Natural Capital

As one of the world’s leading telecommunication companies, we remain steadfast to responsible environment governance to ensure our operations have minimum impact on the surrounding environment. Our approach towards environment protection and conservation of natural resources is guided by our internal policies and applicable external standards.

Our environment policies and actions are aimed at reducing the impact of our operations on environment. At Airtel, we focus on understanding and managing our environmental impact with three focus areas.

1 Reducing the impact of telecom infrastructure on the environment
2 Reducing the carbon footprint in our facilities and data centres
3 Resource and waste optimization
Reducing the impact of telecom infrastructure on the environment

We work closely with our tower infrastructure partners to reduce the environmental impact of their business operations. As technology continues to evolve, we make sincere efforts and investments in energy-efficient equipment and utilization of green energy technologies. Our collaborative efforts have led to conversion of several conventional DGs and battery operated telecom tower sites into energy efficient towers through adoption of renewable energy sources.

Our milestones

Action: We have installed Rooftop Solar plants at Main Switching Centres, expanding the total installed capacity over 1MWp across the several locations in the last 5 years.

Impact: Rooftop Solar plants helped us save over 2,300 tonnes of CO2 emission in the last 5 years.

Action: We have procured over 90 Mn green units per annum through various power wheeling agreements.

Impact: Green energy procurement helped us save over 73,000 tonnes of CO2 emission per annum.

Action: We deployed lowpower consuming Base Transceiver Stations (BTS).

Impact: 30% reduction in power consumption in last 4-5 years.

Action:Our pioneering effort of telecom passive infrastructure sharing has helped reduce energy consumption.

Impact:In FY 2017-18 over 44% sites were deployed as shared sites.

Action: We deployed 91% outdoor BTS sites in FY 2017-18.

Impact:25% reduced energy requirements.

Action: We implemented battery hybrid solutions to eradicate use of diesel.

Impact:4 hybrid tower sites implemented in FY 2017-18.

Action: We converted sites to outdoor mostly by utilizing technology like FCU (Free Cooling Unit), NCU (Natural Cooling Unit), TCU (Transmission Cooling Unit), SCU (Solar Cooling Unit), MCU (Micro Cooling Unit), low power consuming BTS etc. to reduce the energy consumption in the past 4-5 years

Impact:Over 62,000 sites converted with 25% reduced energy requirements

Climate Change – An emerging area of focus

With strong scientific evidence supporting the disruptive nature of Climate Change, it has become a global challenge that will impact every business. Countries are taking up individual emission reduction targets and these targets will cascade down to individual sector and companies.

  • Substitution of existing energy sources with lower emissions options and cost perceived to transition to lower technology emissions will be vital in the coming years.
  • Increased severity of extreme weather events such as cyclones, floods, rising sea levels and precipitation can cause disruption in the Company’s network system thus interrupting smooth delivery of services to customers.

This has a considerable impact on our operation which include:

  • Increased Capital investment and operating costs due to higher compliances, increased insurance premiums.
  • Technological obsolescence and/ or write-offs, asset impairments and early retirement of existing assets.

Airtel has taken various measures over the years, in response to climate change, the details of which are given in this section and shall also form a part of the annual sustainability report.

Reducing the carbon footprint in our facilities and data centres

At Airtel, we recognize the significance of safeguarding climate and make efforts that promote the containment and reduction of carbon footprint in our operations. We pursue this objective through sustained investments in assets backed by periodic assessments of emissions to meet the set targets.


Units of electricity saved in FY 2017-18 in our facilities


Reduction in C02 emission per rack in our data centres as compared to FY 2016-17

Our milestones

Action : We installed energy efficient lighting at workplace to optimize light consumption. We retrofitted old technologies with energy solutions.

We optimized energy consumption through improving chiller efficiency, controlling heating / air conditioning and HVAC optimization.

We installed Enisaver (Quasar Enviro) smart hightech devices and energy efficient cooling systems for our offices

We installed collective control system in lifts such as “Duplexor” to help in reducing power consumption.

Impact*: KWH emission reduction

1. Lighting Optimization (adjusting light intensity, use of natural light, LED installation) - 8%
2. Energy Optimization (UPS optimization, improving chiller efficiency) - 19%
3. Innovative Solutions - 8%
4. HVAC upgradation for efficient heating and cooling - 65%

* above figures relate to impact made at our facilities

Resource and waste optimization

We have installed specific systems and processes to manage both our hazardous and non-hazardous waste in compliance with our waste management guidelines. Through innovative technologies, reusing and recycling, we have managed to reduce waste generated and reduced its impact on the environment.

Our milestones

Action: We encouraged electronic billing and online payment methodologies for our customers.

Impact: Over 1,600 Mn sheets of paper saved since 2011-12.

Action : Increasingly adopted verification process through Aadhaar thereby eliminating paper work.

Impact : ~96% of prepaid connections through Aadhaar.

Our achievements

Equipped all our facilities to reduce water consumption and augment rainwater harvesting.

Sewage treatment plants installed at our facilities for handling domestic waste water.

We installed efficient water fixtures, sensors and other gears to reduce water utilization.

A dedicated team works to trace end-to-end handling and recycling of e-waste in accordance with Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) guidelines and post clearance from Central/ State Pollution Control Board(s).

~2900 Tonnes

E-waste from IT and network infrastructure was recycled in FY 2017-18


DTH units refurbished in FY 2017-18