Ericsson, ICA & BillerudKorsnäs: Climate and Business Impact through Sustainability

Ericsson, ICA & BillerudKorsnäs: Climate and Business Impact through Sustainability

Ulrika Mann

Ulrika Mann,

As leaders from Ericsson, ICA and BillerudKorsnäs gathered for Cognizant’s Efficiency for Good session, they witnessed about an increasing sense of urgency, where collaboration, leadership and innovations lead the way. And the best part? Sustainability comes with business benefits.  

What if paper packing is the solution? The question sets the sustainability direction for BillerudKorsnäs as it challenges conventional packaging. According to Olle Steffner, Director IP Management, BillerudKorsnäs’ believes that forestry plays a key role to combat climate change: forests must be utilized sustainably, and wood, biofuel and other forest products should replace fossil-based alternatives. BillerudKorsnäs’ own renewable bio-energy accounts for nearly 97% of its fuel use in production.

However, efficiency isn’t only about a company’s own products, but also about addressing the whole value chain. Change is driven by targeting the major global challenges together with customers and partner. The focus is on littering (the visual sign of a circularity not working), climate and food waste.

Thanks to innovation, BillerudKorsnäs can now offer sustainable solutions that increase customers’ profitability, give BillerudKorsnäs a competitive advantage, and improve the overall environmental impact. One example is QuickFill, a porous sack paper for cement that results in less dust and fewer machine stoppages due to maintenance. 

Suppliers, Operations and Customers
With 16 million customers every week, ICA knows that customers buying ecological products are more profitable than others. Maria Smith, Senior Manger Sustainability Strategy at ICA, says that ICA sees clear business benefits in sustainability. The company is the first grocery retail company in Sweden to get its climate targets approved by Science Based Targets Initiative, and has decided to be climate-neutral by 2020, encompassing the climate impact of operations in stores, pharmacies, warehouses and offices from areas such as refrigerants, electricity and goods transports. 

Recently, ICA decided on a new food waste target: to cut it by half until 2025. This will be done by implementing smart systems that prevent waste, using tools in operations that help identifying products, and applying new, circular business models – like turning fruit that can’t be sold in the stores into juice.

The latter is often performed in collaboration with external partners. ICA’s overall sustainability ambition covers suppliers, its own operations and customers, because to succeed, you need to connect with others. This is also done through digital tools, like ICA’s app My Climate Goal where customers can follow the climate impact from their food shopping. 

Connectivity for a Sustainable Transformation
To group common targets and leadership are also essential to succeed, something that Ericsson’s Head of Sustainability Mats Pellbäck Scharp agrees on. Only when leadership and policies are in place, can we fully utilize the available technologies. 

Ericsson, that managed to reduce its own CO2 emissions by nearly 50% between 2012 and 2017, joined the Science Based Target Initiative in 2017. The company believes that connectivity can help tackle a range of global challenges, since ICT (information and communication technology) has a unique potential. According to Ericsson research, ICT solutions could help to reduce GHG emissions by up to 15 percent by 2030, thanks to e.g. connected data sources for smarter traffic, autonomous electric transportation and smart grids that turn on and of electronic equipment. 

Global Efficiency Projects
Sandy Gopalan, Senior Vice President at Cognizant, says that his team increasingly gets requests about solutions for sustainable purposes. More and more, the driving forces are not only about limiting the environmental impacts, but also about financial matters.

Technology can play a major role in helping companies improve the way they approach environmental trade-offs in their existing operations and cut costs, like the mining major that saves $20m/year through the use of freight analytics, while also reducing its CO2 emissions by potentially 23% for a single voyage.

The means to achieve real change for the sake of sustainability, are obviously here already. It's time to start acting; all of the speakers emphasize the importance to act urgently. If you’d like to learn more, the whole seminar is available on demand