Getting Digi With It: Interview with Ericsson's Bhushan Joshi

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

AS (00:09): Hey, everyone. Welcome to Get Real, a podcast to empower you with sustainability. Now, how so you can improve your quality of life while doing your part to protect the planet. I'm your host, Alissa Stevens an ecopreneur, Star Wars nerd, and relentlessly positive champion for transformation. Join me as I delve into global sustainability issues, break them down, and most importantly provide you with actions so you can be an eco leader and your everyday life. In this episode, we're getting Digi with it. With Bhushan Joshi at Ericsson, talking about the environmental impacts of digital networks, technology products, and how digital connectivity and inclusion can create a more just and sustainable world. Bhushan Joshi is the head of sustainability and corporate responsibility for Ericsson in North America. He has 15 years of experience in sustainability, energy management and management consulting at Ericsson. He's focused on advocating for the role of digital connectivity in driving exponential climate action and sustainable development. He has an MBA in sustainable business practices from Duquesne university and holds undergraduate degrees from Ferris State University. And Bharati video deemed university. I hope I said that, right.

BJ (01:31): It's Duquesne.

AS (01:34): Okay. There we go. So welcome. How are you today? Good, Alissa, how are you? I'm fantastic. And I've been looking forward to this conversation all week, so I cannot wait to jump. Let's just jump right in. Shall we let's do it. Okay, cool. So first I want to set the scene for our listeners. Can you tell me, uh, just a quick couple of minutes, who is Ericsson and how can consumers relate to Ericsson?

BJ (02:02): Yeah, I know. And Alissa, thank you so much for this opportunity. I'm looking forward to this. Um, so what was Ericsson? Lars Magnus, Ericsson and Hilda Ericsson founded Ericsson about 140 years ago. They started this company with the belief that access to communication is a basic human right. Um, and what they did is they helped start this telecommunications revolution that I think has just transformed how humans connect and how we collaborate globally. Right? Um, through this 140 year journey, Ericsson of course has reinvented ourselves many, many times as technologies shifted our business models changed, but we've never lost sight of our founding principles for which is that we are focused on innovating technology for good. I love that. The other interesting thing that I find is that Hilda Ericsson, I think, is a role model for everyone and being a woman, she was involved in the business and she was responsible for the work that happened in their factory.

BJ (03:03): There are letters that go back and forth between the two where she kind of talks about, you know, business things like deliveries and payments and vendors, and how do you manage them? Um, you know, it's history like this, that makes me really proud to be part of Ericsson. Um, and now with the introduction of 5g, um, the quest continues right. The next chapter is being written as we speak. Um, so where do we stand today? So today Ericsson's company purpose is to empower an intelligent, sustainable and connected world. We have about 99,000 plus employees, and we are in 180 countries around the world. We're focused on providing information control, solution, information, communications, technology to companies like at and T Verizon. T-Mobile Vodafone, Airedale you name it? You know, the telecom providers that we rely on. Um, so I think the second part of your question was how can, how can everyone relate to Ericsson? So, you know, just that think about, think about this, think about all of these moments in your life. If you're like me, I wake up. First thing I do is I check my email. Then I look at news. Then I listen to a podcast like this one, right? And how different now would the world be? If that connectivity did not exist for you?

BJ (04:21): Right? So if you think about it now, Ericsson provides the connectivity solutions that make, that's making all of these things possible and modern life possible about 40% of the world's mobile data traffic is carried over Ericsson's networks. So every time, 40%, 40%, right? So every time you pick up the phone, you access social media, you use maps for navigation, stream music, a good portion of that data is coming over Ericsson's networks. So it's, it's something that we don't see, but it's part of our everyday life.

AS (05:00): Ooh, what you just said is something really juicy because I, so, okay. Listeners, what you don't know is we're about to talk about a bunch of things that will ground and make tangible, how technology impacts sustainability. So what you just said was really juicy before we get into that, though, I want to know what was your light bulb moment for sustainability? Cause you've been in this industry for 15 years, and I know that there's -- what your story relates to technology and what you see as possible for the world through technology.

BJ (05:39): Right? So I think for me, it wasn't so much as one single movement movement or moment, it was kind of like series of things that have happened throughout my life. Right. That I was just like, Oh, okay. I think, you know, this is kind of profound and there's something that we need to learn from this. So give you a quick example. So I grew up in India, um, and I'm talking about back in the, you know, late seventies, early eighties, um, my family on my mother's side had a farm, you know, in India, in a village. Right. And you know, the, the, the family and all the cooking right. Used to happen on wood-burning stoves. Right. Very polluting, not enough ventilation. So here's, you got my grandma cooking, you know, food over a wood-burning fire stove. Right. So my grandfather at that time came up with this innovation, which is the most simplest thing you can think of.

