Measuring impact from end to end
Evolving mobile devices, new applications and services, and relentless bandwidth growth are forcing service providers to deploy more capacity in their networks through technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE). This, however, is increasing operational costs, power demands and overall network complexity. Developing efficient, eco-sustainable options remains critical to ensuring the long-term affordability of telecommunications networks. To do so, wireline and wireless service providers will need to evolve their networks to a next-generation, all-IP multiservice infrastructure that is fully converged, optimized and scalable.
The chart below shows that doing nothing is not an option with respect to the increasing network energy efficiency gap. Global mobile broadband connections are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% from 2012 to 2017, reaching 4.5 billion connections by 20171. In 2011, the Internet used about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, with only six to 12% of electricity powering their servers used to perform computations2. This is a clear indication that energy efficiency is imperative for the ICT industry.
The network energy gap
High Leverage Network™
End-to-end thinking is integral to our High Leverage Network™ (HLN). Introduced in 2009, HLN was designed to help service providers efficiently and cost-effectively scale network bandwidth and increase network capacity. HLN provides a platform to help service providers introduce new services quickly and efficiently. Using less energy and occupying less space than previous generations, our next-generation HLN products use innovative technologies that result in more sustainable and efficient energy use, decreased cooling requirements and smaller physical footprints. For example, our new IP and optical chips scale bandwidth by a factor of four while using half the power of the previous generation.
With a scalable, intelligent, efficient all-IP infrastructure, service providers can achieve the following cost savings:
Looking at the whole lifecycle
Our lifecycle approach addresses environmental impacts from the concept stage forward. Through it, we constantly seek improvements in design, material selection and operating characteristics such as energy efficiency. We also examine non-product specific aspects of the lifecycle, such as:
- Developing logistics tools that quickly compare various routes for components and finished goods shipments and provide solutions for environmentally and cost-efficient routes
- Reducing the end-of-life environmental impact by providing product developers with design guidance and best practices for disassembly, reuse and recycling
Environmental impacts are further minimized by:
- Extending product lifetime and value
- Occupying less space and generating less heat
- Providing more functionality per kilowatt used
- Operating on alternate energy when/where applicable
- Assuring electromagnetic environment safety
- Reducing acoustic noise
- Using materials with low environmental impact
- Managing end-of-life disassembly and treatment
- Providing eco-efficient product packaging and transport
The Alcatel-Lucent Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) estimator
Alcatel-Lucent has pioneered a simple, accurate LCA estimator to generate product carbon footprint (PCF) information on all our new product families, with the results contributing to each product’s eco-declaration.
Our eco-declarations conform to:
- ECMA-370 standard, issued by the European Association for Standardization Information and Communication Systems
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62430 standard for Environmentally Conscious Design for Electrical and Electronic Products
The LCA Estimator is also used to test ‘what if’ scenarios to evaluate material alternatives, transportation routing, and power profile options.
We’re also championing the adoption and development of the LCA estimator framework for broader industry-wide use and alignment through:
- International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) — an ICT industry consortium
- WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP) — where Alcatel-Lucent integrated its LCA estimation methodology into the newly published ICT Sector Guidance for product lifecycle accounting and reporting
Bell Labs is spearheading Alcatel-Lucent’s 'extreme green' approach to innovation — maintaining a dedicated green research program and appointing a Head of Green Research who reports directly to the Head of Bell Labs Research.
The green research program aims to:
- Dramatically improve end-to-end network energy efficiency
- Provide technologies, solutions and services for sustainable communications and networked computing based on out-of-the-box thinking, 'clean slate' architectures and open innovation
Taking a holistic, end-to-end perspective, Bell Labs’ research spans all network domains: wireless and mobile, wireline and fixed access, packet data and optical transmission. The organization investigates:
- Efficient cooling and thermal management solutions
- Integrated alternative energy technologies
- Efficient hardware components, devices and network elements, including base stations and routers
- Optimized network architectures
- Intelligent management and control algorithms that ensure power consumption is proportional to traffic loads, preventing waste in the network
- The fundamental limits of communications and energy efficiency, specifically in optical and quantum communications and wireless transmission systems
This research involves more than 50 scientists around the world, collaborating either directly or through jointly funded projects and industry consortia with other companies, research institutes and universities. These include:
- GreenTouch™ consortium
- Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN)
- Cooling Technologies Research Center (CTRC) in the U.S.
