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Connected sustainable world

Sustainability - a key research challenge

Connected sustainable world

The world needs to halve global carbon emissions by 2030, and then again by 2040, and also deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this transformative time, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) provides an important toolbox for building a better, more sustainable future. A key research question is, therefore, how we can minimize their environmental footprint at the same time maximizing the positive effects of current and future mobile networks and other digital technologies. Finding the answers is the main mission for research in this area.

For more than two decades, Ericsson has performed research on the life-cycle environmental impacts of different aspects of ICT.

Our research work, which covers environmental, economic, and social aspects, is often developed in collaboration with academics and other partners and undergoes peer-review as we submit to scientific journals.

Our research insights allow us to contribute to methodology development, international standardization processes and partnerships like the Exponential Roadmap.

Our research has also been instrumental in making 5G the most energy-efficient standard to date.

Sustainability journey with ICT

Sustainability journey with ICT text + image

With the Connected Sustainable World journey, we enter a new phase in our research, where we will further integrate sustainability aspects with our technology research. This integration will be done both for our in-house research projects, and in our research collaborations such as the European Hexa-X project. Hexa-X highlights sustainability as a core value and as an important aspect to be included in both use cases and technology requirements.

The journey is divided into two main parts and aims to cover the technology implication of both:

  • Sustainable ICT, which concerns the sustainability aspects of the technology itself and
  • ICT for sustainability, which looks into the opportunities of the technology to act as a vehicle for sustainability.

In the context of this journey, ICT refers to the technologies used in the mobile communications ecosystem, including emerging technologies such as xR, IoT, and AI, and their impacts across environmental, social, and economic dimensions.

Key research areas

In a Connected Sustainable World, the environmental footprint of ICT technologies has been minimized and these technologies are leveraged to safeguard people and our life-supporting systems.

By doing so, the technology will be established as an important vehicle towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The main dimensions of the technology journey are further divided into five key focus areas for research. Two of these relate to the sustainable development of our technology (Sustainable ICT), and three emphasize the optimization of our technology and its use cases for sustainable purposes (ICT for sustainability). All of the focus areas are essential, interdependent, and need to be addressed in parallel and continuously.

Sustainable ICT

Resource-efficient ICT

deals with minimizing the carbon emissions and the use of energy and materials by the technologies themselves. It is also about preparing technologies for sharing and designing for affordability.

Responsible ICT

is about ethical frameworks and securing human rights but also deals with planetary boundaries and information transparency.

ICT for sustainability

ICT for inclusion

deals with how our technology can be used to empower individuals and focuses on areas that can be addressed, at least partly, at an individual level or on a smaller scale.

ICT for society

is about strengthening society as a whole, including societal systems and institutions such as the economic systems and infrastructures.

ICT for the environment

is about using our technology as a vehicle for the transition to a net-zero society operating within planetary boundaries. It´s about maximizing positive impacts and minimizing adverse effects.

Example use cases

Discover a world of new possibilities

Learn about Ericsson’s vision of "Pioneering a sustainable world"

Imagine climate action with exponential impact. With technology and global collaboration, it’s Possible.

Ericsson is creating a world of limitless connectivity, where mobile technology opens new possibilities to pioneer a sustainable future.

Read the full story

Assessing sustainability impacts

A fundamental aspect to Ericsson’s approach broadly is to base its decisions on research and science – this applies equally to sustainability topics. We carry out peer-reviewed research, both alone and in collaboration with research partners from academia and business, on the environmental, social and economic effects of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), providing facts and insights for the company, the industry and stakeholders.


More about Hexa-X

Learn about the expanded 6G vision, use cases, and societal values – including aspects of sustainability, security, and spectrum.

Sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson

Research is the heart of our sustainability work and we seek to embed sustainability across our operations. We are proud to be named one of the world’s most sustainable companies by the Wall Street Journal.

Learn more