Nokia is an industry leader in substance management

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Nokia is the first mobile phone manufacturer to offer full material declaration for our mobile devices. This is done in close cooperation with our suppliers, and it means we can respond swiftly if new concerns arise about any substance we use.

We aim to be fully aware of all the substances in our products – not just those that raise concerns. Meeting health and environmental regulatory requirements is a basic requirement. It is our practice to use legal compliance not as a mere baseline, but as a starting point from which to grow.

Our approach to substance management

We take a precautionary approach to substance management. This means that, where we have reasonable grounds for concern over possible damage to health or the environment, we will not allow a lack of full scientific evidence to be an obstacle to action.

In some cases this may see us take voluntary steps to substitute substances of concern with more sustainable alternatives – where feasible alternatives are available.

Learn more about Nokia Substance List

We proactively drive the development and use of more sustainable materials.We aim to go beyond legislation and compliance, and we set material restrictions and requirements which are defined in the Nokia substance list. We also promote innovative and sustainable material choices, working in close collaboration with our suppliers.

Working with suppliers

Our substance management requirements include the need to know, control and manage the content of the components and parts supplied to us. We expect our suppliers to integrate environmental considerations in their design procedures and supply chain management.

Environmental considerations

We work together with selected suppliers to develop indicators of environmental performance for the components and materials in our devices. Involving suppliers in substance management means we can introduce new environmental requirements more quickly.

Suppliers must record the material content of products they supply to Nokia and are required to make these records available to us on request. We check that they are complying with these requirements and other social and ethical standards through audits and inspections.

If we find a supplier is failing to comply, we ask them to take corrective action and we check this is done. We work with suppliers to help them make improvements, offering examples of best practice, training and other support. If a supplier were to refuse to address any of these issues we would be prepared to reconsider our business relationship.
Learn more about how we manage our supply chain

Sustainable futures with innovative materials

Biomaterials, made of renewable natural resources, can potentially reduce our dependence on fossil fuel based raw materials and help minimise global warming.

We actively research the development and deployment of biomaterials, with focus on the development of bio-based materials which do not compete with the food industry.

Already in 2008, we launched our first device using fully renewable materials, the Nokia 3110 Evolve, with 50% of its cover made from bioplastics. Similarly, the Nokia C7 was the first in the industry to use bio paints.Lately we have introduced bio materilas in the Nokia Asha 311 and the Nokia Lumia 820.

We have a process and clear requirements for the use of recycled metals, which aim to increase the ratio of recycled content significantly. As an example, for stainless steel we require 75% recycled content and for nickel silver alloy 97%. The Nokia C6-01 was the first device in the industry to use recycled metals.

We also actively research the use of recycled plastics. Our pioneer in this field was the Nokia 700. The total amount of recycled plastics and bioplastics in this smartphone is 33% of all the plastics used in the device, and 11% of its total mass.

Through extensive research and development, testing and concepting, we ensure that all our devices – regardless of the materials used – meet the same standards and have the highest quality, reliability and longevity. This ensures the maximum lifetime for every Nokia device and reduces waste.

We continually innovate our materials to create more sustainable devices. We do this through research and development of bioplastics, bio paints, and recycled metals and plastics.
More about sustainable devices

Phasing out restricted substances

Several years back Nokia made an ambitious voluntary commitment to phase out not only brominated flame retardants (BFR), but also other compounds of bromine, chlorine and antimony trioxide as defined in Nokia Substance List (NSL), from all our new mobile devices and accessories.

By driving this phase-out project, we have been doing pioneering work, and in collaboration with our suppliers helped clean out the industry from these substances, also for others who use same sources of components.

From the beginning of 2010, all new Nokia products have been free of bromine, chlorine and antimony trioxide as defined in the Nokia Substance List.

No nickel on product surfaces

All Nokia devices comply with strict global safety and quality standards. We use nickel at levels well within current legal and safety limits. It is our policy to ensure that all our new devices are free of nickel on product surfaces.

Some metal alloys used on product surfaces such as stainless steel do contain nickel, but standardised testing has shown that these do not cause nickel sensitivity in the general population. However, Nokia offers a wide range of models without stainless steel on their surfaces as well.

Information about whether a product contains nickel or stainless steel can be found in the Eco profile of each individual product.

Tantalum and coltan

Tantalum is a material used in many consumer electronics products. The mobile phone industry uses a very small amount of the world’s total supply of tantalum.  

Nokia became aware of the potential link between mining of tantalum and financing of the conflict in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) in 2001, and took action immediately. The DRC is one of the places where tantalum or coltan is mined. It is found in the east of the country where there is conflict, leading to concerns that tantalum may be mined under conditions breaching human rights or sold to fund war and illegal activity.

