The climate crisis is not a future scenario, it is already here today. Heat, drought and flooding of unprecedented intensity are calling on business, politics and civil society to take action. At the A1 Digital Life Summit 2022, keynote speaker Erin Brockovich provided inspiration with an exclusive get-together for the A1 Team.
When it comes to sustainable action, the solution is not behavior change OR technology, but both. Digitalization will play a major role. Reason enough as a leading telecommunications company to hold a state-of-the-art event for stakeholders, business partners and non-profit institutions. Beforehand, around 30 international A1 team members had the opportunity to meet environmental icon Erin Brockovich for an internal get-together. Some of them share their impressions of the event with us and answer the questions how they integrate sustainability into their daily work and which sustainable measures and initiatives they have already set.
»Be the hero yourself – there is no other hero.«
Ina, Procure2Pay process owner for GBS (Global Business Services Center) and A1 Bulgaria, is happy to finally meet her longtime source of inspiration in person: »What an exciting event and what a unique opportunity to meet Erin Brockovich! She inspired me to set sustainable initiatives. In A1 Bulgaria, I advocated for providing glass bottles to the employees and installing additional water filtration systems in the office. In my personal life, I am a co-chairperson of the Institute for Circular Economy in Bulgaria where I am working to increase the awareness for the benefits of the circular economy and I have co-written the book »Bulgaria’s Future History Textbook«.
Silva, who works as a senior buyer at A1 Macedonia, is also actively involved in climate and environmental protection thanks to Erin’s example. »For more than two years, I’ve been collecting bottles in our municipality every day to return them to the recycling cycle, I have worked with an activist group to get the law on importing carcinogenic waste as energy for factories repealed, and I am also pleased that we were able to get a new waste law that will come into effect on January 1, 2023.«
Sustainability is also firmly anchored in Andreas‘ beliefs. Professionally, he is currently responsible for the network of interns in Supply Chain Management as People Lead, where he enthusiastically matches fresh ideas with his experience. Privately, he attended a passive house planning course lasting several months in order to be able to realize his ideas of a sustainable home. His »aha« moment from meeting Erin: »Obviously, people with special needs or the experience of a fateful event in particular have a special perception from which they draw courage and confidence for their path. I think that should show us to take a new look at unusual suggestions and take them seriously.«
Birgit also holds a managerial position in purchasing at A1 Austria and persistently drives the implementation of sustainable ideas forward, such as FSC certification for packaging boxes and packaging-free A1 SIM cards. Where does she still see a need for action? »More communication about things that we are already doing: I always find my colleagues surprised when I tell them that A1 in Austria has been using almost 100% electricity from renewable energy for years!«
The example of Marion shows that when it comes to sustainability, it is not a matter of lonely fighting, but that more can be achieved, above all, in a team or family association. Professionally responsible for business customers, she traveled from Salzburg to Vienna – by train of course ;-) – to meet Erin Brockovich. On her journey she brought not only a lot of sustainable ideas on how A1 can optimize, especially in the real estate sector, but also her son Tobias, who also follows his interest in environmental technology in his education. »He has already changed a lot at home, we only buy local and seasonal fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs as much as possible and meat consumption has been reduced to 1-2 times a week.«
Johannes is definitely not a wimp, because he only takes cold showers. ;-) Working with the ESG strategy of the A1 Group, the convinced climate ticket user also relies on renewable energy and e-mobility in a professional context. He was particularly intrigued by Erin Brockovich’s appearance at the A1 Digital Life Summit. »Erin’s motivation remains undiminished after decades of advocacy for health and the environment – even in the face of the multitude of current crises. That’s really impressive.«
What is the summary of this event? The possibilities for a better tomorrow are as diverse as we humans are, the main thing is to reach for the ceiling and never give up. And, at least on this evening, the desire to »do more« was in the air and the willingness to actively shape this great transformation to a climate-friendly economy also with the possibilities of digitalization was palpably great. Or to put it in the encouraging words of Erin Brockovich: »Feel hope, not fear«.