Our climate is in crisis.
If CO2 emissions continue at the current rate, global temperatures are likely to rise by up to 5°C by the year 2100. The damage to the planet would be irreversible. Sea levels would rise and deserts would spread. Thousands of species would perish. As would countless humans.
We need to act: reducing emissions, making more environmentally responsible choices and transitioning to cleaner energy.
At Nokia, we have been making progress for some time.
In 2017 we were among the first 100 companies in the world to commit to reducing our emissions in line with the landmark Paris climate agreement. This agreement stated that the world needed to limit average rises in temperature to 2°C at the absolute maximum in order to avoid irreversible catastrophe.
To do this, we said that we would reduce the CO2 emissions of our products by 75% before 2030, alongside a 41% reduction in operational CO2.
But now we know this isn’t enough.
The scientific consensus has moved on. That 2° limit has now become 1.5°.
Businesses must set an example.
That is why Nokia’s aims have moved on too.
We are speeding up our commitments and re-calculating our emissions targets to be in line with that new 1.5° limit.
Based on that fact, Nokia is prioritizing practices, products and services that minimize negative environmental impact and maximize the efficient use of resources, both for us and for our customers.
In other words, we are committing to doing all we can to meet that 1.5° limit.
Our efforts span several areas.
First of all, our entire purpose as a company is to provide connectivity to our customers. This is priority number one for our performance and for our green credentials.
5G, the next generation of mobile connectivity, will help. It is “natively green,” meaning it is naturally more efficient than previous generations. For example, its “lean carrier” feature improves spectral efficiency, meaning energy consumption per bit is reduced by up to 60% compared to 4G.
Elsewhere, we are making our products and solutions more efficient than they have ever been, decreasing both energy bills and carbon emissions.
One example is our ReefShark chipset, which can reduce the power consumption of base stations by up to 64% while simultaneously improving performance. Another is our unique liquid cooling system, which can reduce a base station’s CO2 emissions by up to 80%. Both ReefShark and the liquid cooling system are unique to Nokia.
What’s more, all our products are being made smaller (meaning they use fewer raw materials to manufacture) and easier to recycle, upgrade and repair.
Second, there are the knock-on benefits of our products, which will increase the efficiency of the products and services of others through digitalization, automation and analytics.
For example, a digitalized factory might utilize predictive maintenance (which extends the lifespan of machinery), on-demand manufacturing (which ensures that the factory only makes what’s needed, with no wasted stock) and fleets of smart vehicles (which always take the fastest route, meaning lower emissions).
Third, our products are increasingly useful specifically for environmental purposes.
In fact, 5G – with its greatly increased capacity, reliability and responsiveness – provides an opportunity to position connectivity on the very front line of sustainability.
For example, embedding sensors in agricultural land would allow farmers to improve their soil quality, leading to improved crop yields and reduced waste. And fleets of 5G-connected drones with computer-vision technology could monitor the environmental conditions of oceans, identifying pollution and plastic waste or locating oil leaks.
Finally, looking at ourselves and our own practices, we know that we can run Nokia in a more environmentally responsible way.
We are improving our virtual meeting tools and our e-learning resources, allowing people to spend less time traveling. We are already making progress here: last year we reduced air travel emissions by 16% while increasing virtual meeting hours by 14%.
These four priority areas should drastically decrease the carbon footprint both of Nokia and of our customers.
But with our commitment we call for collaboration.
Pressure groups, businesses, even governments cannot conquer this climate crisis alone. We need to work together. Strategically. Focusing our efforts not only on quick wins but on major structural priorities that will allow us to rapidly improve productivity and reduce waste.
It is my view that digitalization and better connectivity should be one of those priorities. We have already seen that it can unlock major environmental efficiencies across industries and society. In fact, research shows that information and communications technology (ICT), including connectivity, could enable a 20% reduction of global CO2 emissions by 2030.
Every CEO, every procurer, every legislator and every consumer should consider how digitalization could contribute to keeping global temperature rises under that 1.5° figure. Governments in particular must commit to clear, long-term policies that encourage more businesses to do what Nokia has done and embrace a greener future.
There isn’t much time. The climate crisis is real. But so are the weapons to fight it.
Let’s start digitalizing our way to a better, cleaner, safer planet.
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