Climate-friendly products and services for residential customers

Offering for residential customers

During the year under review, the Residential Customer segment of Swisscom Switzerland consolidated its programme for sustainable living and working. The aim of the programme is to optimise products and services from an ecological point of view (for example, in terms of radiation and energy efficiency) and ensure transparency in communication with residential customers.

Life-cycle assessments of Swisscom’s networks and devices carried out in recent years have consistently identified the following three aspects as the main environmental impact factors:

  • Energy consumed by devices through customer use
  • Energy consumed producing the devices
  • Energy consumed by network elements

Measurable results of the programme in the reporting year:

  • BeSmart: The BeSmart service launched by the Swisscom Energy Solutions subsidiary allows residential customers to operate their heat pumps, electric heating systems and – where applicable – boilers via remote control and receive alarm notifications in good time in the event of these systems suffering a fault. BeSmart also compares the energy efficiency of heating systems with those in corresponding buildings. BeSmart is free of charge for residential customers. The aim of the service is to generate balancing energy to offset fluctuations in the Swiss electricity market. A large number of heat pumps and electric heating systems can be pooled together to help stabilise the power network. BeSmart thus makes an important contribution towards integrating a significantly larger proportion of variable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, into the electricity supply.
  • 1-Watt set-top box: Since November 2012, all new TV set-top boxes and boxes needing replacement have been provided by Swisscom preset in power-saving mode. The energy consumption of these devices in stand-by mode is as low as only 0.4 watts, which corresponds to energy savings of around 50% on average. Aside from a slightly longer start-up time, customers experience no disadvantages whatsoever as a result of this change.
  • Ecomode plus: Cordless phones with Ecomode plus emit only minimal levels of radiation. Almost all of the cordless phones sold by Swisscom are now Ecomode plus models.

Swisscom is making existing customers aware of the following possibilities for saving energy:

  • Saving energy is so easy: On the initiative of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BFE), Swisscom and two other providers decided to launch a joint information campaign to encourage customers to find out more about how to save energy and how to set up the modem and router and TV set-top boxes they use in their homes to optimise their energy efficiency. Swisscom participates in this campaign by sending targeted information bulletins to its customers and illustrating the possibilities of potential of energy-optimised settings on the Swisscom website.
  • Eco points now also available on fixed network devices: Fixed-line devices and mobile handsets produced by different manufacturers vary not only in terms of design and performance, but also in terms of environmental compatibility. Information on the energy consumption or the raw materials used in the manufacture of the devices has not been readily available to customers up until now. To create more transparency, Swisscom became the first provider to introduce an eco point rating in Switzerland in 2011. All the devices in Swisscom’s portfolio are rated according to three equally weighted criteria: low energy consumption in use, low energy consumption in manufacture and responsible choice of raw materials. Eco points are limited to ecological aspects. This means that customers can factor environmental compatibility into their future purchase decisions. In 2013, Swisscom further developed the eco point rating system. Swisscom customers now benefit from the independent rating provided by myclimate when purchasing fixed-line devices.
  • Recycling devices: Swisscom provides a two-year guarantee on all telecoms devices, such as phones, modems, mobile phones and mobile unlimited USB modems, and also offers repair services. In addition, any electronic devices from the Swisscom range can be returned to Swisscom for recycling, and equipment is reused where possible, e.g. routers. This service is performed in cooperation with SWICO Recycling, the recycling commission of the Swiss Association for Information, Communication and Organisational Technology and is financed by a recycling fee charged in advance. Recycling statistics are available from SWICO.
  • Swisscom Mobile Aid: In 2013, around 149,000 mobile handsets were returned to Swisscom for recycling and many of these were sold via a third-party company to countries where there is a demand for low-priced second-hand devices. All proceeds from the sales go to the réalise social organisation and the SOS Kinderdorf Schweiz relief organisation. Devices that can no longer be sold are professionally recycled by SWICO. The return rate of used mobile handsets decreased in comparison to previous years. Below expectations has been the Swiss-wide collection drive launched at the end of 2013 in collaboration with Valora, SOS Kinderdorf and the Ringier media enterprise. The Swiss population turned out in large numbers to donate their old mobile handsets. The return rate in 2013 was 9.8% (prior year: 11.4%).
  • Online billing: Online billing is increasingly becoming an attractive, environmentally friendly alternative to a paper bill. The share of customers who opted to receive their bill online rose from 15% in 2012 to 18.3% as of the end of 2013. Swisscom has taken a wide range of steps to further improve the appeal of online billing, which suggest to the customer that online billing not only benefits the environment, but also saves the customer time and money thanks to the simplified procedure. For example, Swisscom worked together with the WWF at the start of 2013 to organise a major joint campaign, as a result of which 47,000 new customers decided to give up their paper invoices.
  • Providing information to and raising the awareness of customers and the wider population: In 2013, Swisscom expanded its partnership with WWF Switzerland. It is now the main sponsor of the WWF “Ratgeber” (advisor) app and the WWF Footprint Calculator. With the app, the WWF and Swisscom are heading in a new direction as “partners for the environment”. A special section within the app illustrates Swisscom’s commitment to the environment and society and is evidence of the joint aim of promoting a sustainable lifestyle. The Footprint Calculator is a simple method of calculating your personal ecological footprint and provides personalised tips on how to live a more sustainable life.