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Developing the co-operation concept

More by Nokia - Back to the December 2013 issue
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Employees like to work in companies that act with a social and environmental conscience and play a part in preserving the natural world around them.

The mobile phone maker Nokia found in its own research that this formed much of its appeal and its acceptability as a 21st-century company, confirming the validity of its social responsibility policies.
Nokia had realised much earlier that it could not work alone to hit its targets as a responsible company and needed links with NGOs and others. 

The company chose the global conservation organization WWF as its partner to achieve joint goals as long ago as 2003. Ten years on, Nokia has won the international partnership category in the Finnish section of the EU’s first European CSR Award Scheme. 

The company, based at Espoo, near Helsinki, now talks of the bonuses of its partnering with the World Wide Fund for Nature, now known as WWF. 

On its own sites Nokia observes the effects on its workforce. Raised awareness of environmental and social issues among employees is the obvious bonus.
A second benefit is the improved environmental impact achieved partly by the Nokia-WWF partnership. The resulting mood in the company and the materials it uses now go beyond the existing goals of moderating climate change and conserving the world’s forests – though timber is still a crucial factor because of the paper and cardboard used in packaging.

The company has now worked with WWF to provide the content for educational purposes.

The fourth consequence has been the piloting of a range of business projects.

The recycling of old mobile phones was a natural one for Nokia. The company’s research, says PiaTanskanen, senior manager sustainability, revealed how few people realised they could recycle electronic equipment, even in environmentally conscious Germany.

The researchers saw that on average people retained three or four discarded mobiles, some of which were seven years old.

Nokia’s response was to mount campaigns with WWF’s help for old mobiles to be recycled. As part of the effort Nokia pledged to donate to WWF for every recycled phone.

Tanskanen reports: “People felt good for doing some good.”

Seminars, jointly organised by Nokia and WWF, made up another pilot project. Anybody could participate to discuss and share ideas for best practice on various environmental subjects.

Business people constituted a special group invited to workshops giving management training at the IMD business institute in Laussane, Switzerland.

The workshops, known as the One Planet Leaders Programme, offer management training and include brainstorming sessions to flush out ideas.

All the pilots, said Tanskanen, are examples of the development of “the co-operation concept”.

Nokia Headquarters have been certified to WWF Green Office programme too. WWF’s Green Office is a practical environmental programme that is easy to implement. Its aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the ecological footprints of offices.

The company has set the tone with its own activities. It encourages all executives and managers to replace business travel with videoconferencing and teleconferencing as far as they can. In comparison to our 2008 baseline level, total CO2 emissions from air travel have reduced by 71%.

At the same time it advises individuals to use bicycles or take public transport for their commuting to work.Inside Nokia buildings air conditioning and lighting are used as efficiently as possible. For example, in the Espoo offices lights switch themselves off and air conditioning slows down automatically when people exit a room.

As part of the facilities management practice the cooling system in the head office uses sea water.
Waste in the offices is carefully controlled so that all recyclable material goes into the recycling chain.
More waste control principles are applied to the staff cafeterias and restaurants.

An interesting extra at the Finnish headquarters and office in Berlin is a rooftop garden. The main purpose is to encourage employees to start gardening as it is an acknowledged form of good exercise and helps to relax the mind. An ecological product of the garden is that it adds to the world’s plant diversity and improves the atmosphere and climate through healthy gas release.

A Nokia effort that has continued throughout this year is its 2013 water project.

Nokia is now checking water use at its other bases throughout the world and working together with its supply chain and WWF to improve the management of water resources.

An ecological extension of Nokia’s interest in water issues is its involvement in the Living Himalayas Initiative.
The company’s direct contribution helps WWF to maintain the sustainable use of water and other resources from forests, grasslands and freshwater systems in the eastern Himalayas.

The objective is to protect and restore about 70,000 square kilometres of the natural habitat of Himalayan grasslands, wetlands and forests so that plant and animal species can survive, conflicts between communities and wildlife are kept to a minimum, and the source waters of vital Asian river systems are secured.

The combined campaign, an important part of the Living Himalayas project, is intended to improve understanding of climate change impacts so that the human and wildlife population will be enabled to cope with it.

“We still want to support the important projects,” said Tanskanen. “It has more meaning if we work together.”
The view, which is all-embracing, rather like a slogan, is stated by Nokia: “It’s always a good day to think green.”  


more about Nokia

Nokia is a leader in mobile communications, enabling mobility through its different businesses. In September 2013, Nokia announced that it had entered into an agreement with Microsoft whereby Microsoft would purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business. Following the transaction – which is subject to approval by Nokia shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions – Nokia plans to focus on its three established businesses, each of which is a leader in enabling mobility in its respective market segment: NSN, a leader in network infrastructure and services; HERE, a leader in mapping and location services; and Advanced Technologies, a leader in technology development and licensing.

IBE comment

DANIEL JOHNSON, Institute of Business Ethics

Nokia’s development of the co-ordination concept is impressive. The 10 year commitment to the WWF appears to be a good fit for both organizations, especially in helping Nokia achieve their ambitious environmental goals. The broad ranging initiatives on which Nokia is delivering, clearly reflect their slogan of “It’s always a good day to think green.”

Points of note:

  • Nokia Headquarters have been certified to WWF Green Office programme.
  • Compared to a 2008 baseline, total CO2 emissions from air travel have been reduced by 71% as Nokia have embraced video and teleconferencing.
  • Nokia are working towards protecting and restoring approximately 70,000 square kilometers of the natural habitat of Himalayan grasslands, wetlands and forests. 

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