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Aspects of sustainable development

The many aspects of the road to zero

Environmental, social and governance topics are multifaceted and often complex. There are many pathways to reach the 2030 sustainable development goals with many challenges and opportunities. We share here a few points of view on aspects of sustainable development.


How smart agriculture can feed the world in 2050 

The phrase, “Please, sir, I want some more,” was uttered by Charles Dickens’ fictional character, Oliver Twist, in a London orphanage in 1837. At that time, there were approximately 1.2 billion people on the planet and many went hungry. Nearly 200 years later, even more people are asking the same question. The world’s population has reached 7.6 billion, but low-income families in cities of the developed world still go hungry, while drought and war cause famine for millions in developing countries. Given these problems, how will it be possible to feed the projected 10 billion people on the planet in 2050?

A recent report by the World Resources Institute stated that in order to feed a population of 10 billion in 2050 (see Figure 1), the following gaps would need to be addressed:

  • A 56 percent food gap between crop calories produced in 2010 and those needed in 2050 under business-as-usual growth
  • A 593-million-hectare land gap (an area nearly twice the size of India) between global agricultural land area in 2010 and expected agricultural expansion by 2050
Figure 1. Creating a sustainable food future by 2050

 sustainable food future

Source: World Resources Institute


What’s important to note is that the world already produces enough food to feed the current population, but over-production, over-consumption and supply chain issues lead to huge amounts of waste. The US Food and Drug Administration estimates that 30–40 percent of the US food supply is thrown away. Waste food is the single largest category of material placed in its landfills. The World Counts estimates that the 800 million people suffering from hunger and undernourishment could be fed by less than a quarter of the food lost or wasted in the US and Europe. A sobering thought. And it gets worse because every kilo of overproduction also represents wasted water, energy, and labor while, incredibly, forests and land continue to be cleared for industrialized livestock farming and crop planting.

It’s clear that production and consumption need managing, but equally, global supply chains are not delivering food and nutrients where they’re most needed. All these wasted resources adversely impact both the natural and human capital needed in sustainable economies and societies.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that agriculture is directly responsible for up to 8.5 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with a further 14.5 percent coming from land use change (mainly deforestation in the developing world to clear land for food production) as well as methane generated by livestock. Emissions are further increased by crops and processed derivatives being flown, shipped or driven thousands of kilometers before they are sold—and as we know, not always consumed.

Mitigation of these factors in agriculture, therefore, is central to the solution for climate change. If agriculture and associated businesses can increase their yield and at the same time minimize waste and environmental damage, it will deliver on at least four of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2 – Zero hunger; 12 – Responsible consumption & production; 13 – Climate action; 15 – Life on land). The question is, what is the best way to achieve these goals?

“Agriculture is directly responsible for up to 8.5 percent of all greenhouse gases emissions with a further 14.5 percent coming from land use change.”

Can technology make agriculture more efficient and sustainable?

Technology is often seen as the answer to many modern-day problems, but in truth, it is only part of the solution and complementary to other actions. For example, by far the greatest amount of GHG emissions in this sector comes from methane, a gas generated by farm animals. Emissions will only reduce if demand for meat and dairy decreases. Moving people to a more plant-based diet requires a cultural change that could take a generation to achieve, even though Generation Z is already enthusiastically embracing this lifestyle. Science plans to deliver genetically modified (GM) crops to increase yield and make them resistant to pests and disease, so reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizers, but this too takes time as it requires government backing and is fraught with ethical issues.

“If 25 percent of all farms adopted precision farming by 2030, it would lead to yield increases of up to 300 million tonnes per year.”
Bell Labs Consulting

In the meantime, technology can ensure best practices in existing (as well as future) agricultural production. Technologies such as digital connectivity—via public satellite and public or private LTE and 5G networks—digital Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, drones, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics can make agriculture more sustainable by minimizing the use of pesticides, fertilizer and water. These technologies can enable precision farming, and Bell Labs consulting predicts that if 25 percent of all farms adopted precision farming by 2030, it would lead to yield increases of up to 300 million tonnes per year, a reduction in farming costs of up to US$100 billion per year and a reduction of waste water by up to 150 billion cubic meters per year.


How can we make agriculture smart?