- Intelligent Energy Aware Networks (INTERNET) consortium in the UK
Bell Labs serves on the industrial advisory boards of both CIAN and INTERNET.
With Bell Labs research highlighting longer-term barriers to sustainable network growth, energy considerations have become important to a large number of new Bell Labs projects. It is anticipated that 15% of all patents filed each year by Bell Labs Research will be related to energy efficient and sustainable communications, networking and computing technologies.
Through its green research, Bell Labs has positioned itself as an industry thought leader — clearly demonstrated by the number of presentations and keynotes Bell Labs researchers have been invited to give, and in the number of tier-one conferences and journals to which they have been asked to contribute.
Going forward, Bell Labs aims to:
- Organize, promote and participate in events, workshops and conferences dedicated to green ICT
- Foster collaborations in the industry
- Build the green innovation ecosystem
All of these will involve increased collaboration with other stakeholders and policy organizations such as the GeSI, the WEF and Digital Europe.
Supporting university collaborations
Despite current budget pressure, Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs are committed to maintaining a strong university collaboration program focused on high-quality, high-impact research activities.
Bell Labs is a founder and remains the most active member of the GreenTouch consortium — a global, pre-competitive research initiative with the mission to improve network energy efficiency by a factor of 1,000 compared to 2010 levels. Its deliverables by 2015 include the architectures, solutions and roadmap needed to realize this objective, and the demonstration of key technologies.
Members of Bell Labs hold leadership positions in GreenTouch, including:
- Chair of the Executive Board
- Chair of the Technical Committee
- Chair of the Mobile Communications Working Group
- Chair of the Marketing and Communications subcommittee
- Chair of the Funded Projects subcommittee
- Co-chair of the Operations Committee
- Co-chair of the Services, Policies and Standards Working Group
In 2012 (its second year of operation), the GreenTouch Consortium achieved the following:
- Demonstrated a new transmission protocol for wireline and fiber-to-the-home networks called Bit Interleaved Passive Optical Networks (Bi-PON).
Watch the video
- Publically released the first version of Strategic Research Areas and Initial Research Portfolio.
Learn more about the Strategic Research roadmap
- Established a new Services, Policies and Standards Working Group.
- Expanded its membership to more than 60 organizations.
- Organized several industry events dedicated to green ICT and sustainability.
In 2013, GreenTouch will announce its progress toward improving network energy efficiency by a factor of 1,000 — and this progress will be continuously monitored and updated as new research ideas come to fruition and new projects are launched.
Other green research partnerships
Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs participate in several other major collaborative efforts focused on green innovations, including the following:
Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET)
CEET was launched in March 2011 by Alcatel-Lucent, the University of Melbourne, and the Victorian State Government as the world's first research center dedicated to energy-efficient telecommunications technologies. Its research efforts cover a broad range of telecommunications network infrastructures and how they can increase their energy efficiency.
To date, CEET has produced three patents: one focused on energy-efficient data-encoding for optical signals in fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) access networks, and two on receiver techniques for detecting low-power signals. Its research findings are driving potential new products, setting industry standards in energy efficiency, and raising awareness of energy efficiency in telecommunications. In recognition of their work, Alcatel-Lucent and CEET received awards from the Business/Higher Education Round Table (B-HERT) and Australia’s Communications Alliance in 2012.
Centre for Telecommunications Value Chain Research (CTVR)
CTVR is a partnership between the Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs Ireland & UK research cluster and the Irish Centre for Science, Engineering & Technology. Its goals include developing new energy-saving heat-dissipation techniques such as vapor chambers and energy harvesting. Supported by Science Foundation Ireland, CTVR is a collaborative research center involving seven Irish universities.
