What do two whale deaths, the recipients of Norway’s biggest charity campaign, and dtac’s new zero landfill target have in common?

They all point to one of today’s most pressing environmental problems.

Written: Oct 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In June 2018 a lone pilot whale washing ashore in Songkhla, Thailand made headlines worldwide. Inside its stomach were 80 plastic bags and other pieces of plastic garbage, ultimately leading to the mammal’s death. The shocking autopsy discovery again highlighted (just as the stranded Cuvier’s beaked whale in Bergen, Norway did a year earlier) the enormous problem plastic waste poses to our ecosystem, a problem that stands to grow about eight million tons each year if left untreated.

Supporting WWF

To help stem the dangerous flow of plastic from leaking into our oceans, the annual Norwegian charity fundraising event TV-aksjonen (18 October) will this year raise money to support the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). Telenor Norway is one of the main TV-aksjonen partners and facilitates the fundraiser’s collect phone service during the event.

WWF is working on projects in a region where the problem is most acute: South-East Asia. In fact, more than 50 percent of all the plastic waste that ends up in our oceans stems from this region (much of it waste that’s been shipped from Europe), which is why the funds are earmarked for efforts in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and dtac’s home country, Thailand.

Telenor’s TV-aksjonen project leader Per Arne Holm and Telenor team members Ole Johnny Vigdal, Karl Otto Heitmann, Jon Hansen, and David Skogtvedt of Zisson preparing for the charity event.

Read about Telenor’s climate ambitions towards 2030

Mission Zero

The problem with plastic pollution and waste in general is a comprehensive and complex one. As a major connectivity provider, dtac is not ignoring the fact that its mission to empower societies comes with an environmental footprint. For that reason, dtac has committed to a zero landfill target by 2022.

“This applies to both e-waste and general waste management. Lack of proper general waste management can affect our operations negatively, so committing to a landfill target is also about good business,” explains Rachaya Kulnapongse, dtac’s head of sustainability.

Telenor’s climate targets towards 2030 are carbon-neutral business operations in the Nordics and 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions for the Asian operations.

“Overall, our climate ambitions will allow us to support the ambitious Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. We will continue to mitigate climate-related physical risks by ensuring robust infrastructure and safeguarding in its operations,” says Anne Kvam, SVP of Telenor’s Climate Goal Project.

Rachaya Kulnapongse (furthest to the right) and colleagues promoting dtac’s “Think Hai d” campaign, which encourages responsible disposal of e-waste. (Photo: dtac).

You can read more about dtac’s zero landfill commitment here

Think Hai d

As part of achieving the zero landfill target, dtac carries out awareness, learning, and action activities designed to engage both employees and customers under the Think Hai d project.

“Through this campaign, we are, for instance, calling on everyone to properly dispose of their disused mobile devices at any of our 51 service centres in Thailand. In our offices, we are providing new recycling bins on every floor with instructions as well as gamification and social media campaigns for employees. We hope to see that such awareness-building activities will result in an increase in people’s knowledge of trash segregation, recycling processes, and proper e-waste disposal”, says Kulnapongse.

She also underlines the important role waste treatment service providers and a waste traceability system will play in the times to come.

“Engaging with service providers with license and high-standard practice is important. For example, vendors should have strong recycling technology to ensure that their processes don’t create more waste.”

Also read: This factory produces dtac’s “Think Hai d” t-shirts from plastic bottles and old clothes