The tragedy of the resources of common use (overexploitation, contamination) is a metaphor well emphasized in the literature. The air is a resource of common use, on which there is no private property. The problem of global warming, derived from the excess of greenhouse gases (CO2, NO2, methane), generated by human activities and excessive consumerism, and stored in the upper atmosphere causing climate changes, is today a tragedy.
Telefónica the greatest environmental impact it generates is that of its network, mainly due to the energy consumption required for its operation, the visual impact it generates and the waste resulting from maintenance work; affecting climate change, global warming and the greenhouse effect; In Telefónica, the carbon footprint generated is mainly from its network, and including scope 3, which are indirect emissions attributable to the products and services acquired by the organization, which in turn will have generated emissions previously to be produced, means 2,392 tons of KtCO2 carbon dioxide, which represents only 0.1% of the total emissions of the countries in which they operate. Although their emissions are not high, compared to other sectors, they are equivalent to half of the emissions of a country like Nicaragua (Telefonica, 2016). Due to its Renewable Energy plan and the energy efficiency projects implemented, they have managed to reduce their carbon footprint by 26% (scope 1 Direct Emissions. They are the greenhouse gases emitted directly by the organization + scope 2 Indirect Emissions by Energy: greenhouse gases emitted by the producer of the energy required by the organization) and 22% if we include the entire value chain (scope 1 + 2 + 3), and also avoid the emission of 938 KtCO2, which is equivalent to almost 40% of its total emissions.
Another point that Telefonica should keep in mind is the contamination of toxic waste that can be harmful to health and the environment. The main hazardous waste generated by the company is batteries, but there are others such as electronic equipment or HCFC that are composed of atoms of chlorine, fluoride, hydrogen and carbon present in the company, for the year 2011 10 million were discarded. telephone equipment (pace, 2011), and according to the United Nations, it adds up to 42 million tons per year and only 12% is recycled (UN, 2016); and in Telefónica, 23,500 tons of waste are generated between cables, pipes, paper, cardboard, batteries, routers, customer telephones (Telefonica, 2017).
At present, climate change is one of the most important challenges we face, since it not only affects the quality of life, but the planet as a whole. So much so, that it has been identified in 2016 by the World Economic Forum as one of the world’s biggest risk factors. In addition, the United Nations has marked it as one of its main Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, it is urgent to advance in the decarbonization, the decoupling between economic growth and emissions of greenhouse gases.
Therefore, Telefónica is aware of the role it can play in the search for solutions through its services, but also of the responsibility they must assume in reducing their own carbon footprint. With this objective, they created a Global Office of Climate Change 9 years ago and set their first objectives of energy reduction and emissions. In 2016, coinciding with the signing of the new Paris Agreement, they announced their new Energy and Climate Change targets for 2020 and 2030. The goal is to align efforts with the level of decarbonization required to limit global warming below 2 ° C. (Telefonica, 2016). Its objectives for the period 2015-2020 is to reduce by 50% the energy consumption per unit of traffic by 2020, reduce the scope 1 and 2, and 30% in absolute terms and a reduction of 50% by 2030, and use 100% renewable energy by 2030 (Telefonica, 2016).
Regarding the consumption of paper, they have common guidelines to reduce the impact of this material, which promotes efficient use through the digitalization of processes, with which they have reduced consumption in 2016 by 27%. In addition, they promote the use of recycled paper versus virgin fiber, with 12.3% of recycled paper; Another example of eco-efficiency applied to the consumption of this material is the digitization of the invoices of its customers thanks to new technologies. In 2016, 61.8 million customers chose the paperless invoice. They have thus generated more than 700 million electronic invoices that represent 3,500 tons of paper avoided, which represent about 60,000 trees (Telefonica, 2016).
Regarding the weaknesses in environmental terms we can indicate that it is to reduce the generation of waste by supporting reuse and recycling. To achieve this, they promote practices that promote the reuse of equipment, both internally and by their customers, whenever possible. In 2016 they have facilitated the reuse of 1,235 tons of equipment from their customers (mobiles, routers, etc.). When reuse is not an option, recycling is the best alternative for the treatment of waste. Thus, in 2016 it was possible to recycle about 23,507 tons of these, but it was 12% less than in 2015 (Telefonica, 2016).