies analyse their operations on the basis of scientific principles and set realistic and effective climate goals. For many years now, Swisscom has been taking action in the area of climate protection, which is summed up in the slogan “now instead of someday.”
The SBTi has produced figures for various industries, which show how quickly emissions have to fall in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. These practical calculation methods enable companies participating in SBTi to calculate how quickly they need to reduce their emissions.
The first reduction plan Swisscom committed to in accordance with SBTi methods applied from 2013 to 2020. In 2021, Swisscom analysed its status at that point and submitted a new reduction target for 2030 to SBTi for review, with the aim of helping the company achieve net zero.
«We believe that we are a climate-neutral company because we want to do business responsibly.»
Saskia Günther, Head of Corporate Responsibility
Greenhouse gas savings were achieved in all areas within and outside the company. For example, in Scope 1, buildings are continuously renovated and energy efficiency is increased. The vehicle fleet has also been partially converted to electric and is set to be completely emission free by 2030. Scope 2 has been climate neutral for more than ten years. During this time, Swisscom has only purchased electricity from 100% renewable energy sources.
Fully climate-neutral company
Over 90% reduction in direct CO2 emissions compared to 1990
From fuel, thermal energy consumption and purchased electricity
Swisscom's operations have been climate-neutral since 2020. We want to reduce our direct CO2 emissions by over 90% by 2025 compared to 1990. By avoiding emissions thanks to the use of 100% renewable energy since 2010 as well as increasing our energy efficiency and electrifying our vehicle fleet. The remaining emissions have been compensated since 2020.
* The Scope 2 emissions 1990 and 2000 are based on calculations.
For example, from supply chains, transport, waste disposal, business travel
Indirect CO2 emissions, which are mainly generated in the supply chain, have been systematically recorded since 2013. We have reduced them by 35% as of 2020 and aim to reduce them by a further 25% until 2025. We offset the remaining emissions.
Comparison of direct and indirect emissions since 1990. They are to be reduced to net zero by 2025.
Scope 3 is ambitious as far as indirect emissions across the supply chains are concerned. Companies have only limited influence on this because other parties are responsible for implementing the measures that have been developed. Oliver Oberli, who is responsible for sustainable procurement at Swisscom, explains the procedure:
«The circular economy offers a lot of potential in Scope 3. We are investigating which new purchases we can replace with our own recycled appliances to help save money. We have control over this. We can only influence our suppliers to a limited extent; this is all about negotiating skills. As part of the Joint Audit Cooperation (JAC) , we have collaborated with other companies in the sector so that we can achieve more as customers. We are also turning those who are affected into participants. We are raising awareness of the issue of sustainability, discussing our goals and values, and clearly stating our expectations of our business partners.»
Swisscom is not alone in its commitment. The Swiss economy is changing and the umbrella organisation Economiesuisse is also calling on companies to become more involved in sustainability issues. It is now clear that this is no longer about goodwill but simply about doing good business.
1 million tonnes CO2
Annual reductions with customers
Additional climate protection contribution through sustainable offers
All details in tonnes. Swisscom is already helping customers to make massive CO2 savings with climate-friendly innovative ICT solutions. We want to expand this positive contribution to climate protection to over one million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2025. This corresponds to 2% of Switzerland's total greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, see the interview with Saskia Günther, Head of Corporate Responsibility, and the Climate Report 2021.
We are saving CO2 thanks to climate-friendly, innovative ICT solutions– and this figure is set to rise to 1 million tonnes by 2025.
An important part of Swisscom’s climate strategy is our customers and their use of products and services. Emissions are generated here too, for example, in the manufacture and disposal of products, in energy consumption, in data storage and in the operation of the mobile network. Swisscom offers a broad portfolio of sustainable solutions:
These measures enable Swisscom to help its customers to reduce their own carbon footprints. This will save one million tonnes of CO2 per year from 2025 onwards.
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