EARTH (Energy Aware Radio and Network Technologies) Project
Bell Labs played a leading role — including overall technical coordination — in EARTH, a European consortium of 15 leading telecommunications service providers, academic institutions, and component and infrastructure vendors. The now-finished project successfully accomplished all of its objectives, showing that, if the integrated solutions recommended by the consortium are deployed, operators could save up to 70% of the energy in realistic 4G wireless network scenarios. EARTH received broad attention and recognition and was honored with the Future Internet Award in May 2012. The main Bell Labs contributions to the project included: a methodology for evaluating energy efficiency in wireless networks; innovative designs and prototype implementations for energy efficient transceivers; fast time-scale radio resource and network management algorithms leveraging new hardware capabilities; and a network-level simulation tool for evaluating network-wide energy consumption for macro cellular and heterogeneous networks.
Gachon Energy Research Institute (GERI) in Korea
Bell Labs continues to work with the Gachon Energy Research Institute (GERI) of Korea’s Kyungwon University to develop innovative business models for the next-generation smart power grid. The intent of the joint research program, called Grid 2.0, is to fundamentally enhance the efficiency, reliability, security and intelligence of electric power grids by exploiting the convergence between electric power systems and information and communications technologies.
Reducing the impact of our products and solutions
We maintain high standards of product stewardship and consider the environmental impact of our products throughout their lifecycle, from design to end of life.
Improving the efficiency of raw materials use
Our Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) approach evaluates the consumption of raw materials throughout the lifecycles of our products. Data and results from LCA assessments inform continual improvements to achieve more efficient use of raw materials and energy at every stage of product life: raw material extraction, pre-processing, intermediate material and component manufacturing, final manufacturing and assembly, packaging, distribution and installation, use, and end-of-life reuse and recycling. These improvements are incorporated into our best practices for environmentally conscious product design, which include design guidelines and requirements such as:
- Designing for standardization, which reduces parts inventories by increasing the use of “golden” catalogs and reuse of “golden” parts. Golden catalogs and parts are to be considered first in any new design or redesign in order to increase the commonality of such parts across the company. This promotes resource conservation and design simplicity. In 2012, golden catalogs were extended to all relevant commodities for board designs and applied to field installation materials. For example, Alcatel-Lucent equipment racks are standardized to only six reference designs, resulting in a common look and feel while simplifying rack interchangeability and stocking, which saves on material and energy consumption due to reduced inventories and logistics.
- Common designs and design reuse, which increases parts interchangeability, provides common toolsets, and reduces component testing and qualification — ultimately lowering the quantities of parts and materials needed.
- Accelerated innovation to deliver technological and environmental innovations to market more quickly, making energy-efficient equipment that uses fewer materials and resources that are more readily available.
- Eco-efficient product designs that provide increased functionality (e.g., capacity, service, performance) per unit of electricity consumed while occupying less physical space, weighing less and using fewer types of materials. This has significantly reduced the amount of raw materials consumed in our products over their entire lifecycles. For example, the new FP3 chip in our 7750 Service Router (SR) enables faster service delivery while consuming 50% less power than its predecessor. It also requires 30% less space, which means fewer components and raw materials go into its increased functionality.
- Improved materials selection guidance, supporting optimal materials selection during the design phase to deliver increased efficiency in material consumption while offsetting other material and energy flows and environmental impacts. For instance, selecting aluminum with a high metal recycled content over painted steel for product chassis/cabinets can significantly reduce raw materials extraction requirements and produces a lighter-weight product that will consume less energy during shipping, installation, and end-of-life product takeback and recycling. Aluminum also needs fewer materials for corrosion and finish protection.
- Product packaging that directly reduces the amount of raw materials needed for replacement parts. For example, we recommend the use of static intercept bags in place of traditional ESD plastic bags. The static intercept bags yield a 40-fold eco-improvement by extending product shelf life and reducing parts failures due to better electrostatic protection.
