Environmental and Climate Protection

In the environmental sector, Sunrise focuses on the two most relevant topics of “Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection” and “Waste and Recycling”.

Energy efficiency is essential to the Company’s operations since electricity consumption has a large direct environmental impact on climate protection at Sunrise and is an important internal cost driver. In 2019, we significantly improved our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting, adopting the GHG protocol standard and extended our reporting with Scope 3 emissions.

Waste and Recycling is the other topic customers and other external stakeholders see as being significant in the context of the global environmental issue of e-waste and packaging. Sunrise is currently participating in various sustainability initiatives and ratings. For example, Sunrise joined the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and is also part of the supplier ratings conducted by EcoVadis.

In addition, we strive to improve the Company’s environment and sustainability performance rated by agencies assessing socially responsible investment (SRI), such as Vigeo Eiris, Inrate, zRating, ISS-oekom, J. Safra Sarasin, and Sustainalytics. The impact Sunrise has on the environment and vice versa is constantly evaluated by the Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee that meets quarterly. This committee also assesses operational ecology and risk, and monitors the status quo.

  • One of the biggest challenges for Sunrise in the environmental area will be the separation of the rapid rise in data usage brought about by ongoing digitalization from the increased direct electricity consumption. Energy efficiency plays a key role in driving sustainable development with the limited use of finite resources.

    Sunrise assesses its energy efficiency as part of a voluntary energy efficiency target agreement with the Swiss Federal Government and launched several efforts in 2019 to improve its energy efficiency. The biggest source of harmful emissions Sunrise can directly influence is its direct electricity consumption, more than 80% of which is attributable to the network infrastructure. To this end, the Company installed more efficient air conditioning systems and upgraded power supply units at antenna locations to optimize power consumption. To date, these efforts have resulted in total savings of up to 431,361 kWh of electricity per year. On top of those network related measures, we expect to save up to 1,000,000 kWh of electricity per year with the move in to the new headquarters Ambassador House, which has a state of art energy management system in place. Despite the rapid growth in data usage and increased network performance, total direct electricity consumption at Sunrise has only risen slightly over the past five years. 

  • By defining energy efficiency objectives, Sunrise seeks to make its environmental protection efforts measurable and assessable. The goal is to increase energy efficiency by at least 13.5% (based on 2012 levels) by 2020 as part of the Company’s voluntary efficiency agreement with the Swiss Federal Government. Sunrise has already increased its energy efficiency by 14% in 2019 and will therefore surpass the original target set in 2012.

    In 2020, Sunrise will focus on setting short and long-term targets and will define reductions measures for reducing the carbon footprint for the different emission categories. 

  • A company’s carbon footprint is an important measure that can help determine the impact of its business activities on the climate.

    The Company’s carbon footprint analysis was completely revised in 2019 and now includes Scope  1, 2 and 3 emissions in accordance with the GHG protocol standard. Scope 1 emissions include emissions from the car fleet and fugitive emissions from refrigerant refill covers cooling infrastructure (e.g. data centers). Those emissions have slightly decreased mainly due to less refrigerant refills. Scope 2 emissions contain in general heating and electricity consumption of Sunrise infrastructure. The location-based electricity emissions are considerably lower than 2018, mainly due to an updated emission factor from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Market-based electricity emissions are zero due to the fact that our electricity supply has stemmed from 100% renewable energy since 2016. In 2019, approximately 75% of the total renewable energy share was domestically sourced, and water power is the most used renewable energy source. Overall, we have seen a slight decrease in Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

    Scope 3 emissions reflect all indirect GHG emissions. Purchased goods and services contribute most to this emission category. This includes all upstream (i.e., cradle-to-gate) emissions from the production of goods (tangible products) and services (intangible products). The emissions in this category were growing in 2019 due to increased outsourced (consultancy) services, larger purchasing volumes and updated emission factors on hardware footprints. As the suppliers are also constantly increasing their sustainability efforts, more footprints of the different hardware sizes were available for 2019. Therefore, averaged footprints were used per model and thus the footprints per mobile phone increased.

    Use of sold products is the second largest emission category for Scope 3 emissions at Sunrise, which includes example, emissions related to the customers energy use for the T V box and the internet router.

    • The decrease in 2019 is mainly driven by the updated emissions factor of the IEA, which has also affected the location-based Scope 2 emissions.
    • Employee commuting includes emissions from the transportation of employees between their homes and their worksites and remained more or less stable in 2019.
    • Fuel and energy related activities includes emissions related to the production of fuels and energy purchased and consumed by Sunrise that are not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2.
    • Upstream transportation and distribution emissions remained stable and contain products purchased between a company’s tier 1 suppliers and its own operations.
    • Business flights have increased in 2019 by 102t CO2e, due to extraordinary business activities.
    • End of life emissions include emissions from waste disposal and treatment of products sold by Sunrise at the end of their life. This category includes the total expected end-of-life emissions from all products sold. Capital Goods includes all upstream (i.e., cradle-to-gate) emissions from the production of capital goods purchased or acquired by Sunrise.
    • The waste category contains emissions from third-par ty disposal of waste generated by Sunrise operations and in general, they have a low impact on the carbon footprint compared to other Scope 3 emissions.
  • Waste and recycling, a highly relevant topic, is an important aspect for Sunrise to meet its customers’ and other stakeholders’ expectations of sound environmental management. A solid product life cycle view can enhance the attractiveness of products in the eyes of Sunrise customers.

    In the area of product and business ecology, Sunrise has several initiatives in place to lower waste and improve the recycling of its own products. Since 2015, Sunrise has been offering a take-back program for mobile phones and tablets. The Company continued the program in 2019, taking back a large number of mobile phones and tablets for proper recycling or refurbishment. Sunrise also has in place a refurbishment program for Sunrise T V and Internet Boxes returned by customers. The goal of this program is to increase the use of these hardware while at the same time decreasing e-waste. Sunrise is also using FSC recycled paper for its office papers and envelopes.

    A state-of-the-art approach to office ecology can help Sunrise improve its attractiveness as an employer. Digitalization is therefore an important driver toward sustainable office ecology. With the move to its new headquarters in 2019, Sunrise seeks to minimize paper consumption and waste by offering its employees a modern, paperless, digital work experience. As part of the new workplace, Sunrise also implemented a state-of-the-art recycling concept  for the new headquarters in 2019.