BJ (06:31): It's a, it's, what's called a Goldberg gas plant Gober means cow manure in India. Right. And so it's an anaerobic digester. So what it does is you take how manure you, you capture the methane that comes out of it and then use that to burn and have essentially clean burning fuel. Right. For right. So that was kind of a moment for me to think about, you know, it's, it's innovation and it's a simple innovation that can change lives. I mean, you know, my grandmother is now not breathing harmful, you know, fumes coming off from an, you know, half burnt wood. Um, and it's an innovation because it takes waste, turns into something that you could use. And the outcome is basically fertilizer that goes on the field. So that's circular economy right there for you. So, you know, is that happened throughout my life. Um, and of course I think the most pivotal moment for me was when I was here in the U S and I watched, you know, Al Gore's movie, the inconvenient truth. And that was, I think when the penny dropped and I said, you know, this is something that I want to focus on, um, in my life. Um, and, and I've been working in this field ever since.

AS (07:41): That was my light bulb moment to that movie. Right. You're like sitting there watching it and you're like, Oh, what? Yeah. Yeah. So cool. Okay. Well, I I'm really inspired by that because I think, um, there are so many little things that we can do that not only are empowering, but are inspiring. So I love what you said and that's, it's like, that's your family, right? That's it's, you know, with sustainability, yes. There's impacting communities and people that you might not ever even meet or know their names, but that's the real thing about sustainability. You take those actions and that means your family gets to live a better life and you have a better quality of life too.

BJ (08:30): Right. And think about it now that technology so simple as it was deployed back, then think about what would happen if we were to apply that technology at scale across the globe.

AS (08:42): Oh yeah. Unreal. It would be unreal. Okay. So what are Ericsson's key sustainability focus areas and how do they manifest, uh, globally and in North America? Okay.

BJ (08:56): So, so Ericsson's key sustainability -- we have three focus areas, three sustainability and corporate responsibility focus areas. The first one is responsible business. The second one is climate action and the third one is digital inclusion. So let's kind of take one of them, each one at a time. So responsible business is all about being a responsible citizen. Um, it's about being a responsible citizen for all of the stakeholders that we interact with our customers, our employees, you know, broader society out there, you know, it's about going beyond compliance, um, and, and really using this as a way to earn people's trust. Um, so topics underneath are like occupational health safety, five January, you know, radio waves, um, you know, and things like anticorruption. So, so, you know, you have kind of, all of that they're, um, aware, I think the most recent example that I can give of how it manifests is, you know, Ericsson recently partnered to drive net zero drive a coalition that is focused on driving net zero, uh, carbon emissions in our supply chains.

BJ (10:02): Um, so this coalition has members like Delia, which is an operator in Sweden, Ikea BT group, and Unilever. Um, and this initiative is focused on small and medium sized enterprises. So these SMEs, small and medium size enterprises, um, account for 80% of the total business in this world. Right? Yeah. And, and we're not talking about big companies, we're talking about people that we would procure from in our supply chain. So if we, as a society need to achieve the goals to decarbonize, you know, our, our economies based on science, um, and in alignment with the Paris climate Accords, then these SMEs need to have the resources and the tools that they need to decarbonize.

AS (10:48): Yep. And just for listeners, if, if anyone's unfamiliar by decarbonize, you mean cleaning up the carbon emissions that are in the environment and lessening also the carbon emissions that are put out in the environment,

BJ (11:02): Right? Yeah. So it's, it's kind of attacking it from both sides. Right. You know, it's picking out that's there it's it's, uh, and then emitting less. So. Yeah. Yup. Um, but we have joined this, uh, group and there's going to be a, and we've also made a commitment to join. What's called the SME climate hub. So this, this is going to be launched soon, and it's going to provide those tools and services that, you know, tools and solutions that I talked about because the SMEs are, don't have access to information, you know, that, that like we big companies do. Right. So, so their challenges are different. Um, so that's one example. Um, the second one is climate action. So Ericsson approach Ericsson's approach, we're an engineering company, right? So our approach is driven by data and it's driven by science. Um, so Ericsson has set a target to become carbon neutral for company operations by 2030.

