Environmental sustainability

The road to net-zero emission and true circularity

Proximus commits to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by 2040 from a 2020 base year and to be a truly circular company by 2030.

Discover more about our environmental strategy

Enabling the transition to a greener society

The digitalization of society has the potential to enable both our customers and Belgium to reduce their CO₂ emissions and generate energy savings.

Discover more about the potential of digital society towards the planet

Our green certifications and alliances

As a company our ambitions are bold. We rely on alliances to have greater impact and let certifications guide us towards further improvements.

Discover our alliances & certifications

Climate change deserves our full attention. There’s no denying global warming has become a reality that we have to deal with immediately. Any further temperature rise must be kept to an absolute minimum.

According to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in October 2021, to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, temperature rises need to be kept below 1.5°C. GHG emissions need to be halved by 2030 and drop to zero by 2050.

Proximus net-zero target has been validated by the Science Based  Targets initiative (SBTi) Net-Zero Standard’ in August 2022. By joining the European Green Digital Coalition, we also set ourselves the ambition of being net-zero by 2040 across both our operations and our value chain. We also have the ambition of being a truly circular company by 2030.

"We are committing to net-zero in 2040 and aim to play a leading role in Belgium’s green transition"Catherine BalsSustainability department lead

In terms of limiting our impact on the environment, we have already achieved a lot. Since 2019, the company made the switch to 100% renewable electricity for example. At the same time, Proximus is working on creating a more energy-efficient network by focusing on its technical buildings, mobile network, fixed access network and data centers. Going forward, our focus will be on:

  • Transitioning to renewable energy use
  • Expanding our energy efficiencies
  • Pivoting to circular devices, network, & buildings
  • Reducing waste to zero
  • Developing a sustainable value chain

As well as fixing core issues around our footprint & circularity, we want to play a leading role in Belgium’s green transition. To achieve this, we will comprehensively embed green sustainability as a structural factor in our business decisions, and make sure we use technology and innovation to benefit the environment.

Your questions answered

By the experts

Marc de Wit, Director Strategic Alliances at Circle Economy: “As with most new sustainable applications, attention is paid to battery dismantling and recycling solutions already in the development phase. At present, this only concerns a limited number of batteries, but Agoria is already investigating, together with other partners, how these batteries can be automatically dismantled at the end of their life for recycling or reuse. The objective is to have an optimal process and business model ready by the time the market for electric vehicles really takes off.”

Patrick Van den Bossche, Lead Sustainability at Agoria and member of the Circular Economy Steering Committee of the King Baudouin Foundation: “Within the working group, we had a study carried out on employment in Belgium’s circular economy. It represents a kind of baseline measurement, which produced a figure of 7.5%. However, this figure is an underestimation, as the research focused mainly on waste disposal, and the analysis failed to take account of specific final recycling, reuse and recovery operations, nor did it investigate the future employment potential. Agoria has conducted another study, applied to the technological sector, which revealed a potential of 20,000 to 36,000 jobs, particularly in the area of life extension of used goods.”

Patrick Van den Bossche: “We note that a broad mix of competencies will be required, especially for the development of circular projects. While we have as yet no idea of what they will look like in practice, it is clear that both low and high skills will be needed for the jobs that will be created. At Agoria we also deploy our knowledge to develop specific training programs, such as the ‘circular economy facilitator’ program organized by FOREM. In any case, we are closely monitoring developments and can also make the link with our BeTheChange project to provide the necessary re-skilling. Indeed, besides the necessary skills for the circular economy, digital skills will play a key role in the jobs of tomorrow.”

Marie Delvaulx, Director at The Shift: “Today we can see that the best performing companies are those that have the most sustainable development policies. These companies are also perceived as being better managed and less risky, and are valued more highly. Also in times of crisis, as with the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is also reflected on the stock exchange, where companies taking their sustainability policies seriously perform better than average. The point is therefore not so much to find the balance between sustainability and achieving objectives, but rather that a sustainable policy and strategy eventually leads to better business performance.”

By Proximus

We are not only working hard to reduce our own CO₂ emissions; we want to help our customers to reduce theirs too. We help them reduce their impact on the environment by maintaining a sound balance between ensuring a long life for our TV decoders and modems (we refurbished 336,000 modems and decoders in 2019) and by rolling out more energy-efficient devices.

The target was to reduce our average consumption by 50% and we achieved this in 2019. Our decoder model V6 is 45% more efficient than the previous one.

We provide many products and services that can help companies and public authorities reduce their environmental footprint. Striking examples are our cloud services and Internet of Things solutions such as Smart energy, Smart buildings or Smart mobility

Transportation represents more than 60% of our direct carbon footprint and 21% of our energy consumption. We want to reduce this impact by offering our employees a mobility budget to encourage them to shift to public transport.

In 2019, 2,025 employees opted for commuting solutions instead of a parking spot. Our employees can also make use of telecom solutions to facilitate teleworking and work from home. We gradually shift to carbon-friendly or carbon neutral offices (close to public transport stations) and to more carbon-friendly vehicles.

All our cars will be fossil fuel free by 2025.