- Product logistics that minimize parts inventories and reduce environmental impact through a “regional campus” manufacturing model that sees products made closer to customers.
We place paramount importance on minimizing and managing the environmental impacts of materials used in our products and supply chain. Expectations for the control and tracking of material content are specified in our supplier requirements along with prohibitions against materials that are banned, restricted or to be avoided in products or packaging provided to Alcatel-Lucent - see Supplier Requirements: Substance Restrictions (PDF file). Our materiality assessment has shown that the traceability of raw material is an increasingly sensitive topic and is one we take seriously. Suppliers must track material content information according to IEC62474 - Material Declaration for Products of and for the Electrotechnical Industry (replacing the Joint Industry Material Composition Declaration Guide for Electronic Products). We maintain a robust material/substance content-management process to aggressively limit the impact of hazardous materials and waste on human health and the environment, upholding the following principles:
- Meet regulatory material restrictions in all markets we serve
- Are proactive in going beyond legislative material restrictions where there is a sound scientific basis for doing so — including abiding by regional legislative requirements on a global level and respecting material restrictions
- Invest in R&D both alone and through partnerships to minimize the eco-impact of materials — including research into alternatives, processes, technical feasibility and eco-impact quantification
- Advocate the use and adoption of lower eco-impact materials with our suppliers, customers and industry at large
Our principles in action
While compliance with materials-related legislation such as the EU RoHS Directive and REACH Regulation is primarily EU-focused, we have adopted these globally for all our products. Alcatel-Lucent’s products are fully RoHS compliant — and although network infrastructure equipment is currently exempt from the requirement to eliminate lead-based solders, we are taking steps to completely eliminate lead from our products. Our Enterprise products have been lead-free since 2006, and in 2008 we started shipping our first lead-free network infrastructure equipment. All new network infrastructure equipment since 2010 is designed to be lead-free by default. Our research program — conducted in collaboration with industry partners, including iNEMI, High Density Packaging User Group (HDPUG) and the Unovis AREA Consortium — has helped advance global knowledge of lead-free technology to enable a more reliable, rapid and complete transition to lead-free assembly. Thanks to this research we were able to advocate industry acceptance for lead-free technology, which increased adoption of reliable lead-free products for service provider applications.
The European Union (EU) Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) Directive [2002/95/EC and it’s recast 2011/65/EU] as amended restricts the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in electrical and electronic equipment. This Directive applies to electrical and electronic products placed on the EU market after 1 July 2006, with various exemptions, including an exemption for lead solder in network infrastructure equipment. Alcatel-Lucent products shipped to the EU after 1 July 2006 comply with the EU RoHS Directive.
The People's Republic of China Ministry of Information Industry has published a regulation (Order #39) and associated standards regarding restrictions on hazardous substances (China RoHS). Currently, the legislation requires all Electronic and Information Products (EIP) to comply with certain labeling and documentation requirements. Alcatel-Lucent products manufactured on or after 1 March 2007, that are intended for sale to customers in the China market, must comply with these requirements.
In accordance with the People's Republic of China Electronic Industry Standard Marking for the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products (SJ/T11364-2006), customers may access the Alcatel-Lucent hazardous substances table.
This product is in conformity with the EEE Regulation as published in the Turkish official Journal - Resmî Gazete 28300, 22 May 2012.
AEEE Yönetmeliğine Uygundur
This equipment corresponds to requirements of the Technical Regulation (No. 1057, 3 December 2008) on limitation of usage of certain dangerous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
України ТЕХНІЧНИЙ РЕГЛАМЕНТ обмеження використання деяких небезпечних речовин в електричному та електронному обладнанні (від 3 грудня 2008 р. N 1057): Обладнання відповідає вимогам Технічного регламенту обмеження використання деяких небезпечних речовин в електричному та електронному обладнанні.
Alcatel-Lucent branded products are designed and manufactured in accordance with Circular 30/2011/TT-BCT of Vietnam on the restriction of hazardous substances and maximum concentration levels of toxic substances allowed in homogeneous materials (except for the exceptions listed in this Circular).