By deploying IoT sensors across a field and connecting to a private network or local mobile network—farms can monitor water and test nutrient levels in the soil. This ensures that expensive fertilizers and chemicals are only dispersed when necessary to boost yield. The IoT network can be used to monitor the performance of farm machinery and irrigation systems while drones can be sent out for routine visual checks.

In conjunction with Nokia, the Vodafone Foundation has launched Smart Agriculture-as-a-Service to improve the livelihood of 50,000 farmers across 10 districts in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in India. More than 400 sensors have been deployed over 100,000 hectares of farmland to collect data for analysis by the solution’s cloud-based and localized smart agriculture app. Sensors include soil probes, weather stations, insect traps and crop cameras. Insights from the data will help farmers to improve soy and cotton crop yields, as well as reduce their impact on the environment.

P. Balaji, Chief Regulatory & Corporate Affairs Officer at Vodafone Idea Limited, said: “Smart crop management using Smart IoT and AI-based solutions is transforming the prevalent agricultural practices into more ‘intelligent’ ones, enabling farmers with smart decision making and helping them improve production and crop quality through better utilization of resources.”

Figure 2. Technology solutions for smart agriculture

 smart agriculture

Source: Nokia, WING IoT network grid


Can innovation move sustainable production closer to points of consumption?

It’s hard to understand why strawberries need to be in shops in January in the northern hemisphere; but consumer demand has led to global supply chains filling supermarket shelves with perishable, out of season products all year round. These supply chains are easily disrupted by fuel and labor shortages, trade disputes, and as we have seen, a global health crisis and of course climate change. Increasingly, consumer groups are drawing attention to food airmiles associated with produce and encouraging consumers to buy in-season fruit and vegetables and to shop locally to reduce the logistical costs and environmental impact of long journeys.

The global food supply is surprisingly fragile. According to the Food and Agriculture Administration of the United Nations (FAO), 75 percent of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and five animal species. Biodiversity rather than monoculture is an important consideration for future agricultural strategies and a resilient food supply chain.

The desire for food security with a resilient supply chain has given rise to farms in urban environments—for example, hydroponic warehouses and vertical farms. Hydroponic agriculture gives greater control over when and where food is produced as it doesn’t rely on the local climate or prevailing weather conditions and requires no soil.


“This level of detailed imaging and insights helps us be better farmers and …. ensures the highest level of quality all year round. ”
David Rosenberg
CEO at AeroFarms

Vertical faming takes the idea of high-density human habitation and uses the concept to cultivate, grow and harvest crops all year round. They are always sited close to the urban centers where they’ll be consumed. Take AeroFarms, which is located in New Jersey. It is working with Nokia Bell Labs on a proof of concept for an integrated system that tests technologies such as AI/ML, wireless networking and drone orchestration to monitor for abnormalities at the individual plant level. This system can image every plant every day.

David Rosenberg, CEO at AeroFarms notes, “This level of detailed imaging and insights helps us be better farmers by monitoring our plant biology dynamically and allowing us to course correct as needed to ensure the highest level of quality all year round.” The advantage of this approach is that as temperature, light, moisture and feed—in other words, the artificial climate—can be managed and optimized while the number of harvests per year are increased. The time between harvest, storage and distribution is also far shorter, meaning that produce arrives fresher and faster on the shelves while reducing the environmental impact of trucking and shipping produce long distances.


How to increase agricultural sustainability?

Small farming is the lifeblood of the planet. The GSMA reports that smallholders represent 500 million households who are responsible for producing food for ~70 percent of the world’s population. Yet while small-scale operations can be innovative and nimble, small farms are also the most vulnerable to changing climate patterns, which affect their yields and can impact supply chains. This is especially true in lower income countries, where farmers mainly need access to the internet to check weather reports, obtain the financial capital necessary to buy seeds and fertilizers, sell crops, and gain intelligence to improve their yield and business practices. In higher and in middle income countries, on the other hand, technology can supply far more sophisticated sensors, detailed imagery from drones, and fully automated machinery.

Today it still seems that there are too many Oliver Twists in the world and several factors still need to align to ensure the sustainable agricultural practices and food production necessary to feed our growing population. These include changing human behavior and consumption patterns, better management of food production and food waste, ensuring crop biodiversity, supporting farmers exposed to climate change and rethinking where farming occurs. Technology and innovation play a significant role in meeting these challenges, and in providing lower carbon and sustainable solutions for agriculture and food production. We can only hope, with all this in place, that by 2050 fewer people will need to ask for more.


