Sustainable Innovation

At Nokia, Sustainable Development is important lever to attract talented people
October 1, 2010, 2:57 pm
Filed under: Best Practices in Finland | Tags: , , ,

Sustainability has risen high on Nokias corporate agenda, tells Kirsi Sormunen, Global Head of Sustainability of Nokia. Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility remain key in relation to all stakeholders. Mrs Sormunen remarks that Sustainability has notably become an important means to retain and attract talented people.


Kirsi Sormunen, Nokias Global Head Sustainability

Nokia is founded in 1865 in Finland. In the early days producer of rubber, paper and cables, it has grown to an international high-tech company that is currently the world market leader in mobile phones (1). The Nokia brand is within the top ten most valued brands in the world (Interbrand survey 2010, 2). Nokia is employing worldwide 124k employees and is generating 41 billion euros revenues (1).

Nokias organisation is built up in different units (3). Nokias Unit Mobile Solutions is responsible for the smart phone and mobile computer portfolio and mobile internet services (think about maps, navigation, music, messaging and media). Nokia Mobile phones is responsible for ‘affordable’ mobile phones. Nokia Markets manages supply chains, channels as well as brand and marketing activities. Nokia Siemens Networks delivers wireless and fixed infrastructure, where as the recently acquired Navteq concentrates on digital map and location based content.


Examples of Nokias product portfolio : mobile (smart) phones (here : Nokia 3720 and smart phone Nokia E7),  fixed and wireless mobile infrastructure (Nokia Siemens Networks) and digital map content (example Navteq).

Nokia has been widely recognized as Sustainability leader in the sector. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index awarded Nokia as the World Technology Super Sector leader in 2009  (1) and 2010, and the NGO Greenpeace has identified Nokia as the most Greenest IT provider (4). 

Within Nokia, Mrs Kirsi Sormunen is leading the Sustainable Development activities. Before becoming head of Nokias Environmental operations  (2003) and  Global Head of Sustainablility (2009), Mrs Sormunen covered various senior finance risk and treasury positions within Nokia, which allows her to have a good understanding of all business aspects. In her current role as Global Head of all Sustainability projects, reporting into Esko Aho, who is a member  of Nokias Group Executive Board, lead by CEO Stephen Elop.

Mrs Sormunen heads a small  team at corporate headquarters and leads  a network of sustainability managers and experts throughout the company, each with their own specialties. The corporate unit manages non-business specific issues such as  NGO partnerships, Corporate Social Investment, philanthropy and people in the business units are responsible for productand operations related issues including materials & substance management, energy efficiency, eco services, supplier requirements  and product take-back programs.

‘Sustainability is very high up the agenda at Nokia’, explains Mrs Sormunen, and ‘integrated in ‘everything we do, from they way we look at the product value chain and development of new products, to purchase policies’. She adds ‘We believe that green development can go hand in hand with business development’

1.    What are Nokias CSR Goals and how have they been created ?

The Sustainability Objectives and KPIs are created by the Sustainability team in cooperation with the business representatives, controlled by the steering group of management members. The goals are an integral part of the 10 priority targets of Nokia and embedded in execution plans on group level. This means that they are also related to the remuneration of individual managers as appropriate.

Nokia has identified five key focus CSR areas (5) :

1)     Accessibility : Improving access to communication and information by developing new application, notably for people with limitations in hearing, speech, vision, mobility and cognition.

2)     Environment : Management of environmental issues with a life cycle approach. Special attention to Materials and substance management, Energy efficiency both in our operations and in our products, Take-back and recycling of used devices and Developing mobile services to promote more sustainable lifestyles

3)     Education : Nokia partners with education companies, governments and organisations to create solutions that can have a significant social impact, achieve scale and be sustained

4)     Supply Chain : Environmental and social issues are an essential part Nokia Supplier Requirements. Nokia also engages with industry partners and NGOs to develop industry wide supplier assessments. 

5)     Human Rights : Nokia’s respects the UN Declaration on Human Rights, ILO standards, and UN Global Compact principles. It attention goes to typical human rights challenges such as workplace safety and labor practices in our own operations and those of our suppliers.

Sustainability development is encouraged by all companies stakeholders . Mrs Sormunen emphasizes that all different stakeholders are involved in the process (shareholders, suppliers, partners, NGO’s, customers, employees). She remarks that Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development have become an important means to attract and retain talented people. 

2. Are CSR and Sustainability motors for Innovation at Nokia ?

At Nokia, Sustainable Development is certainly a driver for Innovation. Mrs Sormunen gives a few examples of Innovation triggered by the companies sustainability objectives :

1) New ways of materials use : Nokia is frontrunner on the use of eco-friendly materials throughout its whole product portfolio. The company has abandoned brominated and chlorinated flame retardants and PVC from all its phones. Secondly, Nokia has been piloting new technologies such bio-plastics or recycled materials. Although not pilots always lead to market introductions yet, Nokia continues to test and develop alternative ways of material use to minimize environmental impact.

2) Energy efficiency :  Nokia tries to embed new various energy efficiency features such as power save modes, optimized screen brightness and screen savers. As well it continues to increase the performance and stand-by energy consumption of chargers strongly (from 1000 mWatts to 30 mWatts in the best in class charegers in the last 8 years).

3) Packaging reduction : Smaller consumer packaging led to 30% less packaging materials and savings of 500 million euro in just two years (2006-2008).

4) Take back services : Nokia has the largest take-back program in the industry covering about 5000 collection points in 85 countries. Nokia develops different take back concepts, to be adapted to national habits and incentives. An example : recycling an old phone generates a small compensation that can be exchanged by a voucher for airtime in one country, whereas in another country people prefer to make a donation to an eco charity.

5) Nokia Ovi Life Tools . Ovi Life tools for agriculture for instance, allow people to take informed decisions, grow their business and create positive social new impact, in this case, to start with, in India.


Ovi Life Tools : Nokias services for mobile phones that facilitate life and business in developing countries. Example : Agriculture Realtime Information in India (6) More information :

3.    Does the economic crisis impact Nokias Sustainability activities ?

Mrs Sormunen states that Sustainability has already been entered in all business processes. It is here to stay. It has become a licence to operate. To Nokia, it is certainly not just ‘a hygiene factor’, just a necessity. Nokia wants to stay on top of the sustainability developers and remain leader. The economical crisis does not change this.

4. What are outlooks ? How will responsibilities develop ?

Sustainable Development will remain and increasingly embedded in all business functions. To orchestrate the process, train the people and bring in best practices, it will remain important to have central people that overview all Sustainable Developent projects. Dedicated champions and specialists  will remain to have key role also in the future

Sources :

1.; 2.; 3.; 4.  ; 5. ; 6. ;


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I would like to hear more on how did nokia manage to retain and attract good employees

Comment by Malatjie Jeffrey Fourrie

Dear Malatjie,

Nokia explained that their CSR programs contribute to the retention and attraction of good employees, as these programs match the personal ambitions of an increasing group of (Generation Y) employees : to work for a company that makes good business as well as does something good for the society. I hope this provides an answer to your question. Good luck with your business.

Comment by thegreentake

Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article.
Thank you for providing this information.

Comment by โทรศัพท์มือถือ LG

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article here at my home.

Comment by Harga HP

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