Our approach to environmental sustainability
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has been recognized as having the potential to play a critical role in addressing challenges related to climate change. At Alcatel-Lucent, we understand our long-term success depends on helping our customers to respond to their environmental challenges — and on reducing our own direct environmental impact.
We have built environmental considerations into virtually every aspect of our business, following a three-part approach:
1. Developing eco-sustainable networks: Creating and bringing to market products, services and solutions that contribute to environmentally responsible end-to-end networks.
2. Enabling a low-carbon economy: Helping businesses and consumers reduce their respective environmental impacts with innovative applications and solutions.
3. Reducing our carbon footprint: Reducing our absolute carbon footprint from operations by 50% by 2020 compared to our 2008 baseline (at end of 2012, our footprint decreased by 29% compared to 2008).
This approach relies on our capacity for eco-innovation and our ability to play a leading role with key stakeholders. Our research arm, Bell Labs, actively participates in open, collaborative partnerships and forums focused on establishing broad sustainability strategies and initiatives.
Engaging for success: Stakeholder activities
The role of information and communications technology (ICT) in combating climate change, and its potential to address the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, resonates strongly with our stakeholders. Our central role in the launch of GreenTouch™, commitment to the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), leadership in the World Economic Forum (WEF) and dedication to the United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC’s) climate change efforts are all collaborative initiatives that allow us to apply our ICT expertise to eco-sustainability.
Following the second invitation in 2012 to participate in Greenpeace’s fifth CoolIT Leaderboard, we contributed examples of our green products and services, shared our efforts to reduce our emissions and impact, and helped position ICT’s potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Alcatel-Lucent was ranked among the top ten performers. Following the CoolIT Leaderboard exercise, we began an open dialogue to better understand Greenpeace’s work in this area as well as share more examples of our extensive research in green technologies. At the last two WEF Annual Forums at Davos, Alcatel-Lucent had opportunities to exchange views with Greenpeace; in 2013, Greenpeace expressed appreciation of Alcatel-Lucent’s dedication towards green research.
Our Principal Global Commitments
Alcatel-Lucent has made a number of public commitments to encourage the uptake of low-carbon ICT solutions locally, regionally, nationally and internationally — areas with the greatest possible opportunity to achieve meaningful impact. We actively support and participate in the following:
- GreenTouch Consortium — through Bell Labs, we play a leading role in seeking to improve the energy efficiency of ICT networks by a factor of 1,000 compared to 2010 levels
- Broadband Commission eHealth and Climate Change Task Forces — the Broadband Commission is a UN initiative created in 2010 to respond to the Millennium Development Goals
- Business for Environment Global Summit (B4E) Green Imperative Manifesto
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Green Economy Task Force — a group partnered with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote the green economy in connection with the Rio+20 international development conference
- United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Caring for Climate Initiative — an organization encouraging participation at the global and Steering Committee level within a UNGC local network
- World Economic Forum ‘Friends of Rio+20’ — a WEF initiative involving the participants of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainability Development, presenting a common call to action (a published Annex of Best Practices included GreenTouch)
- World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Governance for Sustainability — an expert global task force dedicated to effective stakeholder models of sustainability
- World Resources Institute (WRI) — an organization leading methodological development for the measurement and reporting of GHGs emitted by ICT hardware
Our industry-leading activities:
- We participate in the Environmental Policy Group of Digital Europe, chairing its Chemicals cluster and contributing to clusters on eco-design, resource efficiency, waste and substance-related restrictions. We also contribute to the statements issued by Digital Europe on the contribution of ICT to the digital economy, low-carbon economy and energy efficiency, and are contributing to the EU’s 2050 Roadmap.
- We co-chair working groups on energy efficiency and communications within the GeSI, and participate in its Transformative Step of the Day initiative, providing examples of best-practice solutions. We also support initiative-related communications efforts, and were a major contributor to the GeSI SMARTer2020: The Role of ICT in Driving a Sustainable Future report.
- As part of the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI), we serve as a board member and either chair or participate in environmentally focused work groups such as lead-free solder assembly, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) alternatives and lifecycle assessment estimation.
- We contributed to collaborative efforts on cellular industry commitments and policy recommendations through GSMA.
Our standards-development activities:
- We have contributed to standards development for ICT energy efficiency (STEP-TEE) through the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS).
- We served as chair of the Technical Committee of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), actively contributing to energy-efficiency standards and leading liaisons between ETSI and other telecommunications standards development organizations such as IEC, CENELEC, ATIS and ITU-T.
- We have worked with the ITU-T Focus Group for ICT and Climate Change and ITU Study Group 5. We have also developed important recommendations for assessing the environmental impact of ICT goods, networks and services (L.1410), and developed organizational requirements for assessing energy consumption and GHG emissions (L.1420). Alcatel-Lucent was lead author of best practices on the sustainable design of products as part of ITU’s Toolkit on Environmental Sustainability for the ICT sector.
Governance and sustainability
When it comes to sustainability, the two highest-level governing bodies within Alcatel-Lucent are the Sustainability Council and the Sustainability Network. As part of their broad mandate, the pair shares the tasks of monitoring performance and tracking progress on environmental issues across the company.
Three bodies are primarily responsible for environmental activities at Alcatel-Lucent:
- The Green Operations Team
- The Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) Office
- The Bell Labs Chief Technology Office (CTO)
Adopting carbon footprint assessment standards for ICT products
Accurate measurement of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — using externally verified, industry-standard methodologies and metrics — is essential to assess impacts and evaluate net savings. But today’s measurement approaches are generally not entirely mature. Given the importance of GHG reduction, Alcatel-Lucent is taking a major role in advancing GHG emissions assessment and developing metrics and standards. Examples of this work are cited below.
WRI/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP)
We’ve taken a leadership role in developing ICT sector guidance for the GHGP Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard. The guidance is meant to enable the measurement of ICT sector GHG emissions in a clear and credible way. Alcatel-Lucent has provided input at both the steering and technical committee levels, and co-authored chapters on ICT hardware and telecommunications network services, drawing on our expertise in carbon footprinting and network energy use modeling.
International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
Study Group 5
Alcatel-Lucent is co-author of both L.1410 — Methodology for environmental impact assessment of ICT goods, networks and services and L.1420 — Methodology for energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions impact assessment of ICT in organizations. These standards can be used to assess energy and emissions generated from ICT goods, networks and services, and allow organizations to measure emissions from activities related to their operations.
Toolkit on environmental sustainability
Alcatel-Lucent aided the ITU’s development of a Toolkit on Environmental Sustainability for the ICT sector, serving as lead author of the chapter on Sustainable Products. Providing technical guidance on environmentally conscious design principles and best practices, the Toolkit helps companies provide products that are more 'environmentally conscious' throughout their full lifecycle.
Pilot Testing ICT Carbon Footprint Measurement Methods
In 2012, the European Commission (EC) sought volunteers to pilot test the compatibility and workability of different methods of energy and carbon footprinting for ICT products, services and organizations. The methods included ITU-T L.1410 and L.1420, ETSI TS 103 199 and the GHG Protocol Standard ICT Sector Guidance. In response, Alcatel-Lucent joined a consortium with BT and Cisco to test these methods for an Internet service offered by BT. The test found the various methods have a compatible basis, with the GHG Protocol more workable for the Internet service tested. The EC recommended continued collaboration with the ICT sector to sustain improvements to the methods.
Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)
Alcatel-Lucent provided key contributions to GeSI’s second major report on the ICT industry’s critical role in combating climate change, SMARTer2020: The Role of ICT in Driving a Sustainable Future. The document examines how ICT-enabled solutions can reduce global GHG emissions by 9.1 GtCO2e (16.5% of total global GHG emissions) by 2020. Alcatel-Lucent was one of the most active contributors to the report, providing telecom traffic data, lifecycle GHG emissions data, methodology and communications expertise.