To celebrate World Environment Day: the sustainability mosaic from Gigaset
On June 5, when World Environment Day is celebrated annually to encourage greater environmental awareness, stories of many superlatives are told. Of countries on track to achieve the goals they have set. Of companies aiming to become completely carbon neutral. Of each individual with a responsibility. Sustainability also plays a major role for Gigaset. The company has been pursuing a strategy of small steps for years. At its production site in Bocholt, Gigaset has a host of individual measures in place that are powerful in combination. From plastic-free smartphone packaging and working together with local partners, to using energy-saving lighting technologies in the production halls.
“Our sustainability efforts are not one big story, but rather lots of little ones,” says Raphael Dörr. As Senior Vice President Corporate Communications & Investor Relations he is responsible for how Gigaset is perceived in the public eye. “We thought for a long time that we couldn’t keep up when we looked at the global programs and budgets of international competitors. But we are a medium-sized German company and have no need to hide – we are making excellent use of the available scope.”
It’s difficult to compare the telecommunications company Gigaset, the DECT pioneer from Bocholt in North Rhine-Westphalia, with the global players. The European market leader for cordless fixed-network telephones is active in more than 50 countries across the world, but most of the value chain is located in Germany. “This is where we know our way around, where we make decisions – for our business and also for sustainability,” says Dörr. Alongside environmental and climate protection, issues also include long-term commercial success which not least safeguards 900 jobs.
In the 1990s, Gigaset invented the ECO DECT technology. As a result, cordless phones use considerably less electricity and transmit only with as much power as is needed for a stable connection to the base station. Since then, the handsets have been completely radiation-free in standby mode. What was a comparatively small development step for the engineers at Gigaset is nevertheless a revolution. After all, if millions of phones in the world become more energy-efficient, that then has a major impact overall.
The power of small steps
For Gigaset, ECO DECT made sense. Just like many other measures that are implemented Bocholt year after year: Water is saved and 100% carbon-free electricity used at the main plant. Instead of the standard mercury-vapor lamps, efficient LED spotlights are used in the halls. Clean production is carried out here in the middle of Germany in a state-of-the-art factory. Short delivery routes and proximity to regional suppliers and customers reduce CO2. Gigaset repairs all its own devices at its own workshop so that they don’t immediately need to be bought new. As a respected employer in North Rhine-Westphalia, Gigaset also believes it has a social obligation: Highly modern production methods enable production at the same costs as in Asia, where most of the competitors’ products are produced. The company guarantees fair working conditions, and strengthens local industry and hence the region.
Corrugated cardboard helps reduce use of plastics
Product packaging from Gigaset is made up of more than 90% recycled material – and has been for many years already. Valuable raw materials shouldn’t simply be thrown away. Paper and cardboard can be collected and recycled. The benefits of this are twofold. On the one hand, less waste is produced and, on the other, recycled packaging material is a good substitute for fresh raw materials from forest management. And it doesn’t involve cutting down more trees. The company is continuing to rely on corrugated cardboard for the latest generation of packaging. Thanks to its mechanical properties, it is ideal for protecting sensitive devices like smartphones, and also meets good recycling standards. This seal of approval, which is printed on the packaging along with the certification number, confirms that the box consists 100% of recycled fibers and gives customers even better guidance.
Only oil-free or low-migration inks are used for printing. The user instructions are made of recycled paper that is likewise FSC®-certified and bears the Blue Angel label. The Gigaset GS4 smartphone has completely climate-neutral packaging – the calculated carbon footprint is offset by climate protection projects under the auspices of ClimatePartner.
Gigaset has almost completely eliminated plastic elements in its packaging. Where possible, cable ties and plastic bags are replaced by paper sleeves. Alternative materials and methods are used, and polystyrene has been eliminated completely.
“Looking back, our initial restraint was misplaced,” sums up Raphael Dörr. “We consider sustainability holistically. And our mosaic not only has an impact on the environment, but also in the minds of our employees through the diverse approaches. It even triggers something with our partners and customers – we attract a lot of attention with our strategy of small steps.”
More about Gigaset’s sustainability promise can be found here.