Creating the future: maximizing our handprint and minimizing our footprint
The Bonn climate change conference concludes today: a series of meetings, events and negotiations between the 5th and 15th of June designed to lay the foundations for COP28 later this year in Dubai. The world is on a short path leading to COP28 and all eyes are on the Global Stocktake, a process for countries and stakeholders to see where they’re collectively making progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change – and where they’re not. Many consider it as a moment for course correction.
Decoupling energy growth and traffic growth is critical
For the communications industry, that moment of course correction, and acceleration, may have arrived. Network traffic growth is projected to grow 4x-9x through 2030 and the industry therefore needs to decouple the energy growth required to enable that traffic. There is a need for:
- Rapid modernization of networks: Communication Service Providers (CSP’s) across the world have been on a journey to modernize their mobile, transport, fixed, IP and optical networks to newer generations of technology. This must accelerate, and governments need to identify suitable incentives to move towards energy efficient network infrastructure.
- Innovation in energy efficient products: At Nokia we aim to be the leader in energy efficiency in silicon, software, and systems. Our recent announcement of 5G Massive MIMO - Habrok that reduces energy consumption by over 30%, the new generation optical chipset – PSE-6s that reduces energy consumption by 40% compared to previous generation or the latest energy efficient site solutions are real strides in this direction.
- Emission factor and grid decarbonization: Reducing the CO2 emissions of the electricity used in CSP networks will drive the reduction of GHG emissions overall. There is a strong momentum in the telco industry for a lighter network infrastructure footprint as well as a move to renewable energy sources. This must accelerate. The RE100 initiative, of which Nokia and some of our CSP customers are part of, is a great way forward.
Information and communications networks (ICT) create about 2% of global emissions and telcos are accountable for 4% of global emissions. Hence reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within our own operations in this industry are the first step. At Nokia we are committed to support these efforts by minimizing our footprint – our negative impact through our own activities as a company. We have set our key greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Our target is to reduce our GHG emissions by 50% between 2019 and 2030 across our value chain (Scope 1, 2 and 3). We also set other short, medium, and long-term targets in specific areas of our operations and value chain to drive concrete actions that support and accelerate the achievement of our targets.
Our target is to have 100% renewable electricity across our own facilities by 2025. An ambitious target, but well on track, and aligned with the RE100 initiative which we joined in 20221. We have also agreed a target with our main final assembly suppliers to reach zero GHG emissions by 2030 for the portion of their manufacturing attributed to Nokia. Furthermore, we continue to advocate for greater uptake of decarbonized electricity, and we encourage the use of more sustainable fuels by our logistics service providers.
A significant portion of GHG emissions in the communications industry is in Scope 3 emissions, i.e.: emissions that companies are indirectly responsible for within their value chain – upstream or downstream. Nokia’s ambition is to reduce its Scope 3 GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 from a 2019 baseline. While significant work is ahead of us and the rest of the industry, Nokia reduced its scope 3 emissions by 1,180,500 metric tons CO2e in 2022 despite increasing the sale of its products which, in the absence of innovation in better energy efficient products would have caused higher CO2 emissions. To really move the needle, we believe that everyone in the communications industry coming together and driving emission reductions in our value chain will be key.
Maximizing our handprint
In addition to minimizing the environmental footprint of our operations and technology use, our technology solutions make asset intensive industries more efficient, helping minimize waste and enabling greater reuse of precious resources and materials. These benefits represent the positive impact - the handprint - of digitalization and connectivity. At COP 26, our CEO Pekka Lundmark outlined that only 30% of the world’s economy is currently digitalized, and we must now work to connect the remaining 70% to ensure the world can reach net zero. In fact, we believe that there is no green without digital.
To give you just one example, in agriculture, we have been working with partners on precision farming solutions. Precision and vertical farming is the use of 5G, wireless remote monitoring, private networks, digital sensors, and AI-based analytics to minimize pesticide, fertilizer, water and energy use, while also maximizing crop yields. Whether in urban vertical farms in the US or the agricultural fields of India, digitalization beings environmental and productivity benefits. Bell Labs Consulting estimates that if 15-25% of all farms adopted precision farming by 2030, it would lead to:
- An increase in yields by as much as 300 million tons each year
- A reduction in farming costs of up to $100 billion annually
- And reduced water uses by up to 150 billion cubic meters annually.
It is not agriculture alone however where we are working to make a difference. At Nokia we provide solutions for industries and cities that help to enable improved decarbonization, productivity, resource efficiency, and safety. This work has just started.
As the Bonn climate conference organizers have noted “It’s time to double down – on the future we can still create.”
RE100 targets are for the electricity consumption which underlies, according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:
• All Scope 2 emissions associated with purchased electricity; and,
• All Scope 1 emissions associated with the generation of electricity by the company, for the company’s consumption.