ICT a catalyst for more sustainable development
Date: Fri, 04/15/2011 - 19:12 Source: Ericsson press department
Ericsson believes that the transformational power of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to spur socio-economic development and put us on the path of a low-carbon economy has never been greater. "As a catalyst for more sustainable development, we have only begun to tap the possibilities of the Networked Society," says Ericsson President and CEO, Hans Vestberg.
Ericsson's annual Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility report titled "Technology for Good", released today, highlights the company's ongoing efforts to apply innovation to market based solutions that empower people and society that will help create a more sustainable world.
Ericsson continues to be a global advocate for the transformational power of ICT solutions to solve global energy, environmental and social challenges. "The Networked Society brings many opportunities and challenges. Wherever and however we work, we want to ensure that we are a force for good, and that our technology contributes to making the world a better place," says Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President for Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility.
Some of Ericsson's focus areas and initiatives highlighted in the report are:
In order to achieve a low-carbon economy, Ericsson's aim is to continue delivering solutions that will result not in incremental but rather transformative change: where video conferencing substitutes business air travel, intelligent utility grids reinvent how we access and use energy, and cities are designed to be low-carbon.
- The ambition of the Stockholm Royal Seaport project is to reach CO2 emissions per inhabitant of 1.5 tonnes per year by 2020, compared to current average emissions of 5.6 tonnes in Sweden and 19.7 tonnes in the United States. Broadband will be a key enabler to reaching this goal.
Reducing networks' environmental impact
As data traffic grows, the ICT industry needs to increase network energy efficiency to reduce its contribution to global CO2 emissions. Absolute energy consumption is expected to increase over the next ten years, primarily due to adding approximately three times the number of subscribers and about a thousand fold increase in data growth. However, our research indicates that network energy consumption is not on the same growth path as the increase in volume of traffic. Instead, there has been an impressive decrease of energy needed to produce the data traffic (kWh/GB), due to technology and product improvements, in combination with increasing data rates of 3G/WCDMA technologies. In Sweden, for example, we have seen a 90-fold decrease in energy consumption per amount of data (in kWh/GB) over just four years (2006-2010).Reducing our own environmental impact and that of our products is an important part of Ericsson's sustainability focus. Ericsson is on track with the Group target to reduce its carbon footprint by 40 percent over five years (2009-2013).
- Launch of Ericsson AIR, an antenna integrated radio unit that has been shown to reduce power consumption by 42 percent.
- Our Network Energy Optimization (NEO) service helps operators to maximize subscriber traffic while at the same time reducing energy consumption.
Communication for All
The report also reflects Ericsson's focus on enabling communications for all, including the 4 billion people living at the base of the pyramid. The company will continue our efforts to use technology to help meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
- To this end, Hans Vestberg joined the Broadband Commission for Digital Development which delivered recommendations to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to accelerate the attainment of the MDGs by 2015 in the report "A 2010 Leadership Imperative: The Future Built on Broadband." Ericsson is now leading the Climate Change Working Group of the Broadband Commission.
- Ericsson, the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Millennium Promise have founded a global education initiative Connect To Learn in 2010. The initiative uses ICT to enable access to a secondary education. Through new investments and working in public-private partnership, we delivered PC as a Service, which lowers costs for schools, reduces complexity for teachers and promotes a new business for mobile operators. Connect to Learn began in Africa and we expect it to expand to other continents during 2011.
- Ericsson joined with Refugees United to develop and deploy a mobile phone application so refugees can register to search for and connect with loved ones via an anonymous database. According to the UNHCR, 3 million people in East Africa alone could benefit from the service.
- In 2010, Ericsson Response was recognized for 10 years of service by our partners. Since 2000, Ericsson volunteers from all regions of the world, have been trained and deployed in various disaster relief operations. In 2010, 19 volunteers were deployed to Haiti to assist, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and other organizations in communications operations.
The report also emphasizes Ericsson's strong commitment to business ethics. This was further strengthened by the appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer to focus on Ericsson's anti-corruption program and other issues.