Telecommunications has played a pivotal role in helping the world achieve unprecedented technological feats. The march towards ground-breaking innovation in connectivity, digitalization and automation will revolutionize almost all aspects of our lives. But along with it comes a profound responsibility. Ensuring that the critical services are provided with minimal fallout on a climate-stressed planet.  

The need for a robust communications infrastructure that can meet the extremely complex and varied expectations of subscribers has been rising steadily. It soared even higher since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn has compelled telcos to consume more energy than ever. It’s not only emissions that should be a matter for concern. Usage of materials and waste are also major contributors to the industry’s carbon footprint.

Old is new  

Material use constitutes around 40 percent of global emissions and currently a mere 10 percent of materials are treated as circular. Reuse, recycle and refurbish should be the guiding principles for the future. In that respect optimum use of available resources, efficiency and digitalization are essential to inject circular practices when creating new products and services. In simple terms, circular economy promotes the concept of retaining the value of components, products and resources by extending their life cycle and optimizing waste management.  

Nokia adopted circular practices a quarter of a century ago while following the classic waste hierarchy model. The priority is to avoid generating waste through digitalization, operational efficiency and by extending the life of the product. Since it is always not possible to dematerialize everything, proper waste management procedures are equally important wherein we first explore avenues to reuse, followed by material recycling. The very last option is recovery and landfill. 

““We try to use the materials as long as possible and increase the life of the product by repairing, refurbishing and updating them with the latest software. There is even a voluntary take-back service that we offer to our customers””
Pia Tanskanen
Head of Environment at Nokia

 “Collaboration with the supply chain to increase the use of recycled materials in the components they provide to us, tracking material origin and reporting practises development to understand the recycled content are some of the additional measures we take to adopt the principles of circularity,” she adds.  

Nokia has been accepting legacy products from customers for years, even if they were manufactured by a third party. On several occasions these are repaired and reused by customers, refurbished internally, or broken down for parts harvesting. In some instances, components are recycled for raw materials for a completely different application or sector. Such an approach reduces the need for raw material extraction and lowers emissions.

Circular economy in Nokia  

Nokia has made significant progress in adopting circular practices and intends to do more by setting clearly defined objectives.  

In 2020, Nokia processed 5,870 metric tons of obsolete products and parts. Out of these 79,400 items with a combined weight of 570 metric tons were reused. Approximately 5,250 metric tons of old equipment was dispatched for energy and materials recovery and 50 tons to landfill. The result, 99 percent of the material content in our products were fit for utilization.  

In the same year, Nokia put in motion a policy to improve the use of recycled materials in its products. To that effect, we worked in close coordination with cast aluminium parts suppliers to better understand the sourcing of raw materials and sought avenues to increase recycled content in components. A study later showed that 54 percent of the 23,200 metric tons of cast aluminium parts used in Nokia products had recycled materials in them. Challenges, however, remain pertaining to material purity.

“We are studying more materials in the supply chain but more needs to be done. We have to work across the industries to develop the tracking mechanism, set boundaries and definitions on what can be reported as recycled content,” says Tanskanen.

 Attempts have also been made to increase the circularity of plastics used in products. In 2020, again, Nokia tried to improve the recycling prospects of plastics through the reduced use of non-halogen free materials and investigated whether mix post-consumer recyclates could be mixed with virgin plastics to produce product housings. 

It’s noteworthy to mention here that Nokia saved 31,600 tons CO2 through circular practices in that year.


Setting the right standards  

As the industry mulls the best course of action to chart an effective circularity strategy, it is imperative that appropriate standards and frameworks are created which could help telecom companies to gauge their performance.  

Nokia has contributed actively by sharing best practices and creating telecommunication specific circular economy standards in the ITU-T  (International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication standardization sector) and the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). We joined the JAC forum to contribute to the debate on circularity with telecom service provider customers and received a best practice in circular economy recognition.

Going green with circularity  

According to the World Resources Institute, more than 100 billion tons of resources enter the global economy every year, out of which a mere 8.6 percent gets recycled and reused. Such arbitrary exploitation is not sustainable and thus new ways of operating and partnering is the need of the hour if we were to realize the goal of a true circular economy.  

Telecommunications operators will play a key role on that front. For circularity to be a success, cooperation across the whole value chain is essential. The industry must set ambitious goals and track performance. Traditional business models will have to be revisited and the status quo challenged. At Nokia, we have been following well-established circular practices for decades that enable us to utilize the full value of our products.  