As soon as we became aware of this issue we instigated a requirement for suppliers of capacitors used in our mobile phones to confirm they have not sourced their material from the conflict areas of the DRC.

We take continuous action to ensure that metals from the conflict areas do not enter our supply chain.
Read more about our supply chain.

Coltan and tantalum are also monitored and tracked in the Nokia Substance List.

Other materials and substances to be phased out

Nokia has banned the use of beryllium oxide since 2004 in all new products. The restriction for use of all other beryllium compounds has been in force since 2010 for all new products. The first technology area in which we have completely phased out beryllium and its compounds is connector technology. Alongside the new products, the connector technology phase-out has been applied also for the older products still in production. Nokia is actively searching for alternative materials to replace beryllium also in other technology areas where technically suitable materials have not been available so far.

Use of phthalates in our products has been restricted since 2005. The ban includes eight different phthalates of which seven are restricted based on EU regulation.

Nokia is proactively evaluating substances and phasing out substances from the entire product range when technically and environmentally preferable alternative materials are available. The Nokia Substance List is publicly available and describes the Nokia approach to substances of concern. Each time Nokia introduces changes to the Nokia Substance List, both external and internal stakeholders are trained to understand and implement these changes. By working together with the supply chain as well as other key stakeholders we ensure that these best practices are promoted and taken into use thus having a wide impact beyond just Nokia. Nokia Substance List and the wider Nokia approach to substance management are also actively communicated to policy makers, regulators, NGOs and other interested parties.

Compliance, legislation and regulation

We actively comply with legislation and regulation concerning substances and material in our production. Find out how we positively address EU compliance, RoHS compliance and REACH regulation in our day-to-day operations.

EU compliance: addressing requirements

Since as early as 2001, we have voluntarily complied with restrictions on the use of nickel as defined in the EU Directives 94/27/EC and 2004/96/EC amending the Directive 76/769/EEC.

This directive originally targeted products such as jewellery that are often in direct contact with human skin for long periods of time. In December 2008, the EU Commission decided that this directive applied to mobile phones as well. We addressed this requirement in advance of deadlines.

The directive 76/769/EEC has been repealed by the EU regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) in June 2009.

RoHS compliance

RoHS stands for ‘the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment’.

The European Union’s legislation restricts the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and two flame retardants in all electric and electronic equipment.

Although this regulation came into effect on 1 July 2006, Nokia introduced the first RoHS compliant product in April 2005, over a year before the legislation came into force.

All new Nokia devices are RoHS compliant and free of PVC – not only in Europe, but globally. Starting from 2010, all our products have been free of brominated and chlorinated compounds, and antimony trioxide – as defined in the Nokia Substance List.

RoHS legislation

The Nokia Substance List outlines our view on the need for a precautionary approach to managing substances used in our industry. We are phasing out substances according to these principles, and welcome further research into potential environmental risks.

The criteria and processes for new restrictions need to be clear for the industry to comply proactively. It is important for manufacturers and suppliers to work together across the whole industry to make this happen, enabling the gradual replacement of these materials with more environmentally friendly alternatives or new technologies. Nokia favours the development of voluntary initiatives by the industry.

In addition, the following principles should be taken into consideration:

  • Restriction criteria to be based on potential risk in the full product life cycle – focus should be on substances that are relevant for our industry

  • Evaluation process should be aligned with existing legislation

  • Industry to be involved in the discussion about processes and practical implications

  • For receiving CE marking on products, full material declaration should be driven forward as an alternative for compulsory testing. In any case, compliance with legislation should be easily verified.

It is important enforcing legislation is uniform throughout the EU. Market surveillance must be transparent to be effective, and should be carried out together with all industry parties.

To accelerate the implementation of key changes globally, further regulatory requirements may be needed. Nokia is actively contributing to the development of systematic criteria and processes for improved RoHS legislation.

REACH regulation

The EU regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has been in force since 1 June 2007.

In accordance with the terms of REACH, Nokia has pledged that the use of chemicals in Nokia products and processes shall be safe to humans and the environment.

We continuously assess substances and their uses in Nokia products and production operations, and we are in active communication with our supply chain regarding REACH and its implementation. REACH also requires suppliers to notify recipients of their products if any substance included in the candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) is present in their product above 0.1% by weight. We evaluate the approach against the new versions of Candidate List of SVHC and additionally take notification method into use when necessary.

We voluntarily offer relevant information about our substance management – including REACH-related requirements – in the Nokia Substance List.