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Can the Telecom Industry Materialize a Sustainable Future With the Product Reuse?

Can the Telecom Industry Materialize a Sustainable Future With the Product Reuse?

Published 10-18-22

Submitted by Ericsson


Originally published by Ericsson

Csaba Balogh, Strategic Product Manager

Natasha Djordjevic, Strategic Product Manager

Currently, only 8.6 percent of the global economy is circular. It means that more than 90 percent of economic activities still follow a linear approach. Raw materials are extracted, and products are manufactured, used, and discarded. The urge to flip this ratio is here and NOW! How can we contribute to the change? Product Reuse is on top of the list of answers.

The quest for more sustainable business models is louder than ever, and in recent years, it is increasingly present in the telecom industry as well, with good reason.

How can network equipment manufacturers contribute to decreasing carbon emissions in the production and product use cycles, and how can they, at the same time, support their customers in lowering emissions while providing the services?

Let’s take Ericsson as an example. Our biggest impact is known to be the energy consumed by products in the use phase. However, making more energy-efficient products is not enough. A significant part of our carbon footprint comes from the supply chain, including the whole value chain from raw material extraction to customer sites. To reach our Net Zero carbon ambition across our value chain by 2040, we need to reduce carbon emissions also in the supply chain and enable circularity through reuse and recycling.

This is where the concept of circular economy enters the stage.

The circular economy is seen as one of the keys to minimizing resource inputs and reducing waste and carbon emissions. It aims to maximize the efficiency of using finite resources and transitioning to renewable ones. Also, it focuses on the recovery of the materials and products at the end of their useful life. How?

We have the answer.

Don’t produce when you can reuse!

At Ericsson, we have a complete portfolio of Product Reuse services for telecom networks equipment refurbishment, reuse, and recycling. Moreover in 2021, Ericsson introduced its latest offering, Refurbished Network Equipment, as a contribution to a more sustainable future and a great example of how we can enable circularity without compromising.

Through the process of buying back products from customers for refurbishment and reuse, we limit new material extraction while prolonging products’ useful life. And to be sure that we lower the environmental impact with a holistic life cycle perspective, Ericsson Product Reuse offers only cover products that already have a good energy performance. Compared to manufacturing a new equivalent, product refurbishment reduces supply chain carbon emissions by more than 90 percent.

We talk about making a change for real!

circular economy chart

Why does selecting a trusted supplier of reused network equipment matter?

Concerns related to network equipment, especially refurbished ones, can be heard about their reliability in terms of security, quality, and efficiency. That’s why it’s so important to choose trusted suppliers.

Ericsson Refurbished Network Equipment takes care of the full cycle, starting from taking over a product to the moment when it is delivered to a customer, tested, upgraded with the latest revisions and full quality assurance as well as delivered securely in original packaging.

At Ericsson, we always ensure compliance with all legal requirements for data privacy and information security. We have strict procedures for equipment warehousing and transportation and work only with partners and vendors that can uphold all security requirements in our supply chain.

Any security issue in the network is considered a threat to the whole network security level. That’s why data security and physical supply chain security are a crucial part of all testing, screening, and repair activities for any Ericsson equipment, including the refurbished equipment.

Thus, our customers can be assured that the Ericsson Refurbished Equipment is fully reliable, without compromises!

Product Reuse – a way to a more sustainable future

The technology industry (and telecommunications as a part of it) is the fastest-changing market, with innovation and improvements of the products and solutions happening on a daily basis. Most of us are forced into thinking and acting – when a new product is out, you replace the old one (even if it’s not really “old”).

At Ericsson, we think ahead and always strive toward improving our portfolio. A great example is the Ericsson Radio System from 2015, with already included features to enable upgrading to 5G added to avoid early replacements. However, early replacements sometimes happen in our sector because customers still wish to replace a product earlier with a newer model due to improved features.

Such a practice tells us we need to be louder in explaining the value of a sustainable approach in telecommunications. Because, as more and more research and studies show, if we want to ensure sustainability on the global level, we need to make a shift from a linear to a circular economy model. Product ,Reuse stands as a great solution, without alternative, in fact.

Learn more about our work for sustainability and/or contact us if you wish to know more about Refurbished Network Equipment and other Product Reuse offerings.

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Ericsson is one of the leading providers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers. We enable the full value of connectivity by creating game-changing technology and services that are easy to use, adopt, and scale, making our customers successful in a fully connected world.

Our comprehensive portfolio ranges across Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services and Emerging Business; powered by 5G and IoT platforms.

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