working with a number of cities to establish broadband as a foundation for a
low carbon economy. In addition to
providing broadband infrastructure, Ericsson is also advising cities on how to
best use ICT technology to reach ambitious carbon-reduction targets. For example, in the Stockholm Royal Seaport
Project (Smart City), Ericsson is working with utilities to establish a smart
grid. Elaine Weidman Grunewald, vice president, Sustainability and Corporate
Responsibility, Ericsson, talks about green initiative of the telecom
infrastructure and solutions major.
As per Smart
2020 report, the ICT industry has set the vision of using ICT solutions to
reduce global business-as-usual carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2020. What
are the main contributions of Ericsson to achieve this target?
working towards delivering on that promise, in ways 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 can be designed to be low-carbon through the
use of broadband. We have published a number of case studies to illustrate the
transformative potential for various solutions that we provide. We see that the
savings potential can be quite large depending on the solution area.
We believe it
is important to raise the awareness of global leaders and policy makers on the
potential of ICT and broadband. We were
very active in supporting the Guadalajara ICT Declaration at both the COP16
climate change negotiations, which outlines how ICT can help abate climate
change, and in the Transformative Step of the Day at COP17. Ericsson’s CEO,
Hans Vestberg, leads the Climate Change Working Group of the Broadband
Commission for Digital Development.
a core contributor to the 2010 Global e-Sustainability Initiative report: “Evaluating the carbon reducing impacts of ICT, an assessment methodology,” helping to create a practical methodology and roadmap for quantifying the
carbon-reducing impacts of ICT solutions. We are also very active in various
standardization for understanding the enabling impact of ICT solutions, and
have published our own white paper Measuring Emissions Right.
In line with
the booming data traffic, carbon emissions will increase. How are you assisting
telecom operators / data centers to reduce carbon emission?
mobile data traffic will increase dramatically, driven primarily by video. This
must not lead to an unsustainable increase in the ICT industry’s energy
footprint. Ericsson puts great emphasis on increasing the energy-efficiency of
our products and in reducing the environmental impact of our operations. We are
on track with our Group target to reduce our carbon footprint intensities by 40
percent over five years from a 2008 baseline. We are also part of a major
European Commission research initiative, the EARTH project, with the aim of
improving energy-efficiency of mobile systems by at least 50 percent.
been studying the relationship between network energy consumption and data
growth for many years, in order to better understand the key mechanisms for
energy consumption in mobile networks. Absolute energy consumption is expected
to increase over the next ten years, primarily due to adding approximately three
times the number of subscribers, and a rapid increase in data growth. However,
our research and analysis shows 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 for 3G/WCDMA technologies.
Ericsson’s approach to green innovation?
Telecom operators face the challenge of meeting rising capacity demands, due
to increased subscriber growth, while at the same time reducing network energy
applies a holistic approach to energy-efficient network design.
and future-proofing is the key. Our networks are designed for
energy-efficiency, increased lifespan, as well as reduced need of maintenance
and site visits, and we also offer sustainability services to operators wishing
to optimize their network energy consumption. Ericsson’s innovative solutions
on node, site and network level are helping to minimize the total energy
required while maximizing traffic delivered (voice calls handled or megabytes
design – Our product cycles focus on more compact and efficient designs that
provide equivalent or better coverage and capacity in a smaller size, consume
less power and generate less heat, which requires less cooling.
modernization – In a typical mobile network up to 90 percent of the energy
consumed in the radio access network (RAN) is from radio base stations, and on
average 80 percent of a mobile operator’s entire energy consumption is used to
power the RAN. Over the years, Ericsson has reduced the power consumption of
our base stations for a given capacity by as much as 85%. At the same time, we
have improved the range of each base station, so fewer sites are needed to
cover a given area.
develop and deploy energy optimization software, for example, through our BTS
power save feature. It is now possible to put parts of a network that are not
in use into “Sleep mode” and when needed again bring them back online.
Network Energy Optimization (NEO)
networks our services include network energy auditing, looking at issues such
as quality, capacity, and coverage to help identify potential energy savings in
the network, data centers and other assets such as offices. We then recommend
solutions, which could include services to improve network and site energy performance,
more efficient equipment, and know-how to deploy alternative energy sources in
the network if possible.
Energy Management, part of our managed services portfolio, allows
operators to maximize energy efficiency and availability across their networks
to achieve the optimum network uptime and operational expenditure (OPEX)
reductions. This may also involve expanding the use of renewable energy, and
implementing more efficient network and site solutions.
What are some
new solution innovations in the “green” area?
Networks can be energy optimized in many ways:
advanced network design; reduced number of sites; site power efficiency;
equipment for climate control, and more efficient hardware models with trunking
gains from higher capacity site configurations. Immediate savings can be made
by implementing energy-reducing software features. But most significant gains
come from network modernization, where the combined effects of improving
installed base stations and hardware modernization can reduce the radio access
network energy consumption by as much as 60 percent. Additional site
modernization will add significant savings.
innovation is the Ericsson AIR (Antenna Integrated Radio) solution, launched in
2011, based on a unique design that integrates the radio unit into the antenna.
