Environmental responsibility

TeliaSonera’s services are key enablers of an environmentally sustainable economy. Machine-to-machine services, remote meetings, cloud hosting, e-health and other solutions all contribute positively.


Strategic objective

2018 Goals

2015 Goals

  • Minimize negative and maximize positive environmental impact throughout our value chain.

  • All major operations in region Europe ready for ISO 14001 certification (by end of 2017).
  • Buy-back programs for mobile devices established in region Europe (by end of 2017).
  • 10 percent lower energy consumption per subscription equivalent1.
  • 33 percent lower CO2 emissions per subscription equivalent.
  • ISO 14001 certification in Sweden and Estonia.
  • Buy-back programs in 4 countries, 125,000 devices collected.
  • 21.8 kWh per subscription equivalent (22.1 2014).
  • 4.1 kg CO2 per subscription equivalent (4.3 2014).

1 Subscription equivalent is based on energy consumption for different subscriptions – from low consumption M2M subscriptions to high consumption 4G mobile or IPTV subscriptions. Targets are based on total energy consumption and scope 1 + 2 emissions.


Global challenges related to climate change, resource and energy scarcity and the circular economy rely on ICT to provide necessary tools for solving the challenges. The GeSI SMARTer2030 report (smarter2030.gesi.org) highlights that in 2030, ICT will have the potential to hold global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at 2015 levels while increasing resource efficiency in, for example, agriculture, transportation and electricity distribution. The ICT industry has a GHG emissions abatement potential of close to ten times its own emissions.

Our key environmental impacts

Energy, GHG emissions and electronic waste remain the main environmental impacts to manage in our own operations and in the value chain. Negative environmental impacts come from the production of consumer and network equipment, from construction, maintenance and running of the networks, and from waste generated.

Regional differences define our approach

Significant regional differences have defined our approach to environmental responsibility. The biggest challenges are found in region Eurasia – weak legislation, lack of waste management infrastructure and low interest from customers. In regions Sweden and Europe, customers expect us to be proactive in our work and the solutions we offer to help them reduce their own environmental impacts.


The group environmental policy states that we shall adopt a structured management approach to managing key environmental impacts. This means working towards reducing GHG emissions, increasing energy efficiency, working towards ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) certification and establishing mobile device buy-back programs.

Group sustainability strategy has the overall responsibility for developing and implementing the environment strategy and policy. Companies implementing ISO 14001 must have a clearly appointed function responsible for managing the EMS. Country organizations and other group functions are responsible for activities such as network planning and buy-back programs that have an impact on our environmental work.

Activities during the year

ISO 14001 implementation in Finland

Sonera in Finland began implementing ISO 14001 with the aim to be certified in 2016. ISO 14001 has been already been implemented in Sweden and Estonia, with parts of the organizations certified.

GHG emissions reductions

During the year, we reduced our gross GHG emissions by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) and green electricity. Through these we reduced our scope 2 footprint by 56,500 tons of CO2. Over 500 solar power installations, mainly at Ncell in Nepal, Tcell in Tajikistan and Ucell in Uzbekistan contributed as well, although we cannot exactly quantify the emissions reductions from these.

56,500 tons reduction of CO2 emissions

Buy-back programs

Buy-back programs were established in most Nordic and Baltic countries. These programs enable customers to hand in old devices for a discount, regardless of their value on the market. The devices are collected by an ISO 14001 certified partner that wipes and refurbishes them for resale, or recycles them. In total, 125,000 devices, mainly phones, were collected. A large contribution came from NetCom in Norway which collected 55,000 devices, also donating 10 NOK per device to the national youth environmental organization Miljøagente (www.miljoagente.no). In addition, TeliaSonera Finance collected and refurbished 12,500 leased devices during the year through its life-cycle management program.

Life-cycle assessment of fiber digging

The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) conducted a lifecycle assessment of fiber digging methods together with Skanova, which manages our fiber rollout in Sweden. The findings showed that green-field plowing, micro- and narrow trenching has the smallest environmental impact. The findings were presented during follow-up of sustainability performance of sub-contractors and in planning dialog with municipalities.

Planned activities in 2016

Focus in 2016 will be on implementing the environmental policy and EMS to ensure that we establish a common ground for our future environmental work.

To ensure a common approach, the Sonera EMS assessment will be used as template for implementation in region Europe. The EMS will also take into account the requirements of the new EU energy efficiency directive.

Buy-back programs will be established in more countries, covering more types of devices and channels.

To better understand and be able to quantify how our services help customers reduce their environmental footprint, we aim to further support relevant industry studies together with organizations such as GeSI.


TeliaSonera Sweden investing to save

TeliaSonera Sweden runs several modernization programs focused on reducing energy consumption and costs related to facility rent. Older power-hungry technology and systems such as ISDN that serve few customers are replaced by more energy efficient and future-proof platforms. In addition a large number of rural technical sites are to be closed down, and 75 core technical sites energy-optimized until 2018. We have invested some SEK 20 million in “green cooling” solutions so far, and plan to invest an additional SEK 50 million when expanding the scope to additional sites. Since the programs started in March 2014, total savings of SEK 40 milion have been achieved. Until 2018 the programs will lower annual costs by an estimated SEK 20-25 million.

The programs include:

  • Replacing compressor-based cooling with free air and geo-cooling solutions, and redesign of data centers.
  • Dismantling of legacy equipment. After dismantling, energy savings are achieved, and the whole or parts of sites can be used for other purposes or sold. In 2015, such cleanouts generated over 200 tons of mainly electronic waste.
  • Utilization of contractors. when a contractor working at a site has completed the ordered work, available time can be used to identify and switch of equipment that is no longer in use. This saves time and money for both TeliaSonera and the contractor.


© TeliaSonera 2015
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