Combating climate change
Technology will play a key role in fighting climate change and its impacts.
Digitalization and solutions to fight climate change must go hand-in-hand. They are dependent on each other. We believe there is no green without digital. In climate, as in other areas of ESG, we maximize our positive impact – our handprint - while simultaneously minimizing any potential negative environmental impacts – our footprint.
Maximizing our handprint
Our technology solutions make asset intensive industries more efficient, helping minimize waste and enabling greater reuse of precious resources and materials. We work with customers across asset intensive industries such as utilities, oil and gas, manufacturing, transportation, mining, agriculture as well as in other areas of business. Enhanced connectivity and new advanced digital solutions also underpin everyday life, creating more energy efficient, cleaner, less polluted cities and communities, helping to manage and reduce waste.
Minimizing our footprint
We also understand we have a responsibility to limit potential negative impacts of our business and operations. We strive to minimize our footprint by actively and continually managing that footprint. As the volume of traffic rises in a more connected, digitalized world, we must work to separate this growth in traffic from any equivalent growth in energy consumption. We also need to constantly strive to reduce GHG emissions across our operations and facilities, and work with our supply chain to help drive greater energy and resource efficiency through the whole chain.
We set externally verifiable public targets with short, medium and long term ambitions, often working with recognised external expert organizations to enable greater transparency and robustness. In climate we have set our Science Based Target through which we aim to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030. This target is applied across our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (our whole value chain) and is calculated against the baseline 2019 reported emissions. This target is in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.
Climate and our product portfolio
According to our life cycle assessment, the use phase of our products, that is , when they are operated by our customers in their networks, remains by far, the major part of our carbon footprint. In 2021 it accounted for 93% of our total carbon footprint. Therefore, our greatest direct impact on our footprint can be achieved by continually driving down power consumption across the product portfolio, thus improving the energy efficiency when in use by our customers. Below are a number of examples from our product offering which reflect this impact.
Energy efficiency solutions
5G and climate
5G and climate
5G is natively greener than previous generations of mobile technology and can potentially provide 100 times more data traffic with less energy per bit thanks to new standardized efficiency features. This is based on the ITU-R (International Telecommunications Union) design target for 5G radios is 100x traffic with same energy consumption compared to 4G.
5G is the only radio technology that can help to digitalize societies while also allowing the decoupling of the growth in data traffic from equivalent potential growth in energy consumption. An energy-efficient 5G deployment strategy is the only way to build the best performing, lowest cost 5G radio networks. 5G also provides the foundation for the efficient use of other new technologies (AI. VR.AR, blockchain).
Out of the global pandemic, we have seen the emphasized need for reliable, robust networks. The benefits of these critical networks to other sectors and parts of society far outweigh any potential increases in their own network energy use.
Circular practices and solutions
Around 50% of global emissions come from the global production of materials and less than 10% of materials are treated as circular. Increasing circular practices and reducing waste are therefore critical to combating climate change. For 25 years, we have had well-established circular practices that utilize the full value of our products. We look at circularity from two perspectives: firstly, how can we increase the usage of non-virgin materials in creation of new products, and secondly, how can we ensure maximum circularity of our operational value chain. This means that we embed circularity into everything we do.
Read the article Embracing circularity for a sustainable future
Products and services
We take back or acquire excess and obsolete products from customers and markets, and then repair, refurbish these units for inclusion in the product supply chain for customer purchase or our own internal use. Products that cannot be reused are sent to recycling to Nokia authorized facilities, to generate raw material for another application or industry.
From design stage, we are also working to increase the use of recycled material content in our products. For example, we have worked with our suppliers of cast aluminum parts to fully understand raw material acquisition practices and the potential to increase the recycled content in our components. We estimate that 72% of the 28 000 tons of cast aluminum parts used in Nokia products in 2021 have recycled content in them.
In 2021, we processed 3 980 metric tons of obsolete products and parts (see the graph on this page). Of this material, we reused 55 400 items with a combined weight of 350 metric tons, sent approximately 3 510 metric tons of old telecommunications equipment for energy and materials recovery.
Substances and minerals
Our products are comprised predominantly of metals which constitute more than 75% of the total weight in most products. Aluminum is the most significant metal, which is used in sheet metal for cabinets and chassis, and in castings for heat sinks. Plastics only comprise about 10% of our products by weight. We published an academic paper in the Going Green Eco Design conference in December to explain the material content of a 5G product in detail together with the development needed to minimize the environmental impact of the telecom product from a materials usage perspective.
Our products, including original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) product parts, modules and components must meet the requirements stated in the Nokia Substance List (NSL).
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
Compliance with relevant environmental regulations is an important part of our environmental policy. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulatory programs strive to decrease the environmental impact of covered products by making the manufacturer responsible for the entire life cycle of the product, especially end-of-life (EOL) management through product takeback.
As EPR regulations evolve globally, we continued our work on increasing product value recovery at end of life. Based on the Recycling and Reuse Metric that we pioneered with the iNEMI organization, we are now better able to evaluate new product designs with an eye towards improving materials choice, ease of parts and materials liberation, and available recovery technology in countries where the products are sold.