Field trials in customer networks demonstrated that the solution provides
reduced power consumption by as much as 40 percent, mainly due to reduced
feeder loss and reduced cooling.
standard RBS 6000 GSM, WCDMA, LTE, CDMA
During 2009-2010 Ericsson introduced the
state-of-the-art multi standard radio base station, RBS 6000, for mobile
networks. The RBS 6000 provides high-capacity and contains both
energy-efficient 2G/GSM equipment along with 3G/WCDMA or 4G/LTE technology.
When spectrum allocations allow, the multi-standard radios can be used
simultaneously for two standards, with additional energy savings of 20-30
Key benefits of the RBS 6000 from an
energy consumption per subscriber
graph shows the efficiency of Ericsson’s base stations, averaged over the
actual deliveries made to our customers. It is measured as the base station
power consumption divided by relevant base station hardware capacity. Included
in the graph are the base station and all major site equipment contributions such
as conversion of incoming AC power supply to base station DC voltage and
shows the power consumption of Ericsson’s outdoor base stations when used for
2G/GSM.The yellow part on the base station
power consumption graph shows the trend toward decreasing power consumption of
the climate unit used to cool the electronics in Ericsson base stations.
Green sites –
Ericsson assists our customers in deploying renewable and hybrid energy
solutions to power their network equipment. This is particularly relevant for
customers operating in regions with poor or no grid access. With solar and
wind, 8o percent or more of diesel can be eliminated.
power – The Ericsson Community Power solution was developed to support the electrification of the world’s
most remote villages and was awarded “Best use of Mobile for Social &
Economic Development” by the GSMA at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
allows subscribers to recharge their mobile phones with excess power generated
from an off-grid base-station site which can be partly or fully powered by
renewable energy sources. In more mature and large-scale deployments, several
sites can be combined to create a minigrid to power services such as
streetlights, clinics and schools for an entire community. It would even be
possible to feed power from the base station into the national power grid which
can help to alleviate power shortages.
In many parts
of the world, much basic infrastructure is lacking, and often there can be more
people with mobile phones than access to electricity. Once connected to the
Ericsson Community Power solution, many rural inhabitants can have access to
electricity in their homes for the first time.
Electric Vehicles – We recently announced a
partnership on electric vehicle charging, which combines use of existing mobile
networks and the electrical grid, a new very exciting area. The solution
consists of having the electricity meter in the vehicle which allows control of
charging, either immediately or on a schedule set by the driver, with the costs
being allocated against the driver’s bill.
Electric vehicles, once they get scale, will have a number of
environmental benefits for society such as the complete elimination of tale
pipe emissions and where possible to use renewable power sourced from the
What are the
new initiatives of Ericsson to promote “green” solutions among the ICT
and solution examples are referenced above.
Also important is to raise awareness among the global community about
the role of ICT, and the relatively small footprint of the mobile industry. We engage actively in standardization, so
that there are methodologies to measure energy consumption and CO2
We also work
on the policy level, where our CEO chairs the Climate Change Working Group of
the Broadband Commission, and where I am a Board member and also Co-chair the
public policy working group of GeSI, the global e-sustainability initiative.
We think that
public policy work is critical. Without
the involvement of government, it will be very difficult to influence consumer
behavior to increase uptake of ICT services and to set society on a more
sustainable development path.
us on the outcome / achievements from your latest sustainability initiatives?
working with a variety of partners to deliver results on shared sustainability
aims, making a difference to the quality of life, and boosting local economies
and local communities. We call this
Technology for Good, and some successes are noted below. We will publish our 2011 Sustainability &
CR Report in early May, and all data and achievements will be reported.
Some of our
recent successful initiatives are as follows:
(Face to Face) in India- This is a project conducted by Ericsson in India
whereby migrants in cities (Delhi) can communicate with their families
(hometowns such as Bihar) by video calling services at PCO’s. Booth operators
supply 3G phones to customers. Such stories are likely to become common in
India as 3G begins to take hold. Among the range of 3G services, video
telephony seems to have particular potential in developing markets such as
India. Large-scale economic migration from rural to urban areas means dispersed
families, and as a result, the technology should find a more immediately
receptive market in India than in the western world.
Learn- Universal school attendance at primary level is a core Millennium
Development Goal. But recent research has shown that there are also critical
issues with access to secondary level education, especially for girls. With
this in mind Ericsson along with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and
Millennium Promise, have founded a global education initiative called Connect
To Learn. This initiative aims to increase access to secondary education
through scholarships, provide quality teaching and learning resources through
broadband connectivity and cloud computing and also provides a global advocacy
platform for the importance of a quality education. Since its inception in 2010
Connect To Learn has deployed an innovative cloud computing solution to over
5,000 students across four African countries. In 2012 thousands more students
will be added in Africa and beyond including projects planned for schools in
Ninhue, Chile and Chennai, India. Ericsson has also partnered with Novatium, a
local Indian company based in Chennai to optimize the use of cloud technology
solutions for schools based around a PC as a Service model where the complexity
of managing ICT solutions is removed from teachers leaving them to focus on
using ICT to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
is a key global focus area, Ericsson has also been active in other regions of
the world using broadband technology to improve the quality of education.