“We will be introducing a circularity target which will look at different areas of our business. From the office, R&D labs to product takeback and final assembly lines. Our goal is to develop material management to such an extent, so that by 2030 there will be no need for landfilling,” Tanskanen adds.    


Orange and Nokia develop the use of refurbished equipment in network infrastructures
Make do and mend – circularity comes full circle  

People & Planet 2020


© UNICEF/UN0459220/Padji

In 2017 Nokia began a four year journey with UNICEF Finland as part of our aim to support and work with organizations that carry out rights-based work. On Human Right Day 2021, it is good to remind ourselves that UNICEF gets its mandate from United Nations, and is the only organization mentioned in the Convention of the Rights of the Child which is a legal framework and can be seen as the most ratified human rights treaty in history.

While the program with Nokia comes to its end, below we can take a look at the true impact of mobile technology, digitalization and data-driven application in driving improved healthcare outcomes for children.

During these last two years, the program has proved its true worth at a time when Indonesia saw some of the highest rates of COVID infection in the region. Nokia’s ongoing support for UNICEF Indonesia has been seen as instrumental in the expansion of data-driven digital intervention programmes across Indonesia to improve results for children. The program helped establish a local data analytics team in 2019, which has been formalizing data innovations in the office and extending efforts more widely from health-related activities to child protection, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, and social policy.

After the initial rollout and implementation of immunization programs particularly aimed at children and pregnant mothers, as well as data gathering capacity for healthcare workers across a variety of issues – nutrition, polio, HIV, water & sanitation and malaria, this final year of the Nokia-UNICEF program concentrated on scaling up and expanding existing initiatives to new provinces and districts, and on developing the SDG dashboard.

In the last two years, at least seven of the developed digital interventions were adopted by the government: Three were replicated to other districts using local government funding and other interventions were integrated to the national system.

This final year of the Nokia – UNICEF program in Indonesia has included for example:

  • the nutrition chatbot, used to support uninterrupted nutrition counseling services for caregivers with severely malnourished children, was expanded with government resources to 24 districts in 8 provinces with high rates of malnourished children.
  • COVID19 prevention monitoring: at the beginning of the pandemic a communication platform was adapted to monitor proper handwashing, mask-use and safe distancing in the community. The use of the platform was originally piloted in selected areas in Jakarta Province and has now been expanded to 8 other provinces with government funding.

© UNICEF/2020 

  • The findings of a survey to obtain parents’ and students’ perceptions on remote learning experiences, have been used by the Government to optimize distance learning and push for multisectoral collaboration to close the digital divide across regions in Indonesia.
  • UNICEF is also providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) to scale up a case management software to identify children residing in out-of-family settings across Indonesia. In response to the pandemic, the platform has been enhanced to track COVID-19 infections among vulnerable children. During the last reporting year, the platform was active in 27 districts with 2,895 vulnerable children in the system; a third have families that have been affected by the virus.
  • Application of big data. The analysis of mobility data supports real time monitoring of adherence to safe-distancing measures, thereby enabling forecasting of community transmission. Social media monitoring and targeted responses are helping to promote healthy behaviours. The resulting dashboard is now being replicated in other countries in the region.
  • Monitoring of SDGs progress: The government owned online portal brings together national, provincial and district level data from various household surveys and other official data sources and visualizes them in a simplified and easy to-use manner. The dashboard version 1.0 was launched in 2019 and contained limited data.
  • In 2020–2021, the SDG dashboard which supports analysis and informs policy choices and reporting on SDGs, was further enhanced to improve its functionality to generate insights at the subnational level as well as establishing a model of system interoperability between different data platforms across line ministries. The SDGs Dashboard version 2.0 was launched in November 2021.
children protest

© UNICEF/UN0540772/Mawa

Based on an interview with Gautam Narasimhan, Senior Adviser for Climate, Energy and Environment, UNICEF

A view from UNICEF

On November 20th we celebrated World Children’s Day - the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As we celebrate, it is important to recognize that recent record heat waves, wildfires and flooding are creating deeply challenging environments for children. In fact, according to UNICEF one billion children are at “extremely high risk” of the impacts of climate change. In a recently released report, UNICEF have created the Children’s Climate Risk Index, ranking countries based on how vulnerable children are to environmental stresses and extreme weather events. According to UNICEF, the “climate crisis is creating a child’s rights crisis. It is creating a water crisis, a health crisis, an education crisis, a protection crisis and a participation crisis.”

How does the Children’s Climate Risk Index work?

Children’s lack of access to essential services, such as in health, nutrition, education and social protection, makes them particularly susceptible to climate change. Using high-resolution geographical data, the report examines how many children live in areas that experience multiple, overlapping climate and environmental hazards, shocks and stresses. It also examines child vulnerability, examining 57 variables together to measure risk across countries before ranking each country.  

“The children most vulnerable to climate change live in countries that have contributed the least to global emissions.  For them, among the best investments we can make to reduce their risk is in ensuring that the basic social services they need, such as education, healthcare and water, are resilient to the already present and worsening impacts. Connecting the unconnected is critical in improving access to education, healthcare and other social services.” Gautam Narasimhan, Senior Adviser for Climate, Energy and Environment, UNICEF

Why are children more vulnerable to climate and environmental shocks than adults? 

  • They are physically more vulnerable, and less able to withstand and survive shocks such as floods, droughts, severe weather and heatwaves.
  • They are physiologically more vulnerable. Toxic substances, such as lead and other forms of pollution, affect children more than adults, even at lower doses of exposure.
  • They are more at risk of death compared with adults from diseases that are likely to be exacerbated by climate change, such as malaria and dengue.
  • They have their whole life ahead of them – any deprivation as a result of climate and environmental degradation at a young age can result in a lifetime of lost opportunity.

© UNICEF/UN0540660/Chol

What is Nokia doing in this area?

Education can play an important role in building the knowledge and skills that will contribute to improved sustainability practices and a reduction in emissions at the individual, institutional and communal levels.  As an example, earlier this week, Nokia announced a partnership with UNICEF and Orange Foundation to empower marginalized young people, particularly girls, in Morocco with digital, entrepreneurial and environmental skills. This project is part of UNICEF’s flagship UPSHIFT program, and is an extension of Nokia’s existing relationship with UNICEF in countries across the world.

Next steps

By the end of the program, we expect that at least 1,400 young people in Morocco, of which at least 60% will be girls, will have received training in transferable skills such as working with others, self-esteem, creativity and communication. They will also be supported in digital skills development and in raising their awareness of climate change challenges. At least 500 young people will benefit from the social innovation curriculum, while roughly 250 young people will be assisted in developing projects to launch youth-led ventures. 

Skills-based learning can empower children, adolescents and teachers to participate in climate mitigation, adaptation and climate-resilience activities in schools, to encourage children to become part of the solution to climate change. At Nokia, we create technology that helps the world act together. We are proud to play our part along with our partners in making that a reality.

Roadmap to carbon reduction

From commitment to impact

Right now, corporations everywhere are making commitments to deliver carbon emission reductions, dedicating themselves to pursuing ambitious goals – and Nokia is among them. But any company can have a vision and commitment to change; the big question is how to get there in practice? Which bits of an operation need to come under the spotlight most urgently? What skillsets do the teams managing change need? What data sets do we need to understand climate impacts and which actions should we take first? Getting all this right is our obsession here at Nokia, building defined roadmaps to help us rapidly travel from commitment to impact.

This is a time for action

As the upcoming COP26 UN Climate Change conference draws near, the time for talk is over. Individuals, governments, corporations and whole societies now need to actively change how we live, work and operate. COP26 is about ‘Uniting the world to tackle climate change’ and we see immense value in uniting internally at Nokia, within our different business groups as well as across our value chain, from our suppliers to our customers. Speaking the same language around decarbonization, understanding common terms, setting jointly-agreed boundaries and using shared frameworks to create valuable datasets are all key.

Nokia has a long-term climate target, for our whole business, divided into Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. To deliver against this target, we are creating one overall decarbonization roadmap for our business, made up of lots of mini roadmaps. This holistic approach looks at carbon reduction and increasing power efficiency in everything from product creation and R&D laboratory testing to software innovations that help our products to use power more efficiently. It looks at how we are setting and pursuing targets for suppliers to minimize our true operational carbon footprint and how we can structure benefits for our employees to make things like driving a hybrid electric car the more attractive choice. No single direction holds the answer. We need to take action in all these different areas, bringing these mini roadmaps together to help us deliver against our big decarbonization goal. 

COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic

Nokia, like many companies, has significantly decreased employee commute journeys and business travel during 2020/ 2021. We have also seen the importance of connectivity, with our networks helping to keep the world going. Clearly, continuing to support virtual meetings and remote working where possible will be instrumental in creating the greener and healthier world we desperately need. Online meetings, remote factory inspections and e-purchasing can all become the norm, simply moving dialog with customers into virtual spaces and, in many cases, improving that dialog as more colleagues from both sides are able to enter the conversation remotely. 

But the most important take out the pandemic may have given us is that when the world really wants to change something fast, it can. In March 2020, cities emptied out overnight and the world went online, showing that we can all pivot at speed when we try. It’s this kind of rapid change that we now need to see with regard to climate topics across the corporate world.

Making 5G work for the world

5G is another big environmental focus at Nokia and a key roadmap for us. The hyperconnectivity that 5G enables in pursuit of a wider digitalization agenda positively impacts so many businesses and changes people’s lives. However, the ramp up in production it enables means more data going through our networks, which in turn leads to a greater power draw. We’re actively working to separate growth in data from growth in power consumption.

Incremental vs disruptive change: It’s all vital 

Success will be about leveraging the Nokia environmental efficiency principles across our whole business, carefully knitting together innovations in hardware, software and the infrastructure. Ultimately the biggest impact we can have on climate is making sure that every part of the network is designed in a smarter way. Incremental changes such as making more efficient chipsets, shorter cables and smarter cooling are key. New software can also put systems on standby during the night when there’s less network traffic, transforming carbon loads. At the same time, we are working with our own researchers, universities and affiliated research institutes to look at more innovative low carbon ideas, putting all our brains together to solve the climate challenge.

What can we do better?

The GSMA in its recent ‘The Enablement Effect’ report reveals that the positive impact of digitalization on low carbon development is calculated to be 10 times greater than its negative impact. It goes further to say that “By 2025, estimates based on projections of smartphone users and increases in number of IoT connections could result in a further doubling of the avoided emissions enabled by mobile technologies.”*  But that doesn’t let us at Nokia off the hook. We still have to keep the pressure and focus up. One area where we have urgent work to do is around measurement: understanding the carbon impact of various activities, getting useful, comparable data and being transparent about disclosure. You can rest assured that Nokia will be working on all this and more as COP 26 unfolds.


Decarbonizing supply chains together

Empowering suppliers on climate

Supply chains are famously challenging to monitor and really get to know in detail. So when Nokia committed to reset its emission reduction targets in 2019, with the goal of helping to limit average global climate temperature rises to 1.5°C, we knew that our supply chain would need tackling head on. 

As a business, we have been working hard for several years to turn our wider operations and products to low carbon and that has included engaging the suppliers that deliver the materials and services so essential to the Nokia business. You’ll find these accounted for in what we call our ‘Scope 3 emissions’.

We have now set ambitious targets for our component suppliers to cut their emissions by 50% by 2030. That rises to 100% for final assembly suppliers from a 2019 baseline and means they have the same target as Nokia’s own factories. We’re also working with transportation suppliers to help us to bring our logistics emissions down by 73% by 2030. Those are some pretty big numbers and rightly so, when you look at the scale of the challenges facing our world.

Of course, climate science is a relatively new field and Nokia is on a learning curve too, working out how best to engage stakeholders around key topics to rapidly transform our business. That’s why we have set up an annual process of supplier engagement that embraces awareness raising and good practice sharing, climate data collection and reporting, performance evaluation and, recognizing and rewarding great results. To get inside how we’re working together to deliver change, we can walk you through each of these areas of activity in turn:

COP26 Compass award

Honored to win COP26 Compass award for capacity building. The awards are run by DEFRA UK (Department for Environment , Food and Rural Affairs UK ) and the Responsible Business Alliance.

  • Awareness raising and good practice sharing.
    Every year, we host the Nokia Supplier Climate Webinar where we share our expectations, 2030 targets and good practices coming from different stakeholders within Nokia such as R&D, Logistics, Travel and Fleet and Real Estate. This is a great example of how our environmental experts from different Business Units are connecting, consolidating and sharing their insights and learning. The aim is to cultivate good practices across our supplier networks and find inspiring new angles for our suppliers to work on each year. And we too can learn from our suppliers.
  • Climate data collection and reporting.
    We send out an annual climate assessment questionnaire via CDP to nearly 600 suppliers, supported by practical guidance and sessions on how to measure CO2 and how to fill out the required information. In case you’re unfamiliar with CDP (formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project), this global not-for-profit organization helps cities and companies like ours disclose their environmental impact, with the aim of making environmental reporting and risk management a business norm for us all. Following these assessment rounds, results are communicated with suppliers and tailored advice is shared with the next steps, based on their performance. When it comes to our final assembly suppliers, data collection and monitoring take place on a much more stringent monthly basis. Performance and reduction projects track and benchmark impact within our own factories.
  • Integrating results into performance evaluation.
    Supplier performance results are embedded into our Supplier Performance Evaluation process. Our suppliers receive scores for sustainability/carbon reduction alongside those for quality, business delivery, relationship, and innovation performance.
  • Rewarding and recognizing best examples 
    Recognizing great practice is as important as penalizing the bad so we have embedded sustainability and carbon reduction into our Nokia Procurement Diamond Awards which are hosted by our top leadership team, including our CEO.

Diamond Awards

The winner of 2021 Diamond Awards Sustainability Category Wus Printed Circuits has contributed significantly to CO2 emission reductions of PCB manufacturing having cut the emissions of PCBs by half over the past 5 years.

This has been achieved through green energy generation, production process improvements, increasing energy recovery and investment in energy saving facilities. This helps Nokia to address one of the most energy intense parts in its supply chain and cut our supplier born Scope 3 emissions.

Transparency matters — we still have work to do

It’s a tough operating environment out there and Nokia is clear that no change will happen without our teams tirelessly and proactively engaging with our valued supply chain partners: educating, inspiring, modelling and rewarding the changes that we want to achieve, together.

We engaged with over 600 suppliers last year. 430 of those, representing 61% of our total procurement spend, responded to the request to disclose their climate performance information via CDP. Of that number, 340 disclosed their carbon emissions and 262 also provided emission reduction targets. These carbon reduction initiatives achieved a total saving of 33 million metric tons of CO2e.  Beyond that, 204 of our suppliers are already engaging with their own suppliers on climate topics, driving change further and deeper into the supply chains that we depend on.

Nokia is proud to have created an ecosystem where our climate ambitions are carefully aligned with those of our suppliers. This allows us to share and replicate world-class best practices with a much broader reach than would be possible if we focused on our own operations alone. Clearly, by driving change among hundreds of suppliers and in turn into their sub-suppliers, the impact of our activities is multiplied. 

But this is just the start and we can and must do even better. The path ahead is long and the challenges uncertain – but we intend to keep our activities focused and impact-led and to keep our stakeholders updated on our journey to a healthier, more sustainable world. We’re determined to do our bit with our customers and ecosystem partners.

Evolving the energy industry

How the energy industry is evolving to meet the world’s challenges.

Until very recently, the energy industry had remained essentially unchanged for decades. The heavy regulation of power utilities in particular has stifled innovation with the first and last priority being to simply keep the lights on.

But things are evolving – and fast. Accelerate ahead to 2021 and innovation in the energy sector is taking off at incredible rates. In fact, all sorts of utilities from water to electricity and gas are learning to be more agile in the race to Net Zero emissions, integrating more low carbon technologies and flexible processes while keeping reliability and resilience high. Beyond that, power production itself has changed. Power today is increasingly likely to be generated by many de-centralized, lower capacity sources, moving away from that traditional centralized generation>transmission>distribution> delivery approach.

The renewable revolution

Renewable energy is obviously top of mind in the drive to meet 2050’s tough carbon reduction KPIs and energy companies are juggling the many challenges. For example, natural weather patterns create huge variations in how much solar and wind power can be produced at any given time, with these intermittent levels creating havoc for system operators who have to keep frequency ranges within a certain level for the grid to function properly.

The number and geographical distribution of assets deployed in the new renewables world is different too. The sheer volume of assets now connected to the grid requiring monitoring, maintenance, control, and dispatch is dramatically increasing, and new types of assets are constantly being added to the mix: batteries, quick response hydrogen generators and other storage technologies are helping to balance the equation between supply and demand.

At the heart of it all is connectivity and communication, helping operations to function together in a systematic way to keep the lights on – and that’s where Nokia comes in.  

