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Nokia Siemens Sustainability Report: Water Use Drops 22%

Data networking and telecommunications equipment company Nokia Siemens Networks reduced its water usage by 22 percent between 2010 and 2011, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report.

In 2011 the company, which is a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens, used 597,093 m3 of water, down from 774,521 m3 in 2010. The reduction represents a continuous downward trend for the company, whose water use was 800,000 m3 in 2009.

Nokia Siemens Networks says that the company achieved a “major reduction” in its water use in west and southern Europe, but that the reduction was largely offset by a “significant increase” in the water use of its China-based operations. These two regions combined represent over 60 percent of the company’s overall water use, the report says.

The water reduction news follows similar results by one of NSN’s parent companies. In June, Nokia announced that its water intake dropped by just over 9 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 1.4 million cubic meters to 1.3 million cubic meters, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report.

NSN’s energy use rose 4 percent year-on-year due to the company’s purchase of Motorola. If energy use from Motorola is taken out of the equation, the company’s absolute energy use dropped by around 6.5 percent, from 518 GWh in 2010 to 483 GWh in 2011 (see graph, below).

Since the launch of its energy efficiency program in 2009, NSN has implemented about 200 energy conservation measures in its factories, test labs and office buildings. In 2011, the firm conducted 24 site assessments and implemented over 50 new energy savings projects, taking the program’s total savings to 25,314 MWh, the report says.

NSN’s investment criteria for such upgrades insist that projects have a payback period of less than a year. Examples include harnessing “free cooling” for the ventilation at NSN’s Suzhou and Shanghai, China, facilities and upgrading the lighting system at the company’s Oulu, Finland, site.

An audit at a test lab on the Tampere, Finland, campus found potential energy savings of 2,850 MWh a year – equal to about 10 percent of the site’s electricity consumption in 2010.

The company’s normalized carbon footprint, which it measures both as CO2 divided by net sales and CO2 per employee, stayed fairly static year-on-year at 20 grams of CO2 per Euro of sales and 3.3 tonnes per employee.

The Motorola takeover also reduced the proportion of the company’s energy that comes from renewable sources. In 2010 50 percent of NSN’s energy came from renewable sources. In 2011, following the Motorola purchase, that proportion dropped to 42 percent. However, the acquisition cannot be blamed for the entire decrease in renewable usage: when Motorola’s figures are taken out, NSN’s 2011 renewable energy use accounts for 47 percent of its total energy use. The report says that NSN purchases renewable energy from Germany, Finland, and the UK. The firm has a commitment to purchase an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 MWh of certified e-GREEN energy in the US.

An increase in the number of sites from which NSN collects waste figures – from 69 in 2010 to 103 in 2011 – resulted in a 24 percent increase in the company’s total waste figure. NSN says that the increase in the number of facilities reporting means this metric is not comparable with previous years. Despite the increased reporting, the proportion of waste not reused, recycled or used to generate energy remained less than a fifth of the total, the report says.

NSN says that relatively simple improvements in waste collection can make a big difference in the amount of waste that it sends to landfill. The company’s Oulu, Finland, site diverted 96 percent of its waste from landfill in 2011 by raising awareness among employees and providing bins for each kind of waste. Separate waste streams at the site include “energy waste,” which includes items that can be burned for energy, such as foam rubber, plastic packaging and paper or cardboard that is too dirty to be recycled, the report says.

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