Photo: ) Courtesy of Dejan Turk

To contribute to the reduction of the carbon footprint by using energy from renewable sources, the company A1 Serbia installed more than 3000 solar panels. It became the first telecommunications company on our market whose network infrastructure relies on this technology. Sustainability, along with the quality of the A1 network, which has been declared the fastest mobile network in Serbia for the second year in a row, will be imperative to preserve both the top user experience and the environment.

EP: The Austrian group A1 Telekom, the owner of the company A1 Serbia, has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 through a gradual transition to renewable energy sources, reducing the carbon footprint and increasing energy efficiency. Why is it important for Internet service providers to turn to green energy? 

Dejan Turk: The telecommunications industry is not a big polluter. It is responsible for only 3.7 per cent of global CO₂ emissions. However, it is a large consumer of electricity, being a provider of the Internet and solutions based on its use. Not surprisingly, this 3.7 per cent is predicted to double in the next three years. The need for connectivity at all levels are growing. To meet these needs, it is necessary to introduce new technologies, such as 5G, which are more energy efficient. Preservation of the environment has not been a matter of choice for a long time. I believe that everyone, both industry and individuals, can contribute to efforts to make the world a healthier place to live today and for future generations. With this in mind, we have set ourselves a new quality parameter related to sustainability. We are building a sustainable network whose quality is internet access speed, reliability and coverage, and the careful use of natural resources. This approach enables the further expansion of our infrastructure while at the same time achieving higher energy efficiency and lower energy consumption, increasing efficiency and the possibility for optimization. 


EP: What concrete steps have you taken in implementing the ESG strategy on the Serbian market? 

Dejan Turk: Since July of last year, we have been using 100 per cent green electricity to power the mobile network, devices, and infrastructure. Thanks to this, we reduced CO₂ emissions by 19 per cent in 2021. This year we went one step further. We have started installing solar panels at all our base stations where there are conditions for it. We currently have close to 3 000 solar panels, and the plan is to install more than 2 500 new panels by the end of next year. We are also planning to install solar panels at our Data Center in Kragujevac because radio base stations and Data Centers have the greatest impact on the total electricity consumption. I am proud that we are pioneers among operators in this field, because currently we are the only ones in Serbia using solar panels to supply part of the network infrastructure with electricity. Bearing all this in mind, we expect significantly better results this year than the previous one. 

EP: What does A1 Serbia’s socially responsible strategy look like in accordance with ESG goals in the field of environmental protection? Dejan Turk: Contribution to solving the problem of air pollution, and protection of natural resources and biodiversity are imperative in our business. I will mention only some of the projects that contribute to the preservation of the environment, whose development and implementation we supported through our social responsibility platform ”The World You Want” – the association “Bašta može svasta” launched the first organic garden. The Internet Society of Serbia launched a project for the development of devices for air quality measurement “Klimerko”, there is also a project of a sanatorium for protected species of wild birds in the environment of Bačka Topola Agricultural School, which the school initiated, and the action “Serbia without illegal landfills” which is dedicated to the reduction of illegal landfills in Serbia.

Interviewed by: Milena Maglovski

Read the story in the new issue of the Energy portal Magazine RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS.