That’s according to the company’s annual Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility report, released this week.

Ericsson set the target in 2012 to maintain 2011 carbon emission levels up to 2017 by improving the energy efficiency of company buildings, increasing the use of green power, shifting freight transport from air to land, and reducing business travel by increasing the use of video conferencing.

The Swedish multinational says it takes a life-cycle approach to environmental management that focuses on three key areas; reducing its own environmental impact, reducing the impact of its products, and enabling ICT solutions for a low-carbon economy.

Carbon offsetting

One of the ways Ericsson is lowering its carbon footprint is by offsetting its emissions. In 2014, Ericsson strengthened its focus on providing solutions to help the utility and transport sectors of the economy to offset its own carbon emissions.

It set a target for 2015 to reduce societal carbon emissions by a factor of two in relation to carbon emissions from Ericsson’s own activities in 2014, by implementing ICT-enabled solutions such as smart meters and smart transport solutions.

The company sees ‘huge potential’ for the ICT sector to drive the transformation to a low-carbon economy by providing solutions that reduce global GHG emissions in other sectors. It sees the use of ICT as having the potential to reduce global GHG emissions by approximately one sixth.

Ericsson says its most significant environmental impact is the energy use of its products. It says the ICT sector is responsible for 1.3% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, expected to rise to no more than 2% of total GHG emissions in 2020.

Later this year, Ericsson is launching the new Ericsson Radio System which will provide a 50% improvement in energy efficiency, while providing the increasing energy consumption required to meet the growing demands for data.

Overly optomistic

The company also provides a successful free World wide e-waste programme that has recycled mobiles in 107 countries across the globe, recycling 98% of materials within the products. However, Ericsson has more than halved its collection target having missed its 2014 target of 17% take-back. The company said the target was ‘overly optimistic’ and set a lower goal of 9% global commitment average for 2015.

Recovering value for electronic waste has been a hot-button topic in the last few months, with the Green Alliance detailing six ways in which manufacturers could reduce the vast environmental footprint of consumer electronics.

“Our ambition to be a responsible and relevant driver of positive change in the Networked Society starts with conducting business responsibly,” said Ericsson’s vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility Elaine Weidman-Grunewald. “Each year brings new challenges and opportunities, but sustainability and corporate responsibility have become an integral part of our mindset and identity, and the impact we want to have on the world.

“By working in partnership on a range of sustainable development challenges, we develop a true understanding of the trade-offs and impacts our business has in the world. With this insight and our commitment to technology for good, we can be positive change-makers in the Networked Society.”

Lucinda Dann

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