Another example is Brunei where – primary and secondary students from
low-income families in Brunei who lack computers and Internet access at home
now have a world of information available to them at school. For the second
consecutive year, Ericsson and mobile operator DST Communications provided
high-speed mobile broadband access, laptops and routers to 3,000 students at
six schools in Brunei. The project supports the Brunei Ministry of education’s
Mobile teaching & Learning (MobiTEL) program, enabling adoption of web
access and e-learning.
rainbow- For Manila’s street children, their rainbow is a mobile education van
helping them to get off the streets and onto the path of a better life. Called “Bahaghari” by the children, which means “rainbow” in the local language, the
van is equipped with a laptop and broadband access and used to conduct weekly
teaching sessions. Ericsson and Sony-Ericsson together with the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF) began the Mobile education and Child Protection
Program in 2009. Some 200 street children have benefited from the program,
learning vital skills such as how and where to report Incidents of abuse,
exploitation and violence against them and other children, and gaining better
access to social services.
Earns Trust- Being carbon smart at
Ericsson Ltd in the UK earned the company the Carbon trust Standard
certificate in 2010, becoming one of just 400 companies in the UK with that
distinction. Companies are assessed by independent third parties in three
areas: carbon footprint measurement, carbon management, and carbon reduction
performance. The Standard is part of the Carbon trust, a not-for-profit company
helping business and organizations cut carbon emissions, save energy and
commercialize low-carbon technologies.
In order to
achieve the Standard, Ericsson measured the carbon footprint over three years,
and tracked progress in reducing emissions through measures such as
refurbishing offices, introducing new air conditioning systems, updating the
lighting, and improving building management controls. The recognition is spurring
further carbon-saving activities and helps Ericsson fulfill the requirements of
the UK Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment.
What is your
opinion about latest initiatives from GSMA and ITU to support green projects?
The GSMA has
engaged in recent years in several very important initiatives. The Green Power for Mobile initiative is a
powerful program to promote the use of renewables in off grid telecom
areas. Ericsson has been an active
participant of this program for several years.
Mobile Network Energy Efficiency Benchmark (MEE) offers a methodology for
evaluation and comparison of network energy efficiency across a range of
variables. Several mobile operators have
engaged in the program, and it provides a means of benchmarking between
operators, while normalizing for factors such as country, market and technology
factors. Energy consumption can be converted into GHG emissions using country
grid electricity and diesel conversion factors to help the mobile industry to
lower its GHG emissions per connection. MEE now has 35 mobile network operator
participants covering over 200 networks in 145 countries.
Standards- The need for universally
agreed standards for assessing and reporting energy use and GHG emissions by
the ICT sector is clearly needed. We are
very active in the ITU standardization area.
We think that standardization methodologies are crucial in order to be
able to promote best practice, make comparisons, and measure GHG emissions in a
transparent way. Standards should of course aim for maximum interoperability
and preserve openness and transparency.
It should be
noted that the ICT sector is one of the only sectors in the world that
advocates carbon footprinting on a full Life-Cycle basis. Many traditional, “heavy” industries prefer to
measure only their direct emissions, and therefore often under report their
The ITU has
developed a set of new standardized methodologies for assessing the GHG
emissions and energy consumption of ICT, as well as the savings in emissions
that it can deliver in other sectors. This new, single set of global
methodologies, was agreed in September 2011.
Ericsson’s target under “triple bottom line” for the next few years? What are
the new challenges to achieve these goals?
the leading global advocate for Technology for Good. For us, sustainability is
about what we call the “triple bottom line” – long-term social
equity, economic prosperity and environmental performance. We are working actively in all three
areas. For social equity and economic
prosperity, we are focused on our Technology for Good program. Ericsson is committed to ensuring that the
transformative power of communication reaches everyone, even those who remain
the most “un-networked” in our society, the four billion people living at the
base of the pyramid.
environmental performance, we focus on both our own internal operations, the
impact of the networks we deliver, and the proper handling and treatment of
waste. We also look at how broadband can
create the low carbon economy of the future.
What are your
new sustainability strategies for 2012?
has the power to make a positive socio-economic and environment impact, helping
to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, like poverty, human rights
and climate change. Ericsson sees a strong business case for innovative,
sustainability inspired solutions and services, both in developed and
developing markets. This case is expected to strengthen as increased demand
leads to economies of scale.
to accomplish our vision is as follows:
Improve our own
sustainability performance, with focus on reducing our environmental impact
Be the undisputable leader in
energy efficiency and environmental performance
sustainability business opportunities and provide solutions which promote ICT as a catalyst in creating
a low-carbon economy
socio-economic value argumentation and explore business opportunities to shape
lives and enable economic growth to demonstrate Technology for Good
corporate responsibility business risks to secure that Ericsson is the most
trusted partner among our stakeholders