Environmental Initiatives

PJSC Rostelecom is not just an industry leader, but a socially responsible company with a special focus on environmental initiatives.

Rostelecom presented intelligent solutions at the RIF.Technology — 2018 forum in Ulyanovsk

In October, Rostelecom presented intelligent solutions supporting the Ulyanovsk Region’s development at the Digital Economy — Regional Aspect (DERA 2018) international conference held as part of the RIF.Technology — 2018 forum. The Company has been successfully meeting its obligations under energy service contracts in the Ulyanovsk Region.

«The Ulyanovsk Region residents can enjoy homes equipped with smart security cameras, smart street lighting, and schools and kindergartens with weather-compensated controllers. We offer automatic meter reading solutions for the utilities sector and intelligent video surveillance systems for public safety. All these projects comprise the Smart Region programme promoting regional development and improving the quality of life for local communities.»

Elena Alpova, Director of Rostelecom’s Ulyanovsk Branch

Rostelecom presented an electric vehicle charging point in the Moscow Region Duma

In June, a round table discussion on electric vehicles as an important part of efforts to reduce air pollution was held at the Moscow Region Duma where Rostelecom presented a commercial solution for charging electric vehicles in yards across the Moscow Region. A smart lamp post for street lighting developed by the Company can be equipped with an electric vehicle charging point in addition to smart controls.

«Growing fuel prices along with exhaust emission and noise pollution concerns are driving the popularity of electric vehicles globally. However, the uptake in Russia has been hampered by a lack of charging points. The Government of the Moscow Region will build the required charging infrastructure and, hopefully, Rostelecom will get involved in this ambitious project. Our smart lamp post for street lighting combines several solutions and offers a smart lighting controller in addition to a charging point. This is a cost-effective Russia-made solution which reduces electricity consumption by switching the lights on or off at the right moment and enables individual control of each lamp post. Imagine the potential it offers for urban illumination.»

Alexander Varev, Deputy Director of Rostelecom’s Centre Macroregional Branch

Managing environmental issues and risks

The Company’s administrative function has been comprising operational control department since 2015. The department and similar units across the Company’s branches are responsible for environmental controls. The following indicators are monitored:

  • Wastewater discharge
  • Concentration of pollutants in the wastewater
  • Waste handed over for processing, neutralisation, and landfill
  • Air pollutant emissions
  • Compliance of the Company’s operations (including projected operations) with environmental protection and safety regulations

The key documents guiding the Company’s environmental management and environmental control are the Environmental Policy updated in early April 2019 and the Regulations on Environmental Operational Control adopted in 2016 and updated in 2018, respectively.

Environmental safety

Rostelecom sees environmental protection as an integral part of its business. One of the environmental safety procedures put in place by the Company is training of managers and employees responsible for making decisions that could have adverse environmental impact, and employees responsible for managing Hazard Classes 1–4 wastes.

Employees are trained in certified training centres under the following programmes:

  1. Environmental safety for managers and general business management specialists — 72 hours
  2. Environmental safety for managers and specialists with environmental protection and environmental control functions — 200 hours
  3. Environmental safety and waste management for Hazard Classes 1–4 wastes — 112 hours

A total 147 employees were trained under the programmes in 2018.

Total environmental expenditures and investments in 2018
Cost item Expenditure, RUB thousand
Landfill disposal fees for municipal/household solid waste 88,685.5
Disposal/neutralisation fees for non-landfill wastes 10,489.7
Environmental charges for air pollution 764.8
Environmental charges for waste landfill 10,412.7
Third party fees for drafting an environmental charge declaration 514.0
Permit/license fees and duties 1,428.5
Fees for the development of emission limits, obtaining air pollution permits 12,827.0
Fees for the development of draft waste generation rates and disposal limits, obtaining approvals for waste generation rates and disposal limits 10,175.0
Expenses related to obtaining subsoil licences (for wells), (excluding duties) 1,206.8
Employee training and upskilling 1,566.8
Expenses related to setting up separate waste collection (procurement of containers, waste sorting, etc.) 657.0
Expenditures on land improvements and urban greening 2,133.5
Expenditures on air pollution control and climate change mitigation (filter installation and repairs, air sampling and analysis, etc.) 5,753.1
Expenditures on surface water and groundwater pollution control, and wastewater treatment (renovation and refurbishment of water treatment facilities, water well cementing, cleaning of river beds, setting up sanitary protection zones around water bodies and wells, etc.) 1,507.3
Expenditures on soil contamination control (sampling, decontamination, reclamation, etc.) 69.0
Expenses on wastewater laboratory testing 2,334.3
Expenses on groundwater laboratory testing 1,997.1
Expenses related to the development and approvals of draft projects to establish sanitary protection zones 1,746.9
Fees for official registration of facilities affecting the environment 241.7
Fees for the development of environmental operational control programmes 4,147.0
Development of passports for Hazard Classes 1–4 wastes 64.8
Other 763.6
Total 159,485.9

Real estate portfolio optimisation

To reduce property maintenance costs and improve operational efficiency, we seek to optimise our real estate portfolio. Key steps to reduce the real estate portfolio:

  • Upgrade (digitalise) PBXs
  • Replace indoor telecoms equipment with containerised telecoms equipment modules
  • Convert unused PBXs into open-space offices
  • Dispose of non-core or unused property assets, lease out unused premises

As a result of our efforts during the year, total floor area of the premises occupied by the Company reduced by 228,683 sq m, or 2.74%, in 2018, and the number of property assets on our books was down by 613, or 2.95%.

