An exclusive interview for Telecom Review with Joachim Wuilmet, head of marketing and communications at Nokia MEA to discuss further the topic of sustainability and climate change.
Nokia has been an active player in bringing sustainability to the world. What are the key tenets of your company’s sustainability policy?
Nokia strongly believes that the technology we create and deliver improves people's lives. Communications technology and digitalization will play a critical role in driving social, environmental and economic progress, helping the world achieve all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Connectivity and digitalization have the potential to dramatically enable improved economic, educational, health, and environmental opportunities, as well as sustainable productivity.
Our company purpose is based on the premise that we create the technology that helps the world act together. On an operational level, our business processes, procedures and activities are geared around this belief. We aim to take responsibility for our actions and their impact on the world. We continuously work towards minimizing potential negative impacts while maximizing the many potential positive impacts of the technology we create.
Our sustainability approach is defined on three pillars where we believe we can have the maximum impact: climate, culture and integrity
Nokia adopts a circular approach across the product lifecycle and our operations. This means that we don't just ensure process efficiency for optimum use of our resources but also apply sustainable and circular design choices for new technology solutions. For 25 years, we have had well-established circular practices that utilize the full value of our products. We take back or acquire excess and obsolete products from customers and markets, and then repair or refurbish these units for inclusion in the product supply chain for customer purchase or our internal use.
In 2020, we processed 5,870 metric tons of obsolete products and parts. Of this material, we reused 79,400 items with a combined weight of 570 metric tons and sent approximately 5,250 metric tons of old telecommunications equipment for energy and materials recovery.
At Nokia, sustainability issues are reviewed regularly at all levels of the company. Strong governance structures and processes are in place to manage good ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.
Please tell us about developments in Nokia's commitment to reduce emissions by 50% across its operations and products in use by 2030.
Nokia has taken a major step by targeting to cut GHG emissions across its business by 50% between 2019 and 2030. In line with our commitment to limiting global warming to 1.5°C, this recalibrated target was accepted in February 2021 by the Science Based Targets initiative. We were the first telco vendor to have our initial science-based targets accepted in 2017
Our Scope 3 emissions relate largely to when our customers use our products in their networks that require energy and therefore produce emissions. These emissions form the greatest part of our carbon footprint (almost 90%). Our new SBT covers our value chain, and the 50% reduction is applicable across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and based on 2019 reported emissions.
Under Scope 3, the new targets cover close to 100% of the company's current product portfolio and emissions from both logistics and supply chain assembly factories. Further, under Scope 1 and 2, the new targets cover our operations, including facilities, car and marine fleets.
We adopt a circular approach across our product life cycle and across our operations through our Design for Environment program, robust Environmental Management System (EMS), material and energy resource efficiency and end of life practices. For instance, we have recently collaborated with Orange to create an initial framework to include refurbished gear in the networks we supply to enhance sustainability.
As part of our commitment to sustainable operations, we delivered zero-emission products to over 150 customers worldwide. The customer base station sites we modernized used on average 54% less energy than those where our customers did not modernize.
How is sustainability an integral part of products coming from Nokia?
Sustainability is at the centre of all our new products. Our Design for Environment (DfE) approach ensures we create solutions and products that incorporate environmentally sustainable principles. This programme helps product development teams by setting targets and evaluating energy-saving features with each new product introduction.
Our recent product introductions highlight our commitment to building energy-efficient and sustainable products. A case in point is Quillion chipsets which reduce energy consumption by up to 50% compared to previous line card generation. Further, our AirScale 5G portfolio powered by ReefShark chipset technology enables up to 75% energy savings. Our new FP5 network process silicon sets a new benchmark for power efficiency in IP routing with a 75 percent reduction in power consumption over previous generations.
Further, we are also developing sustainable products and solutions, like Nokia driven LuxTurrim smart pole, which is currently being showcased at Expo 2020 Dubai.
What was Nokia’s position at the COP26 UN Climate Change conference, and what it achieved there?
As a responsible global technology leader, we are committed to working with others to make the world a more sustainable place. We believe digitalization is critical to bringing down carbon emissions and combatting climate change. At the COP26 climate change conference, we engaged with other stakeholders to call for the acceleration of digitalization, greater collaboration and the development of a more sustainable ecosystem to achieve global goals. Nokia was honored with the COP26 COMPASS award for our work on capacity building in our supply chain. The awards were run by DEFRA UK (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Responsible Business Alliance, in which we hold membership. We collaborate with our suppliers on sustainability and climate topics. Our suppliers are an important part of our value chain and are also contributing to reaching our climate targets.
How is Nokia helping communities to educate them about the importance of climate change for a better tomorrow?
Nokia believes in a collaborative approach to creating sustainable values to have a much greater impact on the social, environmental, ethical and economic challenges of our time. We continue to work with our customers, both CSPs and enterprises, in several critical areas, including sustainability, energy and resource efficiency, critical communications, efficient manufacturing supply chain, transparency, modern slavery and community environment.
Nokia recently announced its partnership with UNICEF and Orange Foundation to empower young people with digital, entrepreneurial and environmental skills, as well as knowledge about climate change as part of UNICEF’s UPSHIFT program in Morocco. This project is an extension of Nokia’s existing relationship with UNICEF in other countries across the world.
Further, we regularly provide information about our sustainability performance and our operations to our customers. We have successfully collaborated with customers to measure the impact of 5G on energy use, explore the issues of single-use plastics, identify potential environmental improvements in our common supply chain, and increase the dialogue and activities around circularity and responsible supply chain.