Công ty Alcatel-Lucent đảm bảo rằng rằng tất cả các sản phẩm mang nhãn hiệu Alcatel-Lucent được thiết kế và sản xuất phù hợp với Thông tư 30/2011/TT-BCT của Việt Nam về việc hạn chế các chất độc hại và nồng độ tối đa của chất độc cho phép trong các vật liệu đồng nhất (ngoại trừ các trường hợp miễn trừ được liệt kê trong Thông tư này).
On June 1, 2007, the European Regulation No 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) entered into force. Under REACH, companies operating in the EU may face certain obligations as manufacturers, importers and/or downstream users.
Alcatel-Lucent complies with the current requirements of REACH. In particular, Article 33 of REACH requires suppliers to inform the recipients and consumers if an article received contains more than 0.1% (by weight per article) of any substance(s) on the Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list. Alcatel-Lucent has verified the use of substances listed on the candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern as published on the ECHA website. Based on information received from our supply chain we have no indication that any of the listed substances are present in any of our products, subassemblies or expansion items over 0.1% weight for weight. We will continue to monitor the status of the candidate list as part of our on-going compliance activities.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
We have voluntarily reduced our use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) over the last several years in recognition of its associated environmental and human health risks. We have a broad initiative focused on PVC elimination that includes internal R&D, and we are engaged in supplier and consortia partnerships to develop and assess the impact of alternative materials.
Product materials content
In 2012, Alcatel-Lucent delivered 210,931 metric tons of equipment to market. To ensure our products make the most efficient use of materials, we analyze them to better understand the composition of both their component materials and recycled content, identifying opportunities for improvement.
Ensuring product safety
Alcatel-Lucent is committed to meeting the needs of its clients and to ensuring the safety of its employees and the general public. We assess the health and safety impacts of all our products at all stages of their lifecycles. For example, during the design phase, we work with suppliers to avoid the use of hazardous materials. We ensure that all materials are prepared for transportation according to nationally or internationally accepted regulations. Our technical documentation provides specific guidance for the safe use of our products. And mandatory training for Alcatel-Lucent Services personnel covers a range of topics to ensure a safe workplace.
Additionally, all Alcatel-Lucent products that emit radio frequency (RF) energy must comply with country-specific regulations for human exposure to RF emissions in the manufacturing and product-use phases. Compliance is determined either by analytical assessment or measurement of propagated RF energy. Finally, our company requirement dictates that all electronic waste is shipped to processing facilities that have passed our EHS liability assessment. Unless otherwise specified, all electronic waste is processed to recover as much of its recyclable material as possible.
We closely follow health and regulatory issues related to wireless communications, including those associated with the electromagnetic environment. This effort has been recognized by third parties such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which since 2006 has consistently assigned Alcatel-Lucent the highest score achievable in the electromagnetic fields category. We actively contribute to the international standardization bodies that develop exposure assessment standards. We ensure our product portfolio — including macro cells, small cells and WiFi — complies with national and international standards and regulations on human exposure.
Scientific knowledge about Electromagnetic Environment
Our position regarding the electromagnetic environment is based on the opinion of more than 150 expert committees mandated by national and international authorities to assess the advancement of scientific knowledge. All have been consistent in concluding there is no established health effect from exposure to RF fields below the limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) — the international commissions recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As outlined in the WHO’s Fact Sheet 304: "Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak radio frequency signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects." This statement applies to all mobile and wireless network technologies implemented by Alcatel-Lucent, including CDMA, GSM, W-CDMA/UMTS, LTE and Wi-Fi.
Contributing to international standardization initiatives
We support the development of human exposure assessment standards through international standardization bodies and industry associations. We also contribute to the global standardization framework of exposure assessment methods coordinated by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). This framework aims to harmonize exposure assessment methods from regional and international standardization bodies such as the IEEE and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC).