BJ (11:55): Awesome. Yeah. And we also have goals to ensure that our products, the products that we make that sit on our customer's networks and run the run, the communications industry as it were, um, are also efficient. Um, so we have a goal to have our 5g product portfolio to be 10 times more energy efficient than our 4g portfolio. Um, you know, and then we have a goal to have our Ericsson radio system. So the radio systems that we have now to be 35% more energy efficient than the legacy portfolio by 2022, and these goals are aligned with, with science based targets. So it's our science based targets. Um, so you know, these goals are examples from a climate action perspective. Um, then from a digital inclusion standpoint, Ericsson is an advocate for developing solutions that improve broadband affordability and accessibility and connectivity. Um, you know, we've, we've recently joined in a partnership with, uh, or join the UNICEF Giga Initiative, um, that was launched just earlier this year, um, around, uh, you know, and the ambition of the giga initiative is to connect every school to the internet and every young person to the information technology and then the opportunities that come out of it.

BJ (13:11): So, you know, real quick snapshot, like three things that we're doing.

AS (13:16): I think that's so apropos for what we're dealing with right now during coven and all of the hundreds of millions of students around the world who are, and they're poor parents trying to get them back into school and getting an education, right.

BJ (13:31): Me in them. Right. If you think about it, um, I am fortunate to live in a place where my daughter has access to technology and she has access to connectivity. But if you think about even here in Dallas, where I am, there are parts of this city that have kids that don't have that same access that my daughter does. Right. Um, so it's a big social, um, you know, inequity that exists. Um, and we'll talk about it later I'm sure,

AS (13:59): Absolutely. Okay. So let's, I want to drill down a little bit on some of the sustainability and corporate responsibility focus areas. Okay. So tell me about Ericsson's circular economy approach. And when I say circular economy, what I mean is I'm taking, designing, taking products and designing out waste so that there is less waste and that we can take materials that are already used in products, such as cell phones, computers, hardware, et cetera, and reuse them. So TLDR sending less to landfills and reusing material.

BJ (14:43): Right. And I think, and that's exactly right. Right. And that was actually one of my light bulb moments, moments. Um, so I would advise the, I, you know, I would, I would ask, you know, read our listeners were interested, um, you know, watch the Ted talk that bill McDonald gave on interface carpet. And it was a carpet company and how it's transformed into being a cyclical and a circular company. Um, and, and that kind of started the cradle to cradle movement. Um, so it's an awesome Ted talk, really advise people to look at it. Um, but yeah, I mean, from a circular economy perspective, it's like, I think about it like a tree, right? The leaves that the tree has, they perform the function of photosynthesis, but then when they're done, they drop the decay and the reabsorb, there's no landfill where it leaves have to go right there. They're part of the circular economy. Um, so again, like I said, you know, our principal, uh, you know, our approach is science-based and we have been using, um, life cycle assessments as the tool to think about circular economy approach. Um, and we, we do these life cycle assessments to really understand where a company's social and environmental impacts lie. Right.

AS (15:55): Just for if, for anyone who doesn't know what a life cycle assessment is, that means you're actually, you're analyzing the, the, the life of a product. Right. And the, the environmental impact of that product through the entire span of its quote life. Right.

BJ (16:12): Right. So in our case, we, we look at the life cycle from a company perspective. So we're looking at, you know, the use stage of the product, the impact that our company has during that stage, do you state, where does it go when it's in its youth stage, does it use energy? How is that energy use? What is the impact? And then what happens to it when it reaches this end of state? So, you know, it's a metric, or it's an approach that companies use to kind of like get down more tactical and figure it out, you know, what a circular economy mean for us.

AS (16:43): And I think that that informs having that assessment informs, you know, with that data informs how you can make products better.

BJ (16:52): That's right. That's right. Yeah. Yep. You know, once you know where your impacts lie, then you can come up with strategies to mitigate that impact or minimize it or resolve it. What have you, that's so awesome. Right. Let's talk about products. So our life cycle assessments have shown us that the biggest impact that Ericsson is a company has, is when our product center that are in the use stage, they're in our customer's networks and they're using energy. Right. So, so what we've done is that we have developed this framework called breaking the energy curve. So when you think about, you know, when you think about, um, you know, the impact of digital networks, um, overall about $25 billion are spent annually in energy costs to run mobile networks. So that's a bigger than the GDP of some countries, right? And that's now right now with, with what's going to happen is that we have predicted that the mobile, the global mobile data traffic is going to grow five fold by 20, 25, four years from now. Yeah. Five, four, four, four years from now. And we have seen this every time we have introduced a new G three G two G four G five G you know, we've provided more services, we've provided more coverage, more technology, more solutions, but it's come at a cost. The energy usage has gone up. So what Ericsson has done is that we have developed this approach called breaking the energy curve, which has different solutions that can help our telecom operators break the energy curve, meaning decouple data growth from energy usage.

AS (18:31): Okay. So data usage goes up and data need goes up and energy stays the same or decreases that's what I'm hearing

BJ (18:40): Is flat or goes down and how that happens or where they end up is dependent on many things, you know, network deployment, you know, stretch all that kinda stuff.

