Environmental sustainability

We enable our customers to become more resource efficient

The ICT industry is a key player in transforming our way of operating towardsmore environmentally friendly and climate change mitigation. For the ICT industry to be able to effectively reduce the emissions of other industries, it must take care of its own emissions. Climate change mitigation and reducing carbon dioxide emissions is one of our main targets and has been part of our strategy implementation since 2009. 
"Climate change now requires effective action also from businesses, and we want to contribute to the faster achievement of a carbon neutral society. In addition to our own energy efficiency measures, we can impact the change right now, with certified offset credits. Emission reduction has been part of our strategy for more than 10 years. This represents one step on the journey aiming to make our entire energy consumption carbon neutral."

Veli-Matti Mattila, CEO, Elisa

Elisa Environmental Sustainability in Brief

Material topics

  • Minimising our emissions
    • Improving material efficiency
    • Driving climate innovations with customers


    See performance 2020

    • Reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2025, compared to 2016 (Science Based Target 1)
    • Reduce Scope 3 emissions by 16% by 2025, compared to 2016 (Science Based Target 2)
    • Mobile access energy consumption / GB 
    • Emission savings
    • Carbon handprint improvement (new, 2022)

    Risk Management

    Policies and Guidelines

    Governance bodies

    • Corporate Executive Board > Corporate Responsibility Management Board > Environment & Energy Working Group > Energy Market Steering Team

    Employee awareness

    • Elisa mission workshops
    • Trainings about sustainable procurement
    • Regular internal communication and external campaigns

    Focus areas

    Climate targets

    Elisa was among the first Finnish companies in 2018 to adopt goals prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Science Based Target initiative and confirmed as being in line with the Paris Agreement. Elisa become carbon neutral in 2020 as the first Nordic telco.

    Elisa is also one of the leading companies to have ambitious goals in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2025:

    • • We will reduce our emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) by 50% compared to 2016.
    • • We will reduce emissions related to travelling and waste, as well as emissions from the supply chain (Scope 3) by 12% compared to 2016.

    Elisa’s carbon footprint (Scope 1 and 2) has decreased by more than 82% compared to 2016. The measures include the use of renewable electricity, network optimisation and increasingly energy efficient new technologies as well as the utilisation of data centres’ waste heat in the district heating network.  Elisa is a pioneer of flexible work in Finland. The Elisa Ideal Work operating model and opportunities for location-independent work have reduced personnel’s travel and emissions to a significant degree.

    Elisa achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, by implementing both energy reduction measures and acquiring carbon Gold Standard-certified carbon emission offset credits (for energy use that cannot yet be fully based on renewable options, personnel’s commutes and mobility, as well as the network’s backup power).

    Elisa CO2 emission calculation 2020

    Our services help our customers to reduce their carbon footprint

    In addition to reducing carbon footprint the carbon handprint when utilising mobile technologies can have even ten times positive impact*, and the services taking advantage of Elisa’s digitalisation, e.g. virtual meetings, reduce the climate burden of our customers’ operations. We also provide our customers with the efficient recycling of, and repair service for, devices as well as with new, environmentally friendly device options. 

    *) GSMA: The Enablement Effect report

    Join our actions on Planet Company!

    Focusing on climate and energy

    Elisa's environmental policy and a management system guide our work to decrease our key environmental impacts. We are committed to improve the environmental impacts of our business and promote environmentally sustainable operations.

    The energy efficiency working group meets four times a year to monitor the achievement of our energy efficiency and carbon footprint goals. Material climate risks are reviewed in the energy efficiency group once a year. The EU Energy Efficiency Directive obligates Elisa to perform energy audits at company and target level every four years.

    We report our carbon footprint annually in the international CDP survey. In 2020, Elisa achieved an A- result in the Climate Change assessment. Thousands of companies from around the world participate in CDP's annual climate reporting every year.

    Reducing our carbon footprint and that of our customers

    We want to participate to contribute to creation of a carbon neutral society. We are actively working to establish modern, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for our network technologies. By developing our operations, we can also provide sustainable digital services that enable our customers to operate in a more resource-efficient and climate-friendly manner.

    In reducing carbon emissions Elisa focuses on utilising energy from data centers, district cooling solutions, zero-emission energy, continuous improvement of energy efficiency, and new innovative solutions like liquid cooling base stations.

    We assist our customers in reducing their CO2 -emissions 

    We do this by offering services that help our customers act effectively and in an environmentally friendly manner. 

      CO2 footprint -case example of customer using Elisa video service 
      We wanted to understand the carbon footprint for Elisa's digital services, and therefore studied energy consumption through one of the services we offer. We selected a rental movie offered by Elisa Entertainment for this case example.

