Sustainability becomes an integral part of INWIT’s Strategy
A new three-year Plan with challenging objectives, including ‘Carbon Neutrality’ by 2025.
A new three-year Plan with challenging objectives, including ‘Carbon Neutrality’ by 2025
INWIT has decided to pick up the pace on the path of sustainability.
Sustainability has become an integral part of our corporate strategy. The goal is to generate value with a long-term perspective and contribute to the growth, improvement and social and economic development of the communities where we work, as well as of the actors that make up our value chain.
To mark this change of pace, the new Sustainability Plan 2021-2023 was approved by the internal Sustainability Committee and the Board of Directors, as part of the 3-Year Business Plan. The plan was developed with the UN’s 2030 Agenda in mind and is focused on 5 of the key areas (Governance, People, Environment, Innovation, Community).
A key role in the Sustainability Plan is given to our people, with actions aimed to develop their talents and skills, to foster Corporate Identity, to raise awareness about Diversity and Inclusion and the culture of health and safety.
One of the most challenging targets is to reach “Carbon Neutrality” by 2025 by laying out a Climate Strategy, developing renewable sources, implementing energy efficiency initiatives and using green energy.
On the innovation front, the company aims to develop and consolidate digital infrastructure, strengthening micro-coverage with DAS and Small Cells and offering space to various technologies through a tower upgrade that will involve Smart Cities, the Internet of Things and drones.
Support is also planned for projects to provide coverage for smaller towns and rural areas and, at the same time, highly social and cultural areas, like hospitals, museums and universities.
How did INWIT’s Sustainability Plan come about?
First of all, we identified the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the UN’s Agenda that INWIT can directly contribute to with its core business, which are:
- SDG 9 – “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” which aims to Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
- SDG 11 – “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, which aims to Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
INWIT contributes significantly to the wireless coverage of Italy and will continue to do so in the coming years, increasing its sites to support operators, and developing new technologies, from 5G and FWA to last mile connectivity.
We identified the SDGs in support of our business and included them in our sustainability plan.
Of these, we have goals that concern health and safety, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, in addition to environmental issues.
In order to accelerate our transition to a sustainable business, targets of the Sustainability Plan have been included in the MBO and LTI plan.
We’ve initiated a process to involve stakeholders, to share where we want to go and how we want to get there with them. To make this dialogue stronger and more consistent, we worked hard to develop a policy of Stakeholder Engagement.
Of the priority stakeholders, we will focus especially on the supply chain, where we aim to integrate the principles of sustainability.
Our people are central to this journey toward a sustainable business model and are the primary resource to spread a culture of sustainability inside and outside the company. This is why the involvement, well-being and development of our people is one of the foundations of our sustainability strategy. We are aware that a corporate culture that respects and includes diversity leads to change for its stakeholders as well, and can even have an impact on our society.
We want to be a company that accepts and values diversity. This is why we’ve built an internal team dedicated to Diversity & Inclusion, which will identify policies and priorities on this topic.
Our commitment in this regard was recognized in a study published by Refinitiv, “2020 Diversity & Inclusion Top 100 Index”, which puts us in the 22nd spot in the world and 4th in Italy for inclusivity in the work environment.
We worked hard to determine a climate strategy to lead us to Carbon Neutrality by 2025, as the result of a process of:
- quantifying CO2 (carbon footprint)
- reducing CO2 (energy efficiency, production and purchasing from renewable sources)
- finally, with the offsetting of residual CO2 emissions, i.e. unavoidable emissions, through the purchase of carbon credits.
Reducing our CO2 impact includes the implementation of energy efficiency initiatives and the development of renewable sources.
We’ve planned to install about 1,600 photovoltaic systems at sites we manage in the next three years.
For energy efficiency, we are going to implement solutions like free cooling, the use of external air, in certain climate conditions, for the conditioning of areas where operator systems are installed.
Another energy efficiency step that will be implemented is the use of 1300 “current rectifiers”, which allow us to increase efficiency in the conversion of electricity into direct current, as must be provided to the operators we host at our sites.
We also plan to purchase green energy from renewable sources.
Further attention will be paid to reducing the environmental impact of our operations, through the adoption of initiatives to increase the life cycle of materials and products used to manage our infrastructure.
Our goal is to be a supporting actor to operators in the digitalization of the country. We plan to:
- Increase and strengthen micro-coverage through Small Cells and DAS, with the goal of reducing environmental impact. Working with lower potencies than classic antennae, micro-antennae expose users to lower electromagnetic fields and will have a reduced visual/environmental impact.
- Tower upgrades (creation of backhauling in fiber, smart cities, drones).
- Developing and installing platforms with IoT, to provide advanced digital services in 5G and minimize environmental impact.
Together with JMA Wireless, we developed the “XRAN Green Tool” app, which shows the total energy savings a user can achieve by using a single network node, shared between several operators that can use the “DAS” (Distributed Antenna System) micro-coverage systems. The Green Tool app highlights energy savings compared to traditional network nodes, showing the financial savings in energy expenses and the CO2 emissions avoided.
As concerns innovation, we want to promote partnerships with startups and universities, based on the idea that open innovation leads us to identify increasingly sustainable technological solutions. This may involve the materials used to build our sites, design and landscape integration and the active use of infrastructure for purposes that go beyond being a neutral host for telecommunications operators, for example, providing space on towers for drones to be able to charge and download data.
Looking at the context where we work, our goal is to promote and develop collaborative projects to increase coverage in smaller towns, rural areas and places with high social and cultural value. We want to help overcome the geographical digital divide and also foster increased digital inclusivity.
In this respect, the installation of our DAS antennae in over 15 hospitals is significant. Thanks to DAS, telemedicine can work better, and patients’ families can feel nearer to their loved ones, especially in this delicate time of health emergency. Or in museums (like the MAXXI in Rome or the Museo Ferroviario in Pietrarsa – Naples) and universities (the four locations of LUISS in Rome and the Campus of Federico II in San Giovanni a Teduccio – Naples).
A complex and challenging program that INWIT firmly believes in, to create long-term value and contribute to the sustainable development of our society and our planet.
The country’s digitalization is an opportunity for development that fully integrates all three aspects of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.
5G, especially, will be an enabling technology for the promotion of a more sustainable society, fostering innovation and inclusion, reducing inequality, facilitating the adoption of increasingly circular production models, and more.