AS (18:51): Well, I think that's huge because here's the thing we're never going to need less data. I would assert, right? Yeah. On the planet we are now, we're never going to need less data. So there comes a point when the, I forget the term, but there comes a point when from a business perspective, there's, it's, it's cost prohibitive. That's what it was. It's cost per cost prohibitive from a business perspective to have those be coupled together. That's a real problem.

BJ (19:20): Yeah. It's a big driver. It's a big driver

AS (19:22): Driver problem. Yeah. Opportunity,

BJ (19:25): Right. Opportunity, challenges or opportunities. So, so the way we to kind of think about this, so what our sector, the ICT sector, along with operator customers that we have are doing is that we're doing two things. One is that we're investing heavily in renewable energy. So 90% of atypical operators, telecom operators, emissions come from electricity used to power their networks. So the fastest way for them to decarbonize is to switch to renewable energy. So you can see companies like at and T Verizon and T-Mobile have made huge investments in renewable energy, um, large, renewable energy contracts that they have signed. The second aspect of that is energy efficiency. And that's what Ericsson has a role to play. So, you know, we talked about those goals that we have 10, 10 X, more efficient, five G networks than 4g that's where Ericsson comes into play. So, you know, by, by leveraging this, um, breaking the energy curve approach, you know, operators can modernize their networks, which from old components to new components, right.

BJ (20:26): Which are more energy efficient from a throughput standpoint. So they push more out, more data out using less energy. And then on top of that, they can deploy solutions like, um, that enable, you know, software solutions that enable, you know, efficiency. So you can have radios that are networks that go down when the traffic is not there. And then they come back up when the traffic is there. So the network goes from always on to on when you need it. And right. So if you deploy those solutions and like you said, you could, you know, you're going to get towards a scenario where there either it stays flat or reduces based on how aggressive you get.

AS (21:03): So what does this mean? So for the average, the average person, right. If say I'm not AT&T we're not Verizon, um, what are, what's one of the implications of breaking the energy curve for consumers?

BJ (21:17): That's a good question. So, so the idea is that the solutions that we along with our operators are deploying, make it seem seamless to you guys, right. An average consumer cares about is the data available when I need it, is the coverage there when I need it. And can I do what I need to do on the, on the network? Right. Right. So, so we're doing all of this innovation to make sure that for you, the experience is seamless and doesn't impact your life. But yet on the other side, we're being smart in how we're running the network so that we reduce the environmental impact and, you know, make it more cost efficient for operator customers to, to run their business. Yep. So best case scenario, you never find that this happens.

AS (22:04): Oh my gosh. Like be the unsung heroes data. Well, I mean, okay. Thinking, I'm just thinking, since COVID in the amount of reliance on data and on networks that has increased 15 to, I mean, just for, for people right. In our, how we live our lives, our lifestyles that's increased 10 or 15 fold in the last six months. So what you're saying is best case scenario, none of us ever know any of this happened and that it actually makes our lives better and easier. Yes. Yeah. Well, there you go. Okay. So there's breaking the energy curve. I want to, um, there's two things that I want to touch on. One is e-waste. Okay. Tell us about e-waste and how Ericsson mitigates EPA.

BJ (22:58): Yeah. So I mean, electronic waste is waste that has gone up as electronics have become more and more part of our life. Right. Um, just like everything else in life,

AS (23:09): Pretending like someone, like, if, if I didn't know what E waste is, what would, how would you explain that

BJ (23:15): Electronic waste? So electronic components, you know, old laptops, you know, old cell phones, iPhones that are, that people are hanging on to, um, you know, any, any type of electronic waste routers, switches, all of that kind of stuff. Yeah. So e-waste is a big problem, right? And it's projected to grow in North America, um, as people get online more and more so from a, from a, again, going back to that life cycle, we're talking now about the end of life, right? When our products to the end of life. So what Ericsson has is that we have a global program it's called the product take back program. It's available to all Ericsson customers globally, and all Ericsson products can be recycled through this program at no cost by our customers. That's awesome. Right. And, and what we do is that we take these products back and we recycled them responsibly with suppliers that we know and trust that are doing this in the environmental responsibility way, but also from a social responsibility point of view, um, we would then recycle these components and we issue a certificate of destruction to our customers so that they know that these components were indeed destroyed.

BJ (24:25): And, and, you know, they don't have, they don't have to worry about it ending up somewhere in the landfill or something like that, you know? Um, and then the data, right, and these components sometimes have data. So we make sure that the data is discarded. And we, you know, we treat that in the, in the responsible sense too. So, so that's how we've been managing it now in our 2019 sustainability report. And I'm going to pull that up right here when we, as we talk, um, you know, we, we report this data. So