Environmental responsibility

ICT is a key factor in managing global environmental challenges related to climate change, resource and energy scarcity, and the circular economy. Telia Company’s services such as IoT, remote meetings and cloud hosting solutions all contribute positively. The largest share of our total environmental impact is in the value chain of delivering our services, particularly from the production and use phase of consumer electronics.

Daring goals

Science shows that climate change and excessive consumption will have devastating impact on the planet if we – states, businesses and individuals - do not do something unprecedented. Therefore, we have taken a stand by stepping up environmental efforts and minimizing negative impacts.

In 2019, Telia Company launched two ambitious and aspirational environmental goals with the intention of becoming the world’s greenest telco: by 2030, we will be CO2 neutral and generate zero waste, not only within our own operations, but throughout the value chain.

Reaching the goals of zero impact of own operations requires a broad agenda of actions. Some are already in place, such as using over 90% renewable electricity. When it comes to minimizing customers’ impact, focus will be where the effect is the biggest, and where it fits business strategy the best. Through digitalization, Telia Company has significant potential to impact the environment in a positive way and providing customers with eco-friendly solutions has a great potential of saving money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resource efficiency. We are working on developing science-based targets well within the ambition of limiting global heating to 1,5°C.

Doing business with Telia Company will also come with even stricter environmental requirements and expectations. A letter signed by the CEO and CPO has been sent to over 200 suppliers, clarifying these expectations. Starting in 2019, CO2 will be added to supplier selection criteria. By 2022, suppliers should have a plan in place for reaching zero CO2 throughout their supply chains by 2030. Over time, this requires working closely with thousands of vendors and subcontractors to integrate the environmental agenda into their operations.

Our approach

This focus area is governed by the Group Policy – Environment.

Sustainable energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and hazardous and non-hazardous waste, particularly electronic waste, are the key environmental impacts to manage in our own operations. We adopt a structured management approach through ISO 14001 environmental management system certification. Telia in Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Sweden are fully or partially ISO 14001 certified. Telia in Norway is certified according to the national “Eco-lighthouse” standard.

To reduce our carbon footprint we purchase electricity from renewable sources, either through a “green contract” or separate Guarantees of Origin (GoO). In contracts where we are the tenant or co-host, we strive to influence the electricity contract owner to use renewable electricity.

Buy-back programs, also known as take-back or upgrade programs, reduce the amount of electronic waste by extending the product usage of mobile devices that are often in good working condition. All Telia companies in the Nordics and Baltics offer such buy-back programs. The devices are sold to local partners who either data wipe and resell them, or when unusable send them to recycling.

More information can be found in our Annual and Sustainability Report, pages 55-56


Energy consumption within the organization
Direct energy consumption (scope 1), GWh 2018
2017 2016
Continuing operations 27 27 30
Discontinued operations 56 79 104
Direct energy consumption, total 83
106  134
Indirect energy consumption (scope 2), GWh
Continuing operations 1,118
Discontinued operations 297 375 401
Indirect energy consumption, total 1,415 1,438 1,438


Direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions, ktons CO²e 2018
2017 2016
Direct emissions (scope 1)      
Continuing operations 7 7 8
Discontinued operations 13 19 25
Direct energy consumption, total 20
26 33
Indirect emissions (scope 2)      
Continuing operations 37 75 78
Discontinued operations 138 168 176
Indirect emissions, total 195
243 254
Direct and indirect emissions, total 215
269 287


Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions, ktons CO²e

2017 2016
Continuing operations 7 6 7
Discontinued operations 2 3 2
Other indirect emissions from business travel, total 9



The environmental case for connectivity

In January 2018, researchers at Ericsson and Telia Company published the latest paper in a long-term research project on the environmental impact of ICT. The findings show that ever-increasing data volumes among operators globally is not a catalyst for a rise in energy consumption. While the industry’s total emissions and energy consumption increased from 2010 to 2015, the increase can be attributed to the large increase in the amount of people and things connected.

Read more here