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Biodiversity: planning, measuring, and managing

Nokia is also a landowner in Finland. These islands in the Baltic Sea archipelago have been protected already 40 years ago. Picture taken from Siuntio, Finland

Nokia is also a landowner in Finland. These islands in the Baltic Sea archipelago have been protected already 40 years ago. Picture taken from Siuntio, Finland

Be part of the plan

Every year on May 22nd, we get to celebrate the diversity of living nature (biodiversity). With biodiversity being an important part of broader discussions on climate and the role that business can play, this year's theme is “Be part of the Plan.” The intent is that “Everyone has a role to play and therefore can Be Part of the Plan”. According to the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) at UNESCO, the main global drivers of biodiversity loss include climate change, over-exploitation of natural resources and changes in land-use. However, the same study also offers hope, indicating that it is not too late to act.

Working with others to measure and manage

At Nokia, we work with our customers, both communication service providers and enterprises, on sustainability topics ranging from energy and materials efficiency to supply chain transparency, human rights and community involvement. Biodiversity is an area of the Environment where we are starting to have more in-depth discussions with our customers. We are looking at what we can do as a company, as well as what we can do with others. A key element in our plans will always involve data - measuring and managing the resources at our disposal from the materials that go into our products to the emissions that go with them. That data focus has extended to our work on biodiversity. At the end of last year, we announced our funding and collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä in their work to make biodiversity measurable and more easily understandable for businesses.

We have also participated in the SBTN initiative organized by the UN Global Compact, aimed at opening up new pathways for companies to measure biodiversity and set measurable goals. Measuring biodiversity in a credible and standardized manner is crucial and deserves significant attention in the future to help prevent everyone trying to reinvent the wheel in their own way.

Examining our own actions, materials and targets

We will continue to work with others on these complex problems but that doesn’t stop us looking internally at what we can do as a company. As a proud Finnish company – and landowner - we have announced the expansion of our nature reserve program to two new areas, one covering 71 hectares in the sensitive nature of northern Finland and another 14-hectare area in Southern Finland near Nokia's headquarters.

Turning to our own products and services, we look at the design of our products and work with our suppliers to reduce emissions, setting targets across our supply chain. To give just one example, we have conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) with Sphera[1] for a typical 5G radio unit, extending its results for the first time beyond climate to cover numerous other significant drivers for biodiversity, with land use being the most significant. The study provides much-needed information on hotspots where efforts for biodiversity conservation should focus. The LCA results for land use were somewhat surprising, demonstrating that materials made from wood (such as pallets and cartons) constitute the most significant portion of land use, accounting for up to 50 percent of the embodied, manufacturing impact. We expect to see that as we delve deeper in this area, we can expect more questions to come. Where do the trees come from, and has the forest been managed responsibly? What kinds of packaging do we use in our logistics chain, and how can we minimize their impact on nature?


Wood is a crucial protection material for network equipment within global supply chains. Picture taken from Nokia European distribution center from Tilburg, The Netherlands

Further questions on packaging and the reuse of packaging have been something that we have looked at across the company. In 2023, we reduced the use of new packaging materials in terms of weight by 2100 tons by reusing transportation packaging. We have focused on reducing and eliminating plastics from our product packaging and explored alternative ways of using cardboard to make shock-absorbing elements and thus replace the traditional plastic foams. This has successfully been implemented in several Fixed Networks products in 2023 including the Lightspan portfolio, which has 100 percent recyclable packaging. Within our Mobile Networks group, we are focusing on the shift from linear to circular packaging designs and sourcing to make our packaging 100 percent recyclable and increase the use of recycled plastic content. More information can be found in our annual sustainability report, People & Planet.

Looking further ahead, as the IPBES report has shown, climate change is also a significant driver of biodiversity loss. As a company we take this seriously and earlier this year announced a new Net Zero target of 2040. This target will require us to make tough choices in the years ahead as we continue to decarbonize our operations, but data and digitalization are important tools in our toolbox.

As humans, we can shape a better tomorrow. It is crucial that we work together decisively towards this goal.


Our approach | Nokia

Nokia People and Planet 2023 sustainability report


[1] Sphera is a provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and risk management software, data and consulting services focusing on Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability, Operational Risk Management, Product Stewardship and Supply Chain Risk Management.

Pia  Tanskanen

About Pia Tanskanen

Pia is responsible for Nokia’s environmental programs. She has spent over 20 years working in global ICT, for both B2B and B2C. She is passionate about environmental topics, such as #zeroemissions, #tech4climate, #sustainability innovation and value creation, and recycling & circular economy.

Tweet me at @piatanska

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