Nokia wants to help you be green

I’ve been cogitating a lot about many of the little things I learned while at Nokia World 2008. The N97 is a neato device, but Nokia has a lot more going on that merits discussion. For example, we met with Kirsi Sormunen, head of environmental affairs at Nokia, and she had some very interesting things to say.

Ms. Sormunen claimed that as the world’s fifth leading brand, responsibility is not a choice, it’s a requirement for Nokia. They’ve spent more than a decade making environmental decision-making an integral part of the business process. Current publicity for their environmental policies are being demanded by stakeholders, and Ms. Sormunen stated emphatically “[it’s] not a marketing issue.” Environmental responsibility is part of the entire supply chain, from the selection of parts used, to design considerations and consumer needs, and end-of-life recycling. The Nokia Environment Backgrounder is a good place to start if you want to know more.

Recycling was a big part of Nokia World. The USB sticks containing the press kits all say “I am made of recycled plastic”. The pens were emblazoned with “I used to be … car parts.” I don’t have any way to verify these statements, but nothing at Nokia World gave me any reason to doubt them.

Nokia’s doing a lot of seemingly little things that add up to make a big difference. In the two years since moving to compact packaging, they’ve saved several tons of paper, saved the equivalent of 12,000 trucks on the road, and saved 470 million euros. Internally they’re promoting video conferencing and telecommuting. All of the Nokia employees with which I spoke agreed that these decisions make good business sense all around.

Nokia, along with a couple of other big companies, is a member of the Eco-Patent Commons, “offering the rights to environmentally friendly technologies for free.” That’s a pretty cool move, and I think it deserves a little more attention than it’s likely to get.

So Nokia Nokia Nokia … what about you, right? What’s Nokia doing to help you directly? Check out GreenExplorer, a site in which they’re participating, along with the World Wildlife Fund and Lonely Planet. In addition to lots of green travel advice and green living suggestions, plans are in the works for community participation so that folks can coordinate and communicate with like-minded folks. Also of interest is the we:offset application for mobile phones running S60. It’s a personal carbon offset application that utilizes the phone’s GPS to automatically detect location change, calculate the amount of carbon used, and offers you the opportunity to purchase offset credits.