We are at the dawn of a new era. Digital technologies – cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and soon, 5G networks – are changing the way we live and work in countless ways.
Technology and solutions from Nokia will help power this digital future, and we are excited about the possibilities. We also recognize that we have the opportunity as well as responsibility to apply technology in ways that enhance people’s lives and, more broadly, advance humanity.
Today, we continue to focus our social responsibility activities on four key areas: improving lives with technology; protecting the environment; conducting business with integrity; and respecting our people.
As we report our progress in these areas, we generally look to measure ourselves against globally recognized standards. In 2017 we continued to strengthen our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, supporting the UN Global Compact’s principles and assessing our performance against its advanced level principles.
I am also proud to note that last year we became the first telecom vendor to have our science-based emissions targets accepted by the Science Based Targets initiative. We also took a board seat on the Global Network Initiative as part of our efforts to foster discussion around the role of technology in protecting human rights, freedom of expression and privacy.
Improving lives with technology
With the world’s first commercial 5G networks expected to go live this year, the much-anticipated fourth industrial revolution is finally coming into view. With it comes the promise of tremendous productivity gains, economic growth and better quality of life – but we must be diligent about ensuring everyone has access to these opportunities.
Through our investments in communities and our collaborations with charitable organizations worldwide, we focus on using technology to make our world smarter, safer and more sustainable. We launched major collaborations last year that focused on issues such as increasing access to health care, expanding educational opportunities and inspiring women and girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (so-called STEM careers).
A great example is our partnership with UNICEF to support the rollout of an innovative mobile app in Indonesia that delivers critical information to health care providers and those who care for young children. The app has helped increase access to health care and has played a part in the success of the nation’s largest immunization campaign.
Overall, our social investments grew by 36 percent from the previous year and directly reached more than 254 000 people.
Protecting the environment
Energy efficiency is an important focus. Every year we replace or modernize a large number of base-station sites for our customers globally. On average, the upgraded base-station units used 44 percent less energy than the ones they replaced last year. With more than 400 000 sites, that amounts to significant energy savings.
More recent innovations from Nokia Bell Labs hold even greater promise. The Nokia ReefShark chipset, a powerful innovation for 5G and 5G-ready base stations that will be deployed widely later this year, is capable of reducing power consumption in our radio baseband units by more than 60 percent.
Improvements such as these are essential, both for helping our customers manage network operating costs and for mitigating the carbon impact associated with increased network capacity and traffic in the 5G era.
Conducting business with integrity
This People & Planet Report reflects our commitment to maintaining a high degree of transparency in how our work affects the world around us, as well as our far-reaching efforts to ensure we operate in an ethically and socially responsible manner. Alongside the work we do, I believe the depth and transparency of our reporting is a key reason why we have consistently been selected for many of the highest honors in social responsibility. They include being named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute, an organization that advances and measures corporate ethical standards and performance.
It is always our aim to ensure the technologies we provide are used to respect – rather than infringe upon – human rights. In addition to our own code of conduct, which guides our day-to-day business activities, we work with our suppliers, others in the telecom industry and outside organizations to help identify and address threats to, and abuses of, human rights.
As one recent example, we committed to undergo external assessments by the Global Network Initiative to confirm that we continue to make best-faith efforts to implement the GNI Principles, which support privacy and freedom of expression online. We also released our first modern slavery report in 2017, in line with the UK’s Modern Slavery Act.
Respecting our people
We want Nokia to be a great place to work, a company that attracts the best talent around the world, and one in which the culture empowers innovation and individual growth.
As a global company, we value the diversity of our people and promote inclusion for all in the workplace. However, this is one area where we and many in our industry still have much work to do, particularly when it comes to achieving gender balance.
Our ambition is to have a gender balance that reflects the world around us, and a workplace where both men and women have an equal opportunity to succeed in every function and at every level. We are sharply focused on improvements in this area, which include a program to identify 50 women leaders and provide them with additional development opportunities. Our work here is spearheaded by our Gender Balance Steering Committee, which is covered in more detail in this report. In addition, last year I signed a letter of cooperation with UNESCO, committing Nokia to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s leadership.
Overall, our employees’ perceptions of our strategy, work environment and culture have steadily improved over the past two years, as reflected in our internal surveys. We know that we can always do better, and we continue in our efforts to strengthen employee engagement and communication through a variety of channels.
While on the subject of doing better, I also want to express our regret for the five Nokia subcontract workers who lost their lives last year, four in traffic accidents and one as a result of a fall. Despite consistent progress in reducing injuries and fatalities, we believe any serious injury while working for Nokia is unacceptable, and we continue to work hard to ensure those carrying out work on our behalf receive the proper training, equipment and supervision to avoid accidents.
Connecting the world
We like to say Nokia creates the technology to connect the world. But for us, this is much more than a slogan. It is a mission statement, an expression of the intrinsic value that our work creates. It is our core belief that technology’s greatest social benefits stem from its power to make life better, to give people more time and freedom to connect with each other and the things they enjoy.
We are optimistic about the future and the potential of digital technologies to ignite a new era that will not only bring greater business opportunities for our company and others in our industry, but also personal, social and economic benefits for people everywhere.
Nokia President and CEO