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Connecting a circular society

Humanity has been living as if the world’s resources are limitless when, in fact, they are very limited. The take-make-waste model is at the core of climate change – along with social injustice.

We have no reason to keep doing business as usual. But we have all the reasons to enter the age of resourcefulness. This is why we are committed to making the shift to a circular economy. In our own operations, as well as being a driving force of circularity in our industry and in society as a whole.

This way we can greatly reduce our own impact and that of our industry, while actively empowering a shift to a society that is truly unlimited.

Tele2 and circularity

Leaving the linear – by focusing on what matters most

In the realm of digitalization and connectivity, companies and industries often pride themselves with being sustainable by default. This is true, to some extent. But just like any other industry, we still have a long way to go in order to really reduce our impact.

This is why we prioritize minding our own business, as the first phase of our circular journey. Our own operations and offers are currently morphing into something circular – and we are already at a stage where we, for example, can offer Device-as-a-Service solutions to our B2B clients. But our circular ambitions do not stop there.

A circular society is a connected society

“The use of mobile technology and digitalization enables a global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of almost 10 times greater than the global carbon footprint of the mobile industry itself. Our enablement effect could result in 40% of the emissions savings in the four industries that make up 80% of global emissions”.

Read more in the GSMA Report

Telecom and connectivity are at the heart of the circular society. Such a society is one where communities, businesses and people are connected to an array of resourceful products and services. For example, a car sharing service is nothing but a great idea if there is no infrastructure connecting it to its users.

A circular economy is not an end in itself. Its sole purpose is to bring society out of conflict with a living, thriving planet – and into harmony. Through circularity efforts, we can also contribute to increased cost efficiency – and more – for other actors in a circular economy. At the same time, we help minimize their footprint on the environment and biodiversity. Therefore,  we consider the circular shift to be a multifaceted collaboration. And we urge all to join.

We can clearly see the possibilities of this shift, witnessing a rising demand for circular products and services. We are proud and excited about our vision of Tele2 as an enabler in a society where wastelessness is the new normal.

Own operations

Linking our wasteless value chain

Tele2 was born out of a desire to challenge norms in order to find superior solutions. We know that ambition and efficiency are key to getting the right results. And this is especially true when finding new ways of reducing our impact on the planet.

Tele2 has reduced emissions in its own operations by over 95% and is carbon offsetting remaining emissions until they can be reduced to zero, well ahead of the set deadline. And aiming for circularity in our value chain, which includes our suppliers’ impact, is a natural progression from here. A progression in which no unnecessary time or resources are wasted.

Going for the goals

We have identified purchased goods as our main remaining source of climate impact. In March 2022, we became the first telco in Sweden to publicly commit to 100 % circularity for network equipment by 2025.

In order to improve resource use throughout our value chain, we have identified these long-term goals:

  • By 2025, Tele2 will deliver 100% circularity for network equipment.
  • By 2026, Tele2 will capture new business opportunities in all segments by advancing circular economy in society and reducing negative climate impact throughout our value chain.
  • By 2026, take back at least 100,000 mobile phones for reuse or recycling.
  • By 2030, take back at least 30% of all distributed mobile phones for reuse or recycling.
  • Reduce scope 3 GHG emissions by 60% per subscription by 2029 using 2019 as a base year (target approved by the Science-Based Target initiative).

Along with the above, we have also set short term goals to kick start our circular endeavors:

  • Defining a scalable circular business model concept and evaluating its commercial viability.
  • Evaluating improvements and an expansion of our current circular offering within B2B.
  • Establishing a sustainable process for handling and logistics of network equipment.
  • Evaluating improvements to how we refurbish customer devices and equipment.
  • Engaging with our top suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions.

Accelerating the circular shift with a hands on approach

A goal is nothing less than a clearly stated call to action. And every action is a step towards a state that is superior to the one before.

Even though the road may be long, the reward is evident and instant for every step we take. For us, the planet – and our industry. We have identified actions that will help us reach our circularity goals, while setting new standards for how the telecom industry conducts business.

  • By putting pressure on our suppliers, we can reduce the impact of our value chain while we help suppliers raise their sustainability bar.
  • By increasing reuse of hardware, we move towards a more circular business model that adds customer value – while setting an example for the industry of how to design out waste from their offers.
  • By collecting e-waste, create an ecosystem that reduces our impact and our costs that can serve as an example for other telcos.

All business is the planet’s business

Since our purpose is to enable a society of unlimited possibilities, we naturally seek more intelligent ways of doing business. Our business is our most important contribution to sustainable development. And over time, business impact and sustainability will be hard to separate.

Circularity means a potentially high and positive environmental, social and economic impact. We have also identified business opportunities in the wake of circularity. We are set to keep expanding our offering with ever more powerful ways to accelerate the circular potential.

Circularity is also of importance to our stakeholders, as we are happy to see a growing customer demand for low impact products and services. As circularity becomes part of our business, we also create higher customer value.

In order to identify and develop circular opportunities for devices, Tele2 has taken an active part in an industry-wide project led by the GSMA. The GSMA is a global organization that unifies the mobile industry in order to explore and innovate around business environments and societal change. Through this, we are discovering opportunities that will drive circularity – not only on our own home turf, but for the entire telecom industry.


Circularity is unlimited

Although our focus is presently on our own operations, we also continue to dig into the broader circular scope. A circular value chain will be a major milestone, but acting as an enabler of the circular society will have an impact on a whole other level.

Enabling a circular society is essentially a collaborative undertaking, where Tele2 provides infrastructure and other solutions that are needed in order to reduce impact and resource use on all levels of society.

It is also a collaborative effort internally at Tele2. This is where our strength in numbers and perspectives as a major telco becomes evident and vital. For example, by bringing together various competences – such as sustainability and IoT expertise – we can create innovative and resourceful solutions that add customer value while also advancing the circular economy.


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