Skip to main content

Letter from the President and CEO

Businesses have responsibilities.

To customers, of course. To shareholders and investors, absolutely. But also to employees, to society, and to the planet itself.

More and more businesses are realising the importance of these responsibilities. They are making their work more sustainable. But there is a long way to go. Climate change is still happening. Inequality still exists.

I want Nokia to be at the very forefront in addressing these urgent challenges. Not only through the technology we create, but through the values we represent, and the working practices that we employ across the breadth of our operations.

In order to gauge our progress, we benchmark ourselves against the globally-recognised standards of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and assess our performance against the advanced level principles of its Global Compact.

This work is grouped into four areas: improving lives with technology, protecting the environment, conducting business with integrity, and respecting our people, and these activities are underpinned by our collaborations with other key stakeholders.

Improving lives with technology

We create the technology to connect the world. That connection took a huge step forward at the end of 2018 when the first commercial 5G networks went live in the U.S. and Korea.

Greater connectivity will soon usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which promises stellar gains in productivity and economic growth. But not only that: the technology that will revolutionize factories and workplaces will be of equal use in healthcare, in efficient agriculture, in smart power production. In other words, across the entire infrastructure of a healthy and sustainable society.

We are determined that these gains should not just be limited to certain countries or communities. They should be universal benefits.

Crucial to this aspiration is our work with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). For example, in Indonesia we worked with the national Ministry of Health and UNICEF in order to deliver over 23 million vaccinations and 3 million anti-malaria bednets.

The number of people to have directly benefitted from our corporate community investments reached 1.4 million in 2018.

Protecting the environment

Like any type of infrastructure, connectivity can be resource-intensive. But that only makes it more important for companies like Nokia to reduce their environmental impact wherever possible.

We are investing heavily to make our portfolio the most energy efficient in the world. That investment is bearing fruit: our new radio networks use on average over 40% less energy than the ones they replace. And we have developed the world’s first commercially deployed liquid cooled base station, which could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% when emitted heat is circulated around apartment buildings to utilise heat that would otherwise go to waste.

In addition, we have committed to decreasing our emissions from our own operations by 41% by 2030, compared to 2014 figures. We are on track to achieve this. In 2018 our facilities consumed less electricity and water, and emitted less greenhouse gas, than they did in 2017, and we are targeting further reductions in 2019.

Conducting business with integrity

This is the second year running that the Ethisphere Institute has ranked us among the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For us, ethics and integrity are not a ‘nice to have’ but a fundamental part of our business model.

At the core of this is our Code of Conduct, taken as training and acknowledged by every employee. It sets down our ethical business approach and explains how employees, suppliers and other stakeholders should contribute to it.

The Code requires all employees to follow five directives: obey laws and follow policies, be fair and honest, treat each other with respect, declare conflicts of interest and avoid appearance of impropriety, and report any concerns promptly. Alongside other tools, such as our Human Rights Due Diligence and Nokia Supplier Requirements, this allows us to set high standards of transparency, ensure cast-iron data security, mitigate the risks of misuse of technology, and maintain responsible supply chains.

Respecting our people

Telecommunications is a competitive sector. To succeed you not only need the best people – you need the best people to be empowered.

We have done well at this. Anonymous surveys show that our employees value both our culture and the direction of our business. Other metrics are equally pleasing: the number of paid hours that employees spent volunteering more than doubled in 2018. Our work on LGBT+ and diversity is also going well.

But there is still more to do, on gender diversity in particular.

Just 22% of our employees are women. The percentage of female leaders is even lower. This is not good enough and we are taking action to change it.

We run two career development programs for talented women. 35% of those who complete these schemes have moved on to higher level positions. In addition, we provide training for leaders and managers on unconscious bias; almost 1 000 employees received this training in 2018.

We also support Greenhouse – a professional women’s network – and StrongHer – an employee network that aims to create more opportunities for women across Nokia – among other initiatives.

Finally, I regret to say that a Nokia subcontractor lost his life in a fall last year. Any serious incident of this type is unacceptable. We will carry on trying to reduce accidents by providing best-in-class equipment, training and supervision to avoid accidents.

Technology plays a huge and increasing role in all our lives. For us, that means that we have a responsibility to act in a way that benefits people and the planet. Not just through our products and services but through our values.

These values have allowed us to be more ethical, trusted and transparent than ever before. We should all be proud of that – I certainly am, but we will also push forward to be even better.

Warm regards,
Rajeev Suri
Nokia President and CEO