While communication has been critical to energy companies for decades, its role is changing. In this new world, gathering data to create intelligent and timely insights, leading to faster interventions is key. So, even though communications have managed grid assets for a long time, now it is the conduit for managing more assets, at a larger scale, further into the grid with lower latency (delay), more bandwidth and iron-clad security.

Platform convergence makes sense

The distinction between communication and energy control technologies is blurring, with capabilities and features being combined onto one platform to save space and lower energy consumption. These technologies are now working together to accomplish the levels and pervasiveness needed to manage grid assets, down to the smart meters in our homes. The data collected by these systems is also used to trend performance, predict outages and maintenance cycles, and help balance supply and demand in real time. Networks are also being privatized because they are so mission critical. A single communication outage can destroy a grid’s ability to function and impact the reliability and resiliency KPIs set by regulators.


Advantages from the edge

In the meantime, edge computing is quietly coming center stage, reducing latency and the traffic quantities traversing networks by keeping decisions local and data strictly relevant. For example, distribution automation gear like fault interrupters or sectionalizers can both make decisions and enact them locally, then send the results to the front-end processor. A microgrid consisting of multiple generation elements can make a local decision on which is the best generation source to use, or when to charge or discharge batteries.  It can then send the decision or trend data at the best time. A microgrid can also function in ‘island’ mode when connectivity is not available, with the behavior of those assets determined locally. In a similar manner, a low voltage substation in a neighbourhood could act independently by controlling demand of EV chargers in order to keep balance in that small territory. Scheduling when or how quickly EVs charge and when they all require communications using edge computing can meet latency requirements.

The industry has a lot to do to achieve Net Zero by 2050. It’s going to take everyone working together because energy (whether oil, gas or electricity) is foundational to life as we know it.  

Every industry — across agriculture, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, hospitality, education and more — needs power.  Replacing fossil fuel baseloads with other greener generation like nuclear, green hydrogen and hydro (tidal, run-of-the-river and even pumped storage), as well as creating innovative new technologies to capture excess solar and wind for later use, are all high on the R&D agenda. New policies, regulations and social behaviors are also expected to be developed. 

It will take cross industry collaboration to reach the ambitious targets that we have all set ourselves and Nokia is proud to be at the heart of it all, creating the technologies that help the world act together to deliver a healthier, greener future for our planet. 


Our maiden CO2-neutral airfreight flights take off

A flight carrying ten tons of Nokia Mobile Networks 5G products from China to Europe in October 2021 marked an important step in Nokia’s drive for sustainability.

This was our first airfreight shipment to be transported using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) following the signing of a deal with DB Schenker (DBS), one of our key logistics providers, for weekly Lufthansa flights.

Nokia aims to halve company emissions by 2030 – and CO2 emissions from airfreight journeys are one key contributor to our carbon footprint. 

As well as the CO2-neutral flight, DBS ensured the shipment was as eco-friendly as possible, all the way from the Shanghai factory to our hub at Tilburg in the Netherlands, by using biofuelled trucks at either end. 

Kim Aaltonen, Nokia’s VP of Logistics & Trade Management, said: “Our initial collaboration with DB Schenker to enable carbon-neutral air transport from Asia to Europe is a key step on our path to reduce transportation carbon emissions.”

Our logistics team uses airfreight as sparingly as possible – but sometimes, especially in the face of global issues such as potential component shortages and urgent customer demand, air transport is the only option for on-time delivery.

Until now, most planes have run on kerosene, a fossil fuel that produces CO2 emissions. However, companies including Finland-based Neste are now producing SAF, which has similar properties but is carbon-neutral.

Our sustainable solution has been tested and approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). When it is burned, the amount of CO2 released is the same as that removed from the atmosphere during the plants’ original growth. 

We hope our SAF-fuelled flights mark the start of innovative sustainability solutions for air transport. We also believe our commitment to SAF will help to inspire others by driving market demand and accelerating the production of more carbon-neutral solutions.

“Our initial collaboration with DB Schenker to enable carbon-neutral air transport from Asia to Europe is a big step on our path to reduce transportation carbon emissions.”
Kim Aaltonen
VP, Mobile Networks, Logistics & Trade Management at Nokia

What’s in SAF?

Our sustainable aviation fuel includes:

  • Used cooking oil
  • Animal and fish waste 
  • Residue from vegetable oil processing