EARTH developed recommendations for everything from more efficient components in radio base stations to solutions on the radio network level, all of which can be integrated with existing technology. Key components of EARTH‚Äôs proposals have already been implemented, in some cases in an operator‚Äôs test bed, and provide theoretical savings as well as practical ones.
‚ÄúWe have taken ‚Äėgreen‚Äô to the heart of our research programs,‚ÄĚ says Tod Sizer, head of access research at Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, regarding his company‚Äôs involvement in the consortium. ‚ÄúOur commitment to initiatives such as EARTH is a prominent example of how Alcatel-Lucent is driving sustainable innovation. We know it cannot be accomplished alone, and we need models of action like EARTH.‚ÄĚ
Jan F√§rjh, vice president and head of Ericsson Research, adds that his company was glad ‚Äúto have a leading role in the EARTH project, and to contribute to creating a broader understanding of trends in network energy consumption over the next ten years. It will be crucial for telecom companies to work even more actively [in] implementing the best-practice concepts‚ÄĚ advanced by the consortium.
EARTH‚Äôs members include project coordinator Alcatel-Lucent; Ericsson, which took on the role of technical manager; NXP Semiconductors France; DOCOMO Communications Laboratories Europe GmbH; Telecom Italia S.p.A.; CEA; University of Surrey; Technische Universit√§t Dresden; imec; IST (Technical University of Lisbon); University of Oulu; Budapest University of Technology and Economics; TTI; and ETSI.
Telecom Italia has adopted additional environmental standards for its suppliers and includes sustainability benchmarks in its procurement strategy for all of its products and services purchased.
European carriers aren't the only ones in the world with an eye toward greening their businesses. In the U.S. there are several standout carriers, which were identified in a recent Verdantix report and ranked based on their commitment to sustainability.
The report, titled ‚ÄúThis Green Quadrant,‚ÄĚ compares 11 sustainable telecoms solutions provided by 12 of the largest telecoms service providers (telcos), and contains interviews with 15 influential U.S.-based decision makers. The report identifies the five most sustainable telcos as AT&T, BT, Orange (France T√©l√©com), Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Enterprise Solutions, which use sustainability as a business strategy.
‚ÄúFirms were assessed on 11 sustainable telecoms capabilities, including video conferencing, web collaboration, sustainable hosting, and cloud computing, as well as on the momentum of their sustainability strategy and performance,‚ÄĚ according to Verdantix‚Äôs Emily Hobbs. ‚ÄúAT&T leads the U.S. sustainable telecoms market in customer offerings, and Sprint [leads] in corporate sustainability performance.‚ÄĚ
Sprint announced its 2011 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions metrics, showing that the company is now halfway toward meeting its absolute reduction goal of 20 percent by 2017. It is the only U.S. telco to publicly acknowledge such a goal, and in 2011 Sprint reduced emissions from the previous year by 3.5 percent.
‚ÄúThe Verdantix recognition is a tremendous honor, especially since the study examines the larger role our industry can play in reducing businesses‚Äô impact through travel reduction and smart machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions,‚ÄĚ says Bob Azzi, Sprint‚Äôs senior vice president of Network. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs also a perfect opportunity to share our just-completed 2011 emissions reporting since, while the study accurately describes a potential telecom emissions boom resulting from increasing bandwidth, we at Sprint have taken great strides to implement a network vision that enhances customer experience while increasing efficiency.‚ÄĚ
Companies such as AT&T are extending their sustainability initiatives to provide tools to customers so they can reduce their impact. ‚ÄúEnvironmental benefits of sustainable telecoms solutions include: reduced emissions, from less business travel and lower energy consumption,‚ÄĚ Hobbs says. ‚ÄúSustainable telecoms providers are quantifying the cost and sustainability benefits of solutions for their customers. AT&T, Orange and Verizon have web-based calculators for their video conferencing services to enable customers to measure sustainability benefits. BT has an online tool for customers to use to track their savings.‚ÄĚ