Ambitious climate action without carbon compensation
Ericsson’s sustainability team recently received a proposal from an engaged employee who suggested that we should compensate for the climate impact of our business travel. At Ericsson, we believe that all measures that reduce CO2 are important, and we know that many companies use carbon compensation as part of their efforts to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Also known as carbon offset, the idea is that a reduction in emissions of CO2 or greenhouse gases made in one place compensates for (offsets) an emission made elsewhere. One carbon offset represents the reduction of one tonne of CO2 or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.
Strong focus on absolute impact in climate action
We definitely see the need to take action on carbon pricing and enact measures to establish different ways of capturing carbon. However, in recent years we have investigated a variety of different compensation schemes and found that it is quite difficult to ensure that the compensation has the intended impact. We have also determined that we can reduce absolute impact more by saving than by compensating. As a result, we have chosen to invest in absolute reductions as opposed to compensation. We have thoroughly investigated our own absolute climate impact and identified ways to reduce it, as well as working on the energy performance of our portfolio. While both are important, from a life-cycle impact perspective the portfolio work has about 20 times more impact on total emission reduction.
Speeding up climate action and reductions with Science Based Targets
We are currently looking at new models to speed up the reduction of our own activity emissions, including business travel impact. Between 2012 and 2017 we reduced our own direct CO2 emissions by 48 percent. Our target for the next five years (2017-2022) is an additional 35 percent based on the 2016 level. We have also set a 35 percent target for the energy consumption of our portfolio, for comparable products over the same time frame. These two targets have been reviewed and approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). Ericsson was one of the first 100 companies in the world to receive such an approval.
In short, as long as we get a better return on investment – that is, more reduction of carbon in absolute terms – by investing in product development and the reduction of our own activities, this is where we intend to focus our investments. As always, we will continue to follow a science based model for our energy, environment and climate work.
Learn more about Ericsson’s work in the area of energy, environment and Climate Change.