      Recycling and other environmental impacts

      Recycling of used electricity

      Reuse of used phones

      Recycling at Elisa

      A significant part of the ICT industry’s environmental impact comes from the manufacture of devices. As a service provider we can reduce environmental impacts of manufacturing phase by recycling used equipment in an efficient and appropriate manner.

      In the case of electronics, batteries, rechargeable batteries and packaging, Elisa operates under Extended Producer Responsibility principles by recycling electronical devices, batteries and accumulators, as well as packages.

      In Finland, our shops have WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) collection receptacles, through which waste is taken for re-processing to become material for new electronic devices. Our shops also have collection boxes for mobile phone batteries and other portable batteries. We provide monetary compensation for phones applicable for reuse, given to us by a customer who purchases a new one. 

      In Estonia, Elisa’s shops accept used batteries. Used electronics may be returned without charge to Kuusakoski recycling points, for example. Elisa Estonia’s own electronics waste is recycled at Kuusakoski in Finland.

      We follow statutory regulations and instructions when building our network. We promote product safety by making sure that the products we sell comply with the statutory environmental requirements.

      Reduced biodiversity and its negative impact on ecosystem services, such as natural resources and regulation mechanisms, poses risks for business. Elisa’s business is no different. We can best protect biodiversity by combating climate change.

      We have set science-based targets to reduce our emissions and gained approval from the Science Based Targets initiative.

      We report our carbon footprint annually in the CDP questionnaire. Elisa's climate report for investors and global markets has been annually rated among the best of Nordic telecom companies.

      We are member of the ICT Producer Co-operative and make sure in our part that used electronical devices are recycled. ICT Producer Co-operative. Elisa shops have Data SER collection containers in which devices and batteries can be left for recycling and disposal in a safe manner.

      We have a contract with Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd regarding the transfer of producer responsibility for the packaging; I.e. that recycling of packaging waste is in accordance with the requirements of law in Finland.

      Elisa has an agreement with Recser Oy regarding the transfer of extended producer responsibility for batteries and accumulators, ensuring that the recycling of waste batteries and accumulators in Finland is in accordance with the requirements of the law.

      Elisa supports WWF Finland's Wildlive live streaming service with digital solutions.

      Other environmental considerations

      We follow statutory regulations and instructions when building our network. We promote product safety by making sure that the products we sell comply with the statutory environmental requirements.

      Industrial processes of many companies have significant impact on clean water, for them making it a vital area of corporate environmental responsibility. Elisa does not have for example such manufacturing operations, underlined by the fact that 97 per cent of its employees are office workers. Our operations are furthermore mostly located in the Nordics and Baltics, which do not have similar water scarcity problems as many other regions globally. Elisa non-financial reporting has therefore focused on other areas of environmental impact and so far not reported water usage, but we nevertheless evaluate doing so in the continuation.

      Reduced biodiversity and its negative impact on ecosystem services, such as natural resources and regulation mechanisms, is another area that poses risks for any kind of business. Elisa can best protect biodiversity and clean water availability by combating climate change.


      What are Elisa's climate targets? Elisa achieved carbon neutrality in 2020. This means the partial (approximately 11%) offsetting of emissions.  Following this, the aim is to reduce the need for offsetting and energy consumption by as much and as fast as possible, and to pay attention to emissions generated outside of Elisa’s core operations (Scope 3) throughout the entire supply chain.

      What is offsetting? In practice company supports climate positive actions equalling thos measures it is not able to reduce immediately on its own. In this context, offsetting in general refers to an operator purchasing emission reduction units outside of its own area of operations which offset the operator’s remaining greenhouse gas emissions.

      Why is Elisa offsetting? Elisa’s primary objective has been to identify its own emissions and look for means to reduce them. Emission reductions and actions have been carried out since 2009. Given that we cannot eliminate all emissions generated by our operations, we use offsetting to accelerate climate action while systematically looking for ways to reduce our offsetting portion.

      What is the improved cookstoves project and why did Elisa choose it? The project reduces global gas house emissions and promotes the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project supports acquiring more energy efficient stoves for Ugandan families, thereby reducing the need for firewood and local deforestation.  Further information 

      Elisa chose the project because it is effective, has an external certification (Gold Standard) and accords with the SDGs. The emission reductions are new and additional, meaning that we would not be able to achieve them without investments in this project. Further information

      Is offsetting equal to greenwashing? When you have primarily identified and are reducing your own emissions, you can cover emissions not under your direct control with certified offsetting which produces additional emission reductions. The key is to achieve the majority of the emission reductions by changing your own operations.

      Is the offsetting paid for by Elisa’s customers? Elisa’s offsetting is about the company’s voluntary climate action, the costs of which are not collected from customers in the form of voluntary payments, for example. Nor do the costs have a direct impact on products or services.