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Ericsson and Airtel partner for responsible e-waste disposal and recycling

Airtel to participate in Ericsson’s global Ecology Management Product Take-Back Program. Ericsson’s Program covers the collection, decommissioning, transport, storage and disposal of obsolete technology. Equipment to be disposed of by globally accredited e-waste recycling partners, minimizing risk of illegal scrapping.

Airtel, leading mobile operator in Ghana, is working with Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) under their global Ecology Management Product Take-Back program to minimize the potential environmental impact associated with the disposal of decommissioned electrical equipment. As a pioneer and leader in the Ghanaian telecommunications industry, Airtel takes seriously the responsibility to limit its environmental impact.

The Ecology Management Product Take-Back program is a part of Ericsson’s Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility effort geared towards taking accountability for environmental impacts of all products and services during their lifecycle. The program ensures that end-of-life material is waste-treated in an environmentally responsible manner.

Ericsson’s program targets exceed the minimum requirements set out under the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, where product take back is required by law. Ericsson provides free product retrieval and safe disposal services for equipment that has reached its shelf life, as part the company’s extended producer responsibility. Ericsson offers the program to all customers globally, not only in Europe where it is required by law. This guarantees that this e-waste does not end up in trade-restricted areas, landfill, or in places where unethical business practices are taking place.

Donald Gwira, Head of Corporate affairs, Airtel Ghana: "Telecommunications, by its very nature, is an industry that has the least impact on the environment. However, the adoption of responsible e-waste disposal techniques will further limit the impact technology has on the environment. This is something we take seriously and we are pleased to have a partner who not only shares our passion for limiting our carbon footprint but offers the service as part of its portfolio".

The equipment will be loaded at Airtel Ghana’s warehouse facilities and then transported by sea to the Ericsson approved recycling partner in Durban, South Africa. There, the sorting and dismantling process will be initiated before being shipped to the partner’s main recycling facility in Netherlands. Here the final recycling will be completed.

Andreas Karlsson, Country Manager, Ericsson Ghana: "Ericsson’s sustainability strategy is fundamental to our core business and vision of the Networked Society. We aim to minimize the negative environmental impact of our activities and products in operation, while delivering solutions to enable the low-carbon economy. Ericsson is committed to proper handling of electronic waste and in Airtel we have found a partner that aspires to the same ideals".

WEEE, globally known as e-waste, is a growing problem. The world’s e-waste level reached 48.9 million tons during 2012 and is expected to increase 33% by 2017. More than 80% of this is not treated in proper e-waste recycling facilities.

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Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society – a world leader in communications technology and services. Our long-term relationships with every major telecom operator in the world allow people, businesses and societies to fulfill their potential and create a more sustainable future.

Our services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the telecom industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve the user experience and capture new opportunities.

With more than 110,000 professionals and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. We support networks that connect more than 2.5 billion subscribers. Forty percent of the world’s mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks. And our investments in research and development ensure that our solutions – and our customers – stay in front.

Founded in 1876, Ericsson has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Net sales in 2013 were SEK 227.4 billion (USD 34.9 billion). Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX stock exchange in Stockholm and the NASDAQ in New York.

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