Telefónica’s Green ICT and Environmental strategy is designed to promote environmental sustainability of our operations, customers and cities. It can generate value to our company in terms of reducing costs and generating new revenues
In this area, we have three common objectives: promote domestic energy efficiency and reduce our emissions of CO2eq, developing competitive Green ICT to improve the eco-efficiency of our customers and to position Telefónica as a leader in Green ICT solutions.
Regarding the environment, we integrate it as another element of the business. To fulfill our commitments, we still following six global environmental management principles.
These principles are:
- The measurement of environmental performance indicators or KPIs
- The global risk management
- The compliance with legislation
- A responsible for network deployment
- The Environmental Management System
- The promotion of a circular economy
> Telefónica’s Global Environmental Policy:
At Telefónica, we measure our environmental performance through global KPIs applicable to all operators, in order to facilitate decision-making, identify potential environmental risks and measure the economic impact.
We manage our environmental risks following the global risk management model implemented in the company. Among the risks we have identified, we should mention those related to environmental liabilities, inadequate management of waste, the effect of climate change on operations, etc.
Compliance with the law
As a multinational, we work to comply with environmental legislation and we apply certain minimum standards and our best practices in the countries in which such legislation does not exist.
Responsible network deployment
Telefónica has relevant programs to address all our key environmental impacts. They are all managed in our Environmental Management Systems, which are externally certificated according to ISO 14001 standard. Our main impacts come from the network deployment, so a responsible network deployment articulates the main programs.
For the responsible management of our network infrastructure we apply the best practices available and manage all the resulting environmental aspects and impacts, from design to dismantling, through operation and maintenance in compliance with the environmental legislation in areas such as waste management, efficient use of resources, management of the landscape (visual impact) and biodiversity.
When deploying the network, one of the criteria that we take into account is the sharing of infrastructure. Whenever possible, we place our facilities with other operators or communication tower managers. This results in lower visual impact and energy consumption, and a reduction in generation of waste. This practice is increasingly widespread throughout the Group, as was seen during 2016, when 40,824 of our base stations were shared.
Prevention of the impact on biodiversity: Within the scope of the Environmental Management System, the potential impact of our infrastructure on biodiversity is evaluated. To do this, sustainability criteria (preventive measures during construction; location of the base stations in protected areas; waste management operation/dismantling, etc.) are taken into account, with the aim of preventing the impact on biodiversity.
One example is the case of Galeras, in southern Colombia: In 2016 we presented the National Parks Unit with a Geomorphological Recovery and Ecosystem Repair Program, as the final stage in the dismantling of the disused infrastructure. When developing the Program, the conditions of the area before intervention were taken into account: soil samples were taken, patterns for the flora were designed and monitoring activities were included in the reforestation process.
Environmental Management System
Our global Environmental Management System, based on ISO 14001, enables us to ensure compliance with legislation and provides minimum standards in the countries where legislation is less developed.
Though the company’s environmental aspects are not intensive, they are very geographically disperse, which makes extremely important to have an environmental management based on standard processes. The objective: prevent and mitigate environmental impact.
Likewise, we extend environmental management to the entire value chain: suppliers, through clauses in the contracts, information activities and audits; employees, through training; and customers and other stakeholders, through programmes for consumers and awareness-raising initiatives.
Nowadays, the 88% of our company already has a system endorsed by an external certification. Our objective is to expand it to the 100% of the telecommunication companies before 2017.
For example, in countries like Mexico, 55 % of network deployment made along 2014 occurred through existing co-located sites. In addition, Telefónica has implemented, in many of its businesses, policies that impose the preferential use of recycled paper. Currently 50% of the paper consumption of the Group is reused.
Water Management Programmes
Our Environmental Policy establishes that we have to work to reduce our environmental footprint reducing natural resources consumption. Telefonica operations are not very intensive in water consumption, although water is very relevant in some of the countries where we operate, so this is also a material issue in some of our operations and from a global point of view.
Our water consumption is chiefly the result of sanitation use and, to a lesser extent, it’s used in air conditioning. Every year, each of our operations takes specific measures to achieve a more efficient consumption, especially in places where hydric stress is greater, such as Mexico City and São Paulo, and in countries like Spain. In these cases, we carry out specific plans for sustainable water management, with country objectives.
As a result of the different efforts made during 2016, we reduced our global water consumption by 4.4% in comparison with 2015. Year by year Telefonica reduces water consumption, thanks to our local objectives on this topic.
At Telefónica, we integrate the circular economy concept in all our processes. We are looking for a more efficient resources management to reduce the environmental impact, to obtain new financial value and, as far as possible, to return the goods to the production cycle.
Electromagnetic fields have always been present in our surroundings: for example, birds and fish use them for orientation. Though some are visible, such as the rainbow, the majority are invisible to the human eye, such as the magnetic field which orientates compasses or sunlight. The waves which form these fields are what enable mobiles, radio and television to function.
At Telefónica, we are aware of society’s concern about this issue. We therefore maintain transparent communication about it.
Further information: Electromagnetic fields
Pioneers in recycling programmes
Telefónica has an integrated global policy for the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) based on the “3Rs”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. And we are one of the pioneering companies in the implementation of e-waste management programmes, especially in the countries of Latin America. In fact, GSMA highlights some of our practices in its
“eWaste in Latin America”