The key ESG directions of our business are defined by the sustainability strategy of the Telekom Austria Group. However, for specific operational ESG goals within the cluster we share with A1 Slovenia, we are mapping those that have the greatest potential to have a positive impact on the company’s operations, taking into account the specifics of the local economic context and acute environmental or social issues in both countries. Our shared history, cultural narrative, and markets are key drivers of our business development aligned with ESG goals focused on the long-term improvement of the quality of the environment in which we live and work, further strengthening local communities, as well as the well-being of all our people.
Coming from an industry that is a significant consumer of electrical energy, the focus of our ESG activities is primarily on increasing the share of renewable energy sources in our energy mix and improving the energy efficiency of our network infrastructure, with the aim of gradually achieving carbon neutrality and conducting business in accordance with the principles of the circular economy. In practice, this means that up to this point, we have nearly 5,000 solar panels installed on base stations throughout Serbia, with the goal of reaching a figure of 5,600 by the end of 2023, generating enough energy to power up to 750 households. Furthermore, since July 2021, we have been utilizing green electric energy, which resulted in a 19% reduction in CO2 emissions in the previous year. Additionally, over 1,000 of our base stations are connected to certified electric energy from renewable sources. Based on all of these parameters, we have successfully reduced our total GHG emissions by one-third in 2022 compared to the previous year.
In addition to investing in prevention, we believe it is crucial to address the risks already caused by climate change. Therefore, in collaboration with the Faculty of Forestry, we are launching a long-term project to develop rain gardens in 10 cities across the country. This introduces a completely new concept of green infrastructure here, aiming to reduce the occurrences of landslides resulting from floods and flash floods in urban environments. Given the severity of the societal, environmental, and economic consequences of climate change that communities in our geographic area are intensely facing, the pioneering project “Niklo kao ja” (Blossom Like Me) and its results will undoubtedly shape our local ESG solutions in the future.
In the realm of acting as a responsible social actor, I would like to highlight the “Bezbedni klinci” (Safe Kids) project, through which we have been assisting in the education of a new generation of parents over the last 5 years and contributing to increasing their digital literacy. For instance, just since October of last year, more than 5,000 students and teachers have undergone education in the field of internet safety. Speaking about our internal culture, we take pride in the fact that women constitute as much as 60% of the total workforce and even make up half of our managerial positions. Additionally, we are the first company to be awarded the Family Friendly certificate, which serves as confirmation of our openness, flexibility, transparency, and support for employees.