Green Office

Our special focus is on workplace greening. The Green Office principles are actively implemented in operating office spaces: reduced energy and water consumption, use of environmentally safe consumables, reduced paper use through electronic document flow, wider use of videoconferencing, etc.

Separate waste collection programme

By sorting and handing over household and office waste for recycling and reuse we mitigate the negative environmental impacts of waste and help address the issue of overflowing household waste sites and landfills. We at Rostelecom want to give a good example of environmental responsibility. In 2017, we developed the separate office waste collection concept, and currently we sort out two types of office waste: waste paper at 52 regional branches and 238 facilities, and used household batteries at 37 regional branches and 112 facilities.

1.1 tonnes of batteries collected by our employees in 2018. 270 tonnes of paper waste handed over for recycling.
Rostelecom waste sorting in 2018


We served 153 million e-bills in 2018, up 6% year-on-year (143 million in 2017).

Starting from 2013, we deliver bills for our services electronically, a fundamentally new billing model. An e‑bill is a contemporary alternative to paper-based bills. It is a convenient way to receive and store information on payments of bills for telecommunication services. A PDF file contains the same information as a paper-based document but is delivered much faster. E‑bills are sent out automatically irrespective of the staff workload, a subscriber’s place of residence, mail logistics or other factors. It is possible to receive more than one e-bill to the same email address and pay from different regions. The service supports payments via a bank card, online bank, online wallet or other remote payment methods. It is a more convenient and cost-efficient, as well as safer, faster, and greener option. By choosing to go digital we avoid harm to the environment and save trees. Statistically, it takes a several decades old tree to produce 10 thousand paper bills.

Waste paper management in 2016–2018
Item 2016 2017 2018 Change 2017/2016 Comments Change 2018/2017 Comments
Waste paper, tonnes 998.23 632.45 745.83 — 36.64 % Sustainable use of paper, electronic document management 17,93% The increase was due to a 14.6% increase in the weight of paper consumed
Paper handed over for recycling, tonnes 145.87 346.00 269.50 237.20% Separate collection of waste paper at 171 facilities across 43 branches -22,11% Possibly due to the fact that the selective waste collection project is in its second year now and is already perceived as routine rather than innovation.

Tula residents and Rostelecom saved a grove over one year

In June 2018, the number of Rostelecom’s Tula Branch customers who have signed up to e-billing for telecoms services exceeded 170 thousand. According to the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), saving one tonne of paper a year helps save 17 trees. Residents of the Tula Region who have opted in to be billed electronically save 170 thousand sheets of paper every month, an equivalent of over 14 trees (a 500-sheet ream weighs 2.5 kg).

«I have to travel a lot on business. Before, payment of bills was a time-consuming exercise: you had to keep checking your mailbox for a bill and then find time to go to a bank branch to pay it. Now everything is easy and convenient: I have set up auto payment for all Rostelecom services, both at home and at work. Remotely through my customer account, I can not only check my balance but also switch to a better plan or sign up to various services. I cannot think how I managed without it before.»

Ilya Sergeev, businessman, Tula

E-billing beyond the Arctic Circle

On 25 October, the World Paper Free Day, Rostelecom counted the number of its Murmansk Region based subscribers who had shifted away from paper-based billing for telecoms services. We found that over 110 thousand of the Region’s residents have chosen to be billed electronically. In addition, Rostelecom subscribers are increasingly activating our text-based bill notification service. Most of our customers prefer to receive information via the Online Customer Account: over 200 thousand people use it in the Arctic Region.

«Paper bills go through several stages to get from an operator to a service consumer: printing, mailing, sorting, and delivery to the customer’s mailbox. Such logistics is time-consuming. By opting for e-billing, our customers need not wait for a paper bill.»

Olga Shangina, Director of Rostelecom’s Murmansk Branch

E-billing in Karelia

Over 15 thousand Rostelecom customers have opted out of receiving paper bills. They all are billed for telecoms services via email or the free messenger app for mobile gadgets. Karelia’s residents first started using Rostelecom’s e-billing service in 2014. For customers, it is a convenient alternative to printed paper bills.

«E-bills are sent out automatically irrespective of the staff workload, a subscriber’s place of residence or mail logistics. Customers going digital are awarded points which can be redeemed for discounts or VAS services.»

Andrey Maniev, Director of Rostelecom’s Karelia Branch

Rostelecom’s Paper Free environmental event in the Altai Territory

In October, Rostelecom’s Altai Branch held the Time to Use Paper Sustainably environmental event, with 2,000 employees participating. The branch HR and administrative staff discussed with employees a range of paper-saving options (print on both sides of the paper, use less draft copies, set the minimum line spacing and narrow margins, etc.). They put «Think twice before printing!» and «How much paper have you wasted today?» posters next to printers, and held a quiz for employees themed «Everything about Paper». In the offices, they put cardboard boxes labelled with stickers reading «Waste Paper» and «Save a Tree» to collect paper waste and hand it over to specialised recycling companies. Our employees bought young trees with their own money and gave them to a sponsored organisation for planting.

«Rostelecom introduced electronic document management in 2006. Our customers are also billed electronically via online customer accounts, text messages, email or interactive TV menu. From 2014 to 2017, we at the Altai Branch saved 30 thousand reams of printer paper, an equivalent of 1,265 trees. Still we aim to go even further and continue reducing our paper consumption to conserve natural resources.»

Sergey Medvedev, Deputy Director of Rostelecom’s Altai Branch and Head of the Administrative Directorate