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The Warsaw Voice » Other » July 29, 2009
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Green Leaders
July 29, 2009 By Michal Jeziorski   
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Just a few years ago, ecology and environmental protection were hardly a hot topic for businesses. Today a growing number of companies are taking an extra step not to harm the environment.

It is easy to pollute the environment but it is much more difficult to restore it to its original condition. Consumers have started to pay more attention to environmental protection as they do their shopping. They can see the connection between their shopping habits and ecology. People use energy-saving lamps, sort trash, and collect old batteries and worn out electrical and electronic equipment. In many corporations, environmental protection has become a priority. This also applies to the need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Fighting CO2
Ericsson and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Sweden have established a partnership to promote the use of telecommunications technology to reduce global CO2 emissions. The two companies have decided to work together to encourage telecommunications companies to come up with environmentally-friendly solutions and "climate-positive" ideas.

The partnership covers three key areas. First, it introduces a method to assess CO2 emission savings. Second, it seeks to upgrade municipal climate strategies by promoting telecommunication systems that generate low amounts of greenhouse gases. Finally, the partnership supports a platform to promote an environmentally friendly economy.

The telecommunications and IT industry accounts for 2 percent of global CO2 emissions. Ericsson and WWF Sweden say they have the potential to help cut the remaining 98 percent of CO2 emissions produced by other industries by 15 percent. The partnership aims to encourage other sectors of the economy, including transportation, construction and power engineering, to make more efficient use of their telecommunications and IT infrastructure. Such efforts could result in lower CO2 emissions globally.

"Cutting CO2 emissions on a large scale will require us to change our lifestyles and the ways in which we manage companies," said Carl Henric Svanberg, Ericsson president & CEO. "It will also necessitate considerable investment in telecommunication technologies. By 2020, this sector may reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent and Ericsson believes that, thanks to an innovation program aimed at protecting the climate, the figure may be even higher. By introducing broadband cell and landline phone networks, Ericsson has been actively helping to spread services and solutions that assure low CO2 emissions. We believe market leaders can only be companies with the capability to develop while curbing their negative impact on the environment."

By 2013, Ericsson will cut its CO2 emissions by 40 percent, and the target reduction level in 2009 is 10 percent. The company wants to achieve the goal by introducing technologies and services to optimize the consumption of energy by telecom networks. Analyses show that the most damage (67 percent) is done to the environment by the work of operators, disposal of telecom equipment and energy consumed by appliances that keep telecom networks operational. Production of telecommunications equipment as such accounts for the remaining 33 percent of energy consumption.

Cutting energy consumption
One of the most noteworthy pro-environmental campaigns is Power to Change carried out by computer giant Hewlett-Packard. The company encourages personal computer users around the world to protect the environment by changing their habits. As part of the campaign, Hewlett-Packard distributes special devices that measure energy saved as a result of switching off computers that are not in use. Hewlett-Packard estimates that if 100,000 users switched off their computers while leaving work every day, the resulting energy savings could exceed 2,860 kWh, preventing over 1,590 kilograms of greenhouse gases from being released to the atmosphere. This is an equivalent of removing over 105 cars from city streets every day.

Another unquestionable pro-environmental achievement of Hewlett-Packard is the Deskjet D2545 printer, the very first HP printer to be 83 percent made of recycled plastics. Hewlett-Packard has also announced a technological breakthrough in the computer sector, because it has started to use recycled materials to produce new ink cartridges. Since 2005, Hewlett-Packard has used over 14,500 tons of recycled plastic resins to manufacture over 565 million new ink cartridges.

The Ricoh company is an active supporter of the United Nations' World Environment Day agenda. Every year, Ricoh staff around the world take part in the Global Eco Action, which is a range of campaigns to encourage energy savings. The campaigns match the environmental policy of Ricoh, which aims to cut its CO2 emissions by 88 percent by 2050. This year, Ricoh is taking part in the Global Eco Action for the fourth time. Last year, 43,000 staff members at 65 Ricoh branches in 31 countries joined a campaign to save energy and thus help reduce CO2 emissions by 14 tons. During the campaign, lights were turned off for at least 24 hours on all Ricoh billboards and advertisements around the world.

Environmentally aware companies are gaining an extra competitive edge these days. Demand for organic food and other "ecological" goods is growing, largely as a result of the way in which the young generation has been educated. Today customers simply expect companies to be environmentally friendly-and there are many ways to help the environment.
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