During the 2000s, environmental issues began to be taken seriously on political and financial agendas. Attracting particularly substantial attention were the warnings from researchers that human emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide can affect the Earth's climate.
Eco-friendliness consequently became an increasingly important sales argument due to growing demands from consumers for various goods and services being eco-friendly. And because lower energy consumption even entails lower costs, active environmental management also became an increasingly important competitive advantage.
The IT and telecom industries were already relatively eco-friendly from the start. Measured in carbon dioxide emissions for example, in the year 2000 they accounted for just 0.2 to 0.7 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per million Swedish crowns in sales, which can be compared to 100 tons in the aviation industry and 190 tons for road transports. But nothing is so good that it cannot be improved and Ericsson has therefore successively made its already tough environmental requirements for the company's products and operations even more stringent.
Among the products that Ericsson has made more energy efficient – and thus more eco-friendly – are business phone systems and base stations. And since the technical development has not just led to more energy-efficient products, but even to increased sales and declining average service lives for various technical products, the company has also worked with collection and recycling of mobile phones. Old units have been collected and materials reused as much as possible in the manufacture of new products.
The technical development has also entailed the transformation of entire sectors and that their environmental impact has been more or less significantly reduced. And this applies not the least to the mobile field, where Ericsson has been among the leaders by actively driving technical development forward and making various products less expensive. In China, India and many countries in Africa for example, this development has resulted in many countries in practice being able to omit the expensive and environmentally burdening phase with fixed-line telephone networks, and have instead been able to go directly to expanding mobile networks.
Author: Anders Edwardsson