Packaging and distribution
Packaging has a direct impact on the environment through the consumption of raw materials and waste generated from its manufacturing processes. It also indirectly affects transportation-related GHG emissions by influencing the amount of transport space required to deliver products. One way Alcatel-Lucent has committed to reducing the environmental impact of packaging is through the elimination of wood (plywood/solid wood) containers in primary (outer) packaging. Switching to cartons with high-recycled fiber content reduces demands on natural resources such as forests and lowers the weight of packaged products — thereby reducing GHG emissions from transport. To date, some 18% of all containers have been converted, resulting in an annual reduction of nearly 10,000 wooden containers. Going forward, we are working to increase this conversion rate of wood containers to high-recycled fiber content cartons.
We continued to reduce the carbon footprint of our logistics by further shifting freight from air to surface transit, especially ocean shipping. In 2011, Alcatel-Lucent deployed a transportation upgrade process requiring products to be shipped by ocean vessel or truck unless a waiver authorizes an urgent material delivery. This allowed us to ship more than 99% domestically by truck and more than 51% internationally by ocean vessel — the latter up from 40% in 2011 and exceeding our 2012 goal of 50%. For 2013, our target is to further increase international shipments by ocean vessel to 65%.
Increasing the energy efficiency of products in use
With broadband traffic growing dramatically, our customers have to strengthen their network’s capacity, which increases operational costs and power needs. Lifecycle assessments (LCAs) show that the use of a typical network product accounts for 80–90% of its total environmental impact — the bulk of which is associated with energy consumption. Consequently, reducing energy consumption and developing energy efficient, eco-sustainable options has become critical to ensuring the long-term affordability of telecommunication networks.
Given the increasing complexity of deployed technology mixes, architectures and operational conditions, it becomes crucial to operators to identify how and where energy is consumed in their networks, and to formulate an action plan to reduce their overall energy consumption. Alcatel-Lucent is addressing this issue by embedding energy monitoring in its telecom systems management tools. Energy monitoring allows network operators to achieve significant reductions in their operational expenses with a corresponding reduction in their associated GHGs.
Between 2010 and 2012 Alcatel-Lucent met the target of improving the functional energy efficiency of its key products1 by at least 25%. This target has been significantly exceeded for many products in Optics, IP, Wireless, Wireline and Applications Divisions. Energy efficiency has been integrated as a standard feature in all our product and solution roadmaps. We will intensify the efforts to improve in this area since they represent a competitive differentiator and an element of customer satisfaction.
1 New or recently developed products for Networks and Platforms on an upward lifecycle curve.
Ernst & Young Statement
Starting in 2008, Alcatel-Lucent set objectives for a selection of its products to reduce the environmental impact linked to the energy consumption during their network usage. At the division level, teams put in place measures to improve the energy efficiency of their products, beginning from the time of their design. The methodology for the measurement of energy performance is aligned with international standards and regulatory requirements.
All of the targeted products have met the objective for a 25% reduction in energy consumption by 2010-2012.
Takeback, remanufacturing and recycling
Alcatel-Lucent offers global product takeback, remanufacturing and recycling services for any type of telecom products regardless of vendor. Members of our global network of approved recycling vendors collect and recycle products that have reached their end of life. Customers are provided with an online request form to arrange equipment pick-up. Where possible, we participate in public recovery systems.
In 2012, the company managed 7,481 metric tons of electronic waste. Of this, 389 metric tons of equipment and components were remanufactured and/or resold (142,470 circuit packs and 957 configured pieces of equipment). In 2012, we also avoided producing over 12,100 metric tons of CO2e by remanufacturing new equipment and components (instead of manufacturing). Approved recycling partners recycled 6,780 metric tons. Almost 97% was recycled or re-sold, less than 2% was treated by incineration and less than 2% was disposed of via secure landfill. In 2012, 26 new product families were added to our remanufacturing and resale operations. The overall number of Alcatel-Lucent product families under current remanufacturing/resale process grew from 45 in 2008 to 88 in 2012.
Product takeback services
We provide customers with an online request form for arranging equipment collection.
For more information: www.alcatel-lucent.com/product_takeback.