Examining our impact on biodiversity
Now, six months after my last blog, on Biodiversity Day, I want to take a moment to talk about Nokia’s position on biodiversity, and what we have been working on since my last post.
In the run up to the COP 15 UN Biodiversity conference I wrote a short blog on biodiversity and geodiversity. COP 15 resulted in the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The main aims of the framework are to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems, and protect indigenous rights. One of the most important measures is to put 30 percent of the planet and 30 percent of degraded ecosystems under protection by 2030.
The importance of biodiversity
Firstly, it is important that you should know that Nokia has a publicly available position paper on both biodiversity and geodiversity. Biodiversity comes from two words: ‘bio’ meaning life and ‘diversity’ meaning variability. Biodiversity encompasses the biotic dimension of natural capital, and it consists of a complex concept addressing three levels of diversity: genes, species, and ecosystems. For geodiversity we mean the earth's minerals, rocks, fossils, soils, sediments, landforms, topography and hydrological features such as rivers and lakes.
Examining our impact
At Nokia we are examining our impact on both biodiversity and geodiversity. This is a journey that began some time ago. Nokia first began turning some of the land that it owned into protected conservation areas in the 1980s. This work began in an archipelago in southern Finland covering a total of 119 hectares of both sea and land, including more than ten natural islands. In 2009, the magnificent 32-hectare marsh area of Harjasuo-Laurinkorpi in Eastern Finland, was protected. In late 2022 we added a fourth conservation area of 5.64 hectares of land that Nokia owns in Rikkisaari, in Northern Finland. The protection of Rikkisaari took place under the Finnish government’s gift of nature campaign, through which the Finnish government protected a matched area corresponding to 5.64 hectares of land. After the protection of Rikkisaari, the total area of Nokia's nature conservation areas increases to 157 hectares which works out at the equivalent of 112 football fields.
Separately, we are working with our customers on their own biodiversity journey. A good local example that I can give is our work with Telia, the Nordic and Baltic telecommunications operator with a presence in my home country of Finland. Together with Telia we launched an initiative to gain additional insights into the biodiversity impacts of Telia’s own operations, the ICT/telecommunications dependencies on nature in the value chain and the broader ICT industry’s role in preventing biodiversity loss.
Telia provides significant network infrastructure in the countries where it operates, and the company follows environmental legal obligations when carrying out construction and maintenance of those sites. In this project, Telia looked at the location and land use of telecommunication masts as well as the measures and materials used for construction. As Telia has a national obligation to maintain network coverage, the company has about 3,700 masts spread across the area of Finland, mostly located in forests and fields already used by people. Individual site sizes are between 100 - 5,000 m2 with infrastructure only impacting limited parts of these areas. The case study showed that Telia already has good measures in place to limit the land area needed for mast construction. Whenever possible, building on land not previously built on is avoided, new masts are made from recycled steel and re-use of existing masts is being tested when the location needs to be changed. Moreover, the lifetime of one telecommunication mast is long, up to 40 to 50 years, so rarely replaced once built, which also limits the negative impacts on biodiversity.
Ultimately, biodiversity and geodiversity topics will continue to grow in importance for both us and our customers. They are also critical elements of our planets health and we at Nokia are looking to understand our effect and our role in both.