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Environmental and energy efficiency of our product portfolio

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We are committed to protecting the environment and to mitigating climate change by making the products we deliver to our customers more efficient in how they are made and how they operate. We do this by designing for the environment or DfE. Our DfE mission is clear and simple: to innovate technologies that ensure that we develop environmentally sustainable products.

In 2017, we became the first telecommunications vendor to sign the commitment letter and submit our emissions reduction targets to the Science Based Targets Initiative. The targets were formally accepted in June 2017. The science based methodology and procedures help us establish and better align our energy usage goals and KPIs with climate science. Read more about the Science Based Targets Initiative.

In terms of our products, the long-term Science Based Target for 2030 (baseline 2014) is to reduce by 75% our Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions caused by the emissions from customer use of our sold products. 

Data traffic continues to grow exponentially as demand for existing and new communications services grows. As more people and things become connected, it is imperative that we provide our customers with technology and solutions that help them deliver on this capacity demand in a sustainable way.
 

Zero emissions

For mobile service providers most of their carbon emissions come from the radio access network. Our AirScale radio base station solution (BTS) spearheads our commitment to helping our customers build a sustainable business supported by a zero emissions network. Innovative hardware and intelligent software cut base station energy consumption. The combination of greater energy efficiency and the use of more renewable energy sources provides the potential to reach a zero emissions base station site.

According to life-cycle assessment, the use phase accounts for the majority of the global warming potential caused by our typical products. 

In 2017, the customer base-station sites we modernized used on average 44% less energy than those where our customers did not modernize. This reduces the environmental impact from electricity consumption and is directly reflected as reduced costs for our customers, and a reduced carbon footprint. 

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Our AirScale BTS deliveries reached 23% of all our BTS deliveries, and we expect to reach over 70% in 2018. This is expected to yield higher energy efficiency gains from modernization in 2018, and to compensate to a greater extent the potential power consumption increase from commercial 5G roll outs. Our new AirScale multiband radios consume up to 28% less power during busy hours compared to single band radios with average (24H ETSI) reduction typically between 10-20%.

Modernization drives an 84% reduction in base station energy consumption in China

Does adding radio capacity to handle more network traffic always lead to rising operational costs?

It’s a question many operators confront. As 4G captures the attention of more and more people (and machines), traffic demand is inevitably rising. Operators face a cost crunch – revenue not keeping pace with OPEX.

A big part of the operating costs of radio networks is the energy they use. Saving a few percent is always worthwhile. Saving 84% of energy spend would be much, much better.

That was the achievement of China Unicom as it sought a solution to allow rapid rollout of a 4G network in Hunan province. The key to the achievement was Nokia Single RAN Advanced, which allows 2G and 3G sites to be upgraded to 4G within a day. As well as rapid deployment, China Unicom has benefited from capital expenditure 48% lower than conventional solutions, while also seeing an 86% reduction in radio network operational costs.

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We are also working on energy efficiency in other business lines:

To provide smart home services to their consumers, communications service providers need Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) with more powerful chipsets and more functionalities, which also means more power consumption. A new chipset has been implemented in an ONT model that lowers the typical power consumption by 48% and maximum power consumption by 24%.

We offer new fiber access solutions that are 50 % more energy efficient compared to the traditional larger size nodes in areas with smaller population density (rural, semi-rural areas) or small-scale deployments. While our silicon innovation drives other fundamental benefits in system efficiency. Each generation of FP silicon network processor provides unprecedented speed, scale, and functionality while being more energy efficient. Read more about our energy solutions.

Around 80% of a mobile network’s energy is consumed by base station sites, meaning the base station and all related equipment at the site. Up to 50% of that energy consumption drives conventional air cooling systems such as air conditioning and fans. Water can store a thousand times more energy than the same volume of air, which means liquid cooling with water is a much more energy efficient way of cooling base station equipment. And potentially other network equipment. There are also extra potential benefits to re-capture and re-use waste heat from base stations, for example for domestic water and building heating. Read more

We also offer an Asset Recovery Service, including refurbishment, reuse, and recycling of older equipment as part of product lifecycle management. In 2017, through our voluntary programs, we sent around 2 600 metric tons of old telecommunications equipment for materials recovery and we reused approximately 68 000 units. We also began working with other industry leaders through the iNEMI organization to develop a metric that can address the value of components and materials at end of life, their ease of liberation with current and future recycling technologies, and regional market factors in reusing and recycling electronic products. Read more