An example of a country compliance scheme is how Nokia complies with Ontario’s new individual producer responsibility regulatory framework, which became effective in early 2021. Read more here.
We have implemented waste reduction, reuse, and recycling programs across our operations. We recycled, reused or recovered energy from 80% percent of all waste (81% percent in 2020). Key components of operational waste from our facilities include cardboard (15%), metal (21%) and wood (17%)
All electronic waste generated in our facilities or operations, including Asset Recovery, can only be shipped to processing facilities that have gone through our Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) Liability Assessment. The requirements for the HSE liability assessment vary based on risk, which is dependent on waste quantity, shipment frequency, waste type/toxicity, waste treatment technology, environmental management systems, location, legal requirements and prior assessments. Our goal is to maintain the minimum number of approved waste processing facilities needed to meet required services and minimize environmental liability. In 2021, we completed 15 HSE liability assessments of e-waste recycling facilities located in Italy, India, Saudi Arabia, USA, Mexico, Slovakia, Hungary, Egypt and UAE. These assessments were conducted as desktop studies as site visits were not possible due to pandemic restrictions.
We aim to save space, reduce packaging materials and maximize transport efficiency, thereby reducing inbound and outbound shipments. The reuse of packaging materials also contributes to reductions in CO2 emissions from deliveries.
Fixed networks are moving towards 100% eco-packaging. Nokia Beacon product packaging today includes cardboard boxing and a bio-degradable bag (no plastic). We have replaced the traditional packaging foam with flexible cardboard packaging and reduced the size of the whole package by 50%. The packaging has been designed for recyclability and disposal. Learn more about Fixed Networks’ journey to 100% eco packaging by watching the video next to the text:
Life cycle assessment (LCA) shows that the predominant amount of water withdrawal results from the generation of electricity used to power our products in our customers’ networks. As our products consume electricity during their relatively long design lifetime (10 to 15 years for many of them), our biggest influence on water withdrawal is to reduce power consumption over the product’s use time, which is part of our science-based targets. Water utilization within our facilities is typically associated with sanitary use, cleaning and landscaping activities.
In 2021, we used 1 200 000 m3 (1 299 000 m3 in 2020) of water in our facilities, a reduction of 8% compared to 2020. Total water withdrawal was 1 182 000 m3 which is less than the total water consumption as 1.5% of the withdrawn water was recycled. The reduction of water consumption is mostly explained by the fact that most of our employees were working remotely for the majority of 2021 due to COVID-19. We continuously look to improve our performance in water management and our focus in 2022 will be on facilities in countries identified as being under extremely high and high baseline water stress.
Our Science Based Target includes reducing our emissions across our operations by 50% from 2019 to 2030. This reset target enables us to contribute to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. We work to reduce where possible the energy use across our facilities and increase the use of renewable energy to power our offices, labs and other facilities. In 2021, our Real Estate team maintained its focus on developing and delivering energy efficient facilities in-line with our overall company goals and science-based targets (SBTs).
In 2021, purchased electricity consumption across our facilities didn't change compared to 2020. 53% of total purchased electricity was associated with renewable sources (39% in 2020) and our Scope 2 emissions decreased by 15% from 2020 levels.
In late 2021 we confirmed our aim to use 100% renewable electricity by 2025 across our facilities (including offices, laboratories and our own final assembly factories), and in early 2022 we joined the RE100 initiative.
As part of the own operations emission targets we are working on fleet emission reductions, including both our company car fleet and our marine fleet. In addition to electrified options 12% of our car fleet in Finland consist of gas cars which use biogas.
We require all suppliers, except those with very low environmental impact, to have a documented Environmental Management System (EMS) in place. We require and track that key suppliers and those with greater impacts are certified to ISO 14001. We create environmental improvement programs together to drive improvements in our upstream Scope 3 emissions through the CDP Supply Chain Climate Program.
We have detailed key performance indicators and public global targets related to sourcing activities, including new supply chain climate targets as part of our 1.5°C climate commitment. We have agreed with our key final assembly suppliers that they should achieve net zero emissions by 2030 for the portion of their manufacturing allocated to Nokia. In 2021 we continued working with our final assembly partners on the development of their 2030 roadmaps. All suppliers delivered factory level detailed roadmaps.
Besides meeting the requirements stated in the Nokia Substance List (NSL), suppliers product documentation must also provide us with a list of any EU REACH candidate substance of very high concern present in a product. Furthermore, products, parts, modules, and components must not contain any substance listed as To be Avoided in our Substance List to the extent technically and economically possible. See more on restricted substances in our REACH declaration.
In 2021 we expanded our work on aluminum content in our products to look at the closed loop development for gold used in the products. We started working with our electronics waste recyclers in determining the destination of gold from our obsolete products and matching those companies with the ones that our suppliers use for gold purchases to close the loop. We plan to expand our program to cover copper in the next phase.
Substances & minerals
We aim to contribute to a long-term solution to the issue of conflict minerals that ensures responsible and conflict-free sourcing via legitimate trade that brings sustainable improvements in those countries where the risks are greatest. We demand that our suppliers commit to sourcing these key materials from environmentally and socially responsible sources. We work with the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and Public Private Alliance to increase impact through industry wide collaboration.
See our Conflict Minerals policy