We are CO₂ neutral since 2016 for our own operations (electricity, fossil fuels in our fleet and buildings and greenhouse gas losses). This has been achieved by drastically reducing our emissions and by supporting certified Gold Standard climate projects. We selected very carefully some projects with a positive local social and economic benefit and together we're carbon neutral.

Proximus is the main driving force behind the development of the multiannual ‘Gold Standard’ certified climate project called the TEG Stove project.

In this specific region in Benin, where 69% of the population lives in poverty, 91% of households use wood as an energy source and there is very limited access to electricity.

The TEG STOVE is an efficient cookstove on which a thermoelectric generator (TEG) is installed as an extra. Thanks to this TEG module, part of the heat is converted into electricity, which can be used for charging smartphones or LED lamps.

The LED lamps can be used in the evening to light homes or for reading. They replace dangerous and polluting paraffin lamps.

Intensive research is being conducted to find the most efficient way to design and use this TEG module with a view to integrating it into a growing number of cookstoves. In 2019, 400 households were provided with improved cookstove compared to 1,700 in 2017 and 1,200 in 2018. The use of these cookstoves is registered and serves as proof for the issuance of carbon credits.

The budget made available for carbon credits by Proximus allows 100 times more CO₂ to be reduced in developing countries as compared to Belgium. This is because the cost of setting up CO₂-friendly projects in Africa is lower, and current energy efficiency in the region can also be dramatically improved. We also support cookstove projects in Uganda, Malawi and rural Asia.

The benefits are mainly forest conservation, improved air quality, health, employment and quality of life.

The projects were also selected because they contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals.

So together with our partner climate projects we have neutralized the remaining climate impact.

We have solar panels representing less than 1% of our electricity production and we're raising this to 2% based upon the available and limited surface on buildings.

The remaining electricity is sourced through guarantees of origin from solar, wind and hydro. By 2023 the origin of our purchased electricity will be 100% local wind and we're analyzing how we can further improve our active role in the renewable energy transition in Belgium.

We have adapted the packaging of our products, in order to limit the use of paper and cardboard. The user instructions are digital; by scanning a QR code, the customer accesses an interactive step-by-step guide. It also has simplified instructions inside the sleeve surrounding the box.

Different initiatives on waste separation & prevention, recycling of used material (e.g. copper), Green Last Mile Delivery and creating circular criteria for procurement are being explored or implemented.

Our activities in Belgium in 2019 generated 13,629 tons of waste, including 13% residual waste that was converted into electricity and heat energy in waste treatment facilities. The remaining 87% was recycled, reused or reprocessed. We have set clear goals on our future waste management and we intend to recycle as much as 90% by 2025.

Different initiatives on waste separation & prevention, recycling of used material (e.g. copper), Green Last Mile Delivery and creating circular criteria for procurement are being explored or implemented.

The MIDAS project, which has been running for several years, is aimed at recycling as many valuable resources as possible from network installations. In 2019, more than 680 tons of copper cable were recovered and thousands of tons of electronic equipment were recycled. Through these activities, we bring valuable metals back into business.

We also run initiatives in our shops and in schools to recycle mobile phones. In schools, we work with GoodPlanet Belgium to collect old devices to be recycled and we reward the schools with refurbished computers. In 2019, we recycled 31,475 mobile phones in schools and shops and rewarded schools with 189 refurbished laptops, desktops or tablets. In 2020, we launched a large campaign called ‘Don’t miss the call’ to collect and recycle 100,000 old phones.

In 2019, we also refurbished more than 336,000 modems and TV decoders.

We have a smartphone repair process. When a customer comes to the shop with a defective device, a first test is performed in the shop. If the device is indeed defective, it is sent to our logistics center in Courcelles, where the devices are tested.

If they can be repaired, a quotation is sent to the customer and the device is repaired if he gives his agreement.
If this is not the case, the device is either returned to the customer if he wishes, or it is recycled.
A special case for Samsung: all devices are sent back for repair to their exclusive repairer.

We provide many products and services that can help companies and public authorities reduce their environmental footprint. Striking examples are our cloud services (Virtual PABX instead of physical installation) and Internet of Things solutions such as Smart energy, Smart buildings or Smart mobility. We also provide videoconference and homeworking solutions.

We are drastically reducing the journeys made by technicians through virtualization and remote installation, maintenance and repair technologies.

We offer our customers a voucher for the residual value of phones that can still be reused.

For mobile phones destined for recycling we offer a voucher of 10€, while these mobile phones do not generate any profit for us.

More information on this initiative: Don’t Miss the Call!

In partnership with GoodPlanet Belgium we use LoRa sensors in schools to poll the behavior of children and raise awareness in relation to sustainability. On a panel, children can answer simple questions by pressing the button corresponding to their answer.

Their answer is immediately transmitted wirelessly via our LoRa network and saved on the online platform GoodSchool DigiTool designed by Proximus and GoodPlanet. The school then receives the results of the survey.

Secondly, we encourage schools to track consumption data regarding electricity, gas, fuel, transport, waste, etc with our IoT sensors. The schools can check the evolution and compare consumption patterns with other schools.

With GoodPlanet Belgium we also raise children’s awareness of the life cycle of mobile phones. They can then bring in their devices to be recycled and we reward schools with refurbished computers in exchange for their help. In 2019, we rewarded schools with 189 refurbished laptops, desktops or tablets.