Environmental sustainability

We enable our customers to become more resource efficient

The ICT industry is a key player in transforming our way of operating to be more environmentally friendly and to mitigate climate change. 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 are two of our main targets and have been part of our strategy implementation since 2009. 

Elisa Environmental Sustainability in Brief

Material topics

We enable our customers to become more resource efficient

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


    See performance 2021

    • Reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2025, compared to 2016 (Science Based Target 1)
    • Reduce Scope 3 emissions by 12% 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 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

    Climate targets

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

    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). 

    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

    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 2022, 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.

    Energy efficiency of our mobile network

    As early as 2009, Elisa introduced the unlimited data business model, which has contributed to the development of the Finnish information society and more sustainable digital solutions. Finns are among the biggest users of data in the world. Using 5G enables the transfer of larger volumes of data over mobile networks.

    Although modern 5G technology is much more energy efficient than previous network generations, the increase in data volumes will increase the consumption of electricity. Since 2016, we have improved the energy efficiency of our Finnish mobile network by 78%. We will continue to improve our energy efficiency by rolling back 3G technology and further optimising 5G, for example.

    Elisa uses 100% renewable electricity in Finland and Estonia, also to produce mobile data services. To increase the availability of renewable energy in Finland, Elisa has signed a ten-year agreement for producing our own wind power, starting in 2023, covering half of the electricity needed for Elisa´s entire mobile network in Finland.

    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 carbon emissions 

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

    • We recycle used devices and offer repair service (Fonum)
    • We were the first in Finland to offer Fairphone
    • Elisa Videra's virtual interactive services reduce travel 
    • Elisa Polystar helps operators in network optimisation and reducing electricity consumption, download the white-paper to see how
    • Elisa IndustrIQ offers improved energy and material efficiency
    • We utilise waste heat from data centers

    Recycling at Elisa

    A significant part of the ICT industry’s environmental impact comes from the manufacture of hardware and devices. This production involves consumption of raw materials,  water and energy. Thus, for the industry it is essential to promote both improvements resource efficient manufacturing as well as recycling. As a service provider, we can have a positive impact on waste and environment, by promoting reuse, refurbishment and recycling of devices in an efficient and appropriate manner.

    We promote product safety by making sure that the products we sell comply with the statutory environmental requirements. Concerning electronics, batteries, rechargeable batteries and packaging, Elisa operates under the 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 devices are taken for re-processing to become material for new electronic products. Our shops also have collection boxes for mobile phone batteries and other portable batteries. We provide monetary compensation for phones applicable for reuse, for example when purchasing a new one.  In Estonia, Elisa’s shops accept used batteries. Used electronics may be returned without charge to for instance Kuusakoski recycling points. Elisa Estonia’s own electronics waste is recycled.

    We follow statutory regulations and instructions when building our networks. In our network building and maintenance, we reuse equipment when appropriate, otherwise hardware is recycled, and materials reused in an appropriate manner. 

    Waste-related data is collected through Elisa’s sustainability reporting and monitoring system and is based on data by partners or own estimates.

    In our offices the recycling and waste management is organised by local partners. We meet with them regularly to discuss and review the performance. 

    Carbon footprint case example of customer using Elisa's 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 Viihde service for this case example.

    Other environmental considerations

    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 predominantly located in the Nordics and Baltics, which do not have similar water scarcity problems as many other regions globally. Some of our water consumption is related to our network operations in Finland and Estonia.

    The biggest direct water related impacts in Elisa’s own operations come from the offices. Elisa follows the standards of the local water supply networks. Elisa discloses water usage on a level of granularity relevant for the operations. With an increasing number of international offices, we will in the continuation revisit our policies and actions on water.

    We acknowledge that significant portion of our water consumption comes through indirect water usage from our supply chain related to manufacturing of products. Therefore, the water risk aspects are increasingly a part of our continuous supply chain dialogue, where we can also identify water-related goals.

    We are all directly and  indirectly dependent on biodiversity and natural ecosystems. Reduction of biological diversity have negative impact on for example the well-being of employees and the supply chain. In addition to that, evolving 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.

    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.