The 'decarbonization' challenge

The industrial decarbonization challenge

Helping industries with their journey to Net Zero

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Decarbonizing industries is vital if we are going to keep global average temperature 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. Ericsson Research has shown that by 2030 digital technologies could reduce greenhouse gas emissions across industries by 15 percent. ​ In this case-study, we look at the impact of combining connectivity with Edge AI, to help reduce energy & CO2 emissions for the buildings management sector. ​

Saving energy & CO2 emissions for buildings

This study shows how connectivity and AI enabled savings covering 356 residential apartment buildings in Sweden and Finland. Covering a total space of 1.5 million sqm, the results show an average of c.17.3 million kiloWatts (7%) net energy and 1 ktonne of carbon emission savings. This minimal effort solution, in comparison to other energy saving methods, is hugely scalable and very simple to deploy, providing us with the time to focus on other pressing sustainability issues.  


Connected building energy management

Why a new case-study to cut heating emissions takes us closer to Net Zero industries?

Read our lastest blog from Mats Pellback Scharp, Head of Sustainability at Ericsson & Viktor Vitell, CMO from Kiona – where we explore how a new case-study to cut heating emissions became a standards bearer for Net Zero industries

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MIT Technology Review report

Energy, manufacturing, and transportation sectors are among the biggest carbon emitters globally. Overall, energy use is responsible for about two thirds of GHG emissions, including both the sectors’ own emissions and energy consumed for other sectors, according to the Exponential Roadmap. This is made up of 32 gigatons (Gt) of annual CO2 emissions, plus 3.3 Gt of CO2 equivalent emissions (CO2e) from other greenhouse gases. The manufacturing sector is responsible for 17 Gt CO2e annually, which represents 32% of the global total, and transport-related emissions total 8.6 Gt CO2e per year, which represents 16% of the global total. Decarbonization in these sectors would have a substantial impact in meeting the goals of the Paris agreement, keeping global average temperature 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

This whitepaper, “Decarbonizing industries with connectivity & 5G,” argues that the capabilities enabled by broadband cellular connectivity primarily, though not exclusively, through 5G network infrastructure are a unique, powerful and immediate enabler of carbon reduction efforts, and have the potential to create a transformational acceleration of decarbonization efforts, as increasingly interconnected supply chains, transportation, and energy networks share data to increase efficiency and productivity, hence optimizing systems for lower carbon emissions.

Uncover the opportunities that 5G can unleash for your industry


Electricity and energy supply

The Exponential Roadmap estimates that adopting solar and wind energy could contribute nearly half of emissions reductions required by 2030.

However, increased dependence on solar and wind sources also creates management and operational challenges for electricity producers. One is the growing risk of network disturbances, as renewable power generation is variable and uncertain. Electricity is also difficult to store, meaning power companies must carefully balance generation and consumption, a process which unpredictable renewables further complicate. A third challenge is that renewable energy generation sources are often small and widely dispersed, which puts pressure on load balancing and energy planning efforts—increasingly so as growing numbers of homeowners install solar panels and look to sell their excess generation back to the grid.

Better data management, enhancements to energy storage, and distribution management systems help address these issues. 5G technologies in particular will, in turn, be a critical tool in enhancing edge connectivity, as they provide higher levels of reconfigurability for power grids, allowing local networks to work separately from the main network, and help renewable energy installations operate more dynamically and efficiently.



The Exponential Roadmap estimates that material reuse and recycling could make the single biggest impact on carbon emissions reduction in the manufacturing sector, potentially accounting for nearly half of emissions reductions by 2030.

Cellular-connected production management systems and internet of things (IoT) tracking could also play a significant role. Manufacturers and producers are already leveraging these systems: more efficient temperature and humidity control in factories and warehouses can reduce electricity consumption, lessen inventory wastage, and extend the shelf life of sensitive materials such as prepared food, vaccines, or microprocessors.

5G connectivity combined with the latest technology can produce significant efficiency gains on the manufacturing floor as well as collaboration across different industries.



Much like the energy sector, the operational structure of the transportation industry closely emulates that of a communication network. The economic success of each depends on the efficient conveyance of units of value (of vehicles, people, and goods in the case of transportation, or of data in the communications sector) across shared infrastructure resources (be it road, rail, or cellular networks). The synergies that result from collectively and systematically integrating transportation and communication networks—such as telematics, smart city analytics, and traffic management solutions—can quickly lead to efficiencies that reduce emissions.

“The transportation world will soon be ubiquitously connected, electrified, and autonomous,” says Tony Sandberg, director of e-mobility for the Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania Group. These trends, in turn, will cause an entire ecosystem of connectivity to grow around transportation industry participants, says Tony Sandberg, Director of E-Mobility, Scania.

Digitalization as an enabler - Ericsson UnBoxed Office Social Series

Join our Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Stella Medlicott as we unravel how 5G is critical for the future, and listen to MIT Technology Review’s Ross O’Brien who will share the findings from his latest qualitative research on decarbonizing industries through connectivity.

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