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July 8, 2010

Catching-up with Nokia’s Environmental Team

nokiaenvironment_intESPOO, Finland – A fair bit has been happening on the green front at Nokia. Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen the Easy to be Green campaign, Nokia Eco Profiles launching and the company backing the 1GOAL campaign with an app on Ovi Store. With so much going on, we thought it was about time we caught up with the team behind the green ideas and strategies. We managed to track down Kirsi Sormunen and Gregory Elphinston from the Sustainability Operations team, and Lauri Kokko from the Services Ovi Experience team (related to Green Channel) to answer a few of our questions.

Nokia Conversations (NC): What are the challenges for Nokia and the environment?

Nokia Environmental Team (NE): The specific focus areas most relevant to our business in terms of our ecological footprint are materials, energy efficiency, take back and recycling, and consumer engagement through mobile services. We work hard to ensure that all materials in Nokia devices meet all our strict environmental requirements. In other words we ensure materials and component suppliers are fully compliant with them. Proper recycling of used devices can only take place after we have been able to collect the phones from consumers. At the moment, a substantial part of the population don’t think of their used devices as something that can be recycled. Nokia’s making an effort to raise consumer awareness about recycling and making returning phones as easy as possible for consumers.

NC: How closely does the environment team work with the research and development team?

NE:Nokia’s philosophy is that environmental issues are everyone’s responsibility and an integral part of our business, and so, people responsible for environmental product requirements are within different R&D units. They have the responsibility to drive environmental improvements in our devices, according to agreed targets. A good example is the work Nokia has done in R&D in the HW Energy Supply Solutions. Ambitious targets were set to minimise the no-load standby energy consumption of chargers, the most important element of the energy consumption of mobile devices during their whole life-cycle. Nokia has been a clear market leader in this feature for years.

NC: How successful was the Green Channel launch on Ovi Store?

NE: The Green Channel launch was a great success for us and its popularity exceeded our expectations. It’s good to see that consumers are interested about our application offerings within the Green Channel. Numbers don’t tell the whole story about how well the Green Channel has done, but they are nonetheless impressive: almost 1.5 million downloads from the Green Channel in two months.

NC: How does Nokia select what third party campaigns to support?

NE: Our thoughts in the area of learning and education are fully aligned with UNESCO and the “Education for all” program, and our focus in social investment will be to use mobile communications to help achieve ‘Education for All.’ Since 1GOAL and Nokia are both aiming for the same goal, it made sense for Nokia to lend its voice to the campaign. That said, this support is ‘moral support’, i.e. advocacy and providing an engaging way to others to join up with a fun application, rather than financial, since our social investment funds are targeted in projects with tangible outcomes in education and learning.

NC: What projects are you currently working on with WWF?

NE: Nokia has had a global partnership agreement with WWF for over six years which is currently under renewal as we speak. The cooperation consists of many different elements starting from local take-back campaigns to creating new, appealing content to the Green channel of Ovi. Like the WWF EcoGuru. Some new nature conservation projects under discussion are a photo competition to support the conservation of the Baltic Sea, the most polluted sea in the world, as well as several water conservation projects in Asia.

NC: What makes a project work in certain countries e.g. India and recycling and not in others? Is it a problem with educating the public or are a number of projects location-specific?

NE: The most important success factor in take-back campaigns is channels and tools used to raise consumer awareness of recycling – in other words visible marketing of the campaign is the key. In Planet Ke Rakwaale in India a very extensive media campaign using several different channels from billboards to TV advertisements which were additionally supported by high-profile Bollywood celebrities. Another factor in motivating consumers to return their used devices is the incentives we offer in exchange of an old phone which can vary from tree planting to gift vouchers. Different things work in different countries certainly.

Have you got any innovative ideas for the environment? A golden idea on how to be green? Let us know in the comments below.