Ericsson Sustainability Report: Direct Carbon Intensity Drops 6%
Direct emissions from telecommunications firm Ericsson’s in-house activities totaled around 0.84 Mtonnes during 2011. This corresponds to a six percent reduction in direct emissions intensity from Ericsson’s activities year-on-year, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report.
Last year, the CO2 emissions associated with the lifetime operation of Ericsson products in operation totaled approximately 24 Mtonnes. This represents a 3 percent reduction in the company’s overall carbon intensity compared to 2010 levels, according to the report.
The company is targeting a 40 percent reduction in CO2 intensity, both from its own activities and from its products in operation, by 2013, when compared to a 2008 baseline. Ericsson is “well on track” to meet these targets, the report says
Since 2007, the carbon intensity of three of Ericsson’s activities, namely transportation, facilities and travel, have all fallen. However, from 2010 to 2011, the intensity of the company’s transportation and facilities rose. The carbon intensity of the company’s travel stayed fairly static year-on-year.
In 2010, carbon emissions from Ericsson’s facilities stood at just over two metric tons of CO2e for every metric ton of product it produced. In 2011 this figure rose to around 2.5 metric tons of CO2e for every metric ton of product it produced. Over that period transportation intensity rose from just under two metric tons of CO2e, to two metric tons of CO2e, per metric ton of product it produced.
Despite this rise Ericsson maintains that it is making progress on intensity of these activities. It is trying to shift its transportation from air travel to ground transportation. Last year saw the company reach its target of delivering 70 percent of its product (by weight) using surface transportation, despite an increase in volume. In 2008, just 40 percent of the company’s product, measured by weight, was delivered by surface transport. In 2012, the company wants to increase this figure to 75 percent (see graph below).
In its facilities Ericsson says it focuses on reducing energy consumption per-head; reducing energy consumption in data centers and test labs; and increasing its purchase of green energy “when practical.”
Ericsson’s absolute electricity usage jumped from 650 GWh in 2010 to 830 GWh in 2011. This was mainly due to an increase in total square footage of building space under the company’s control, the report says.
The company has so far carried out energy audits of 40 percent of its largest facilities. Ericsson has also secured energy efficiency requirements in new leases and installed sub-meters to monitor energy usage.
Over the past three years it has reduced energy consumption from its data centers by more than 30 percent, the report says.
The company’s stated waste goal is to reduce the end-of-life impact of its products while making the process cost0neutral. To achieve this aim Ericsson participates in a number of organizations focused on handing waste electrical and electronic equipment, or WEEE. These organizations include the UN’s Solving the E-waste Problem and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.
Ericsson’s 2011 waste goal was to establish new measurements for equipment put on the market and achieve a 20 percent volume of WEEE take-back when compared to equipment put on the market. Over the course of the year, Ericsson established the new measurement, but it failed to meet its goal of a 20 percent take-back. In 2012 the company is targeting 4.5 percent take-back.
In Ghana a project Ericsson is involved in is advising the government on appropriate e-waste disposal. The project is aimed at cutting waste and lowering the carbon footprint of extracting valuable materials from e-waste, by creating more energy-efficient processes.
In May, Ericsson was one of a group of technology firms expressing dismay at new EPA regulations that would force the companies’ products to undergo third-party testing if they are to bear the Energy Star logo.
The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members include Apple and Sony, called the changes too expensive. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and the Information Technology Industry Council, the latter of which Ericsson belongs to, also criticized the changes. Some of the groups threatened to abandon the Energy Star program if the regulations come into force.
Companies used to be able to test their own products when participating in the EPA’s energy efficiency labeling program.
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