Ericsson Reducing Carbon Footprint by 40% per Subscriber

ericsson carbon footprint graph image

Image via Ericsson

Ericsson has set a pretty great goal for itself. It wants to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% per subscriber within the next few years. Last year the company performed life-cycle analyses on its mobile and fixed broadband networks and mobile phones, and determined where it could cut out carbon. It pinpointed some interesting areas, for a mobile networks company. . From the report:

2008 was a milestone year in our efforts to address climate change. A group-level target was set to reduce our carbon footprint by 40 percent over five years, starting with a 10 percent reduction in 2009. Our Co2 calculations include emissions from in-house activities, such as product transport, sites and business travel, as well as the life-cycle impacts of products sold during the year...Ericsson’s unique [Life-Cycle Analysis] approach includes supplier and operator activities, offering a full picture of the value chain, including Co2 emissions during product use, where most of our carbon-related impact lies.

Figuring Out Where to Cut Emissions
Looking at everything from raw material extraction, manufacture, transport, use, disassembly and end-of-life treatment, Ericsson determined that key areas where carbon impact is biggest and can be reduced include shifting from air freight to surface freight, and making products that are more energy efficient, since the company found that a big chunk of emissions occur when their products are in use. For instance, Ericsson notes that telecommuting is growing, and so too, then, is their IT equipment power use.

Carbon Emissions Per Subscriber
Ericsson found that average annual carbon emissions per fixed broadband subscriber equals around 500 kg, including operation and manufacture of PCs and data centers. The company sees itself as having a big influence over about 100 kg of those emissions. So focusing on its own products - especially energy use - and its own systems will help get that footprint per subscriber as low as possible.

A Big, But Accomplishable Goal
The goal to drop emissions by 10% in 2009, and 40% by 2013 is pretty do-able and we give props to the company for taking the steps to identify numbers, areas to improve, ways to improve, and finally taking the steps identified. The entire report is available, and an interesting read, but pages 16-21 specifically outline the carbon footprint analysis if you want to skip to the carbon stuff.

Via Environmental Leader
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