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.

Ambition 2022 goals

A structured and science-based approach to assessing and managing the negative environmental impacts of our operations

Proactively communicate the positive environmental impacts of our products and services

Local companies ready for ISO 14001 management system certification

5 percent lower energy consumption per subscription equivalent

5 percent lower CO²e emissions per subscription equivalent

Implemented processes for buyback of mobile devices and reuse or resale of network equipment

Actively participate in research, public policy and debate on the positive environmental impacts of digitalization

1) Subscription equivalent is based on energy consumption for different subscriptions – from low consumption M2M subscriptions to high consumption 4G mobile or IPTV subscriptions. Targets are based on total energy consumption and scope 1+2 emissions. Baseline 2015. Figures exclude energy consumption and emissions from region Eurasia and Telia Carrier.

Energy consumption within the organization
Direct energy consumption, GWh 2017 2016 2015
Continuing operations 29 30 31 
Discontinued operations 79 104 161 
Direct energy consumption, total 108  134 192 


Direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions, ktons CO²e 2017 2016 2015
Direct emissions (scope 1)      
Continuing operations 7 8
Discontinued operations 19 25 40
Direct energy consumption, total 26 33 48
Indirect emissions (scope 2)      
Continuing operations 75 78 122
Discontinued operations 168 176 167
Indirect emissions, total 243 254 289
Direct and indirect emissions, total 269 287 337


Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions, ktons CO²e

2017 2016 2015
Continuing operations 6 7 9
Discontinued operations 3 2 3
Other indirect emissions from business travel, total 9 12 



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. We need to continue decoupling negative environmental impact from the exponential increase in data volumes and network capacity. Our customers increasingly expect us to be proactive in our work and in delivering solutions to help them reduce their own environmental impacts.

Our approach

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

Energy, GHG emissions and 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 by purchasing 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. We estimate that our greenhouse gas emissions abatement from renewable electricity is the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road annually.2

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. Recycling partners in these markets (except Denmark) are ISO 14001 certified.

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

2)  87 percent renewable electricity consumed in the Nordics and Baltics in 2017. Using the Nord Pool residual mix factor, this represents an emissions abatement of 148,000 tons CO2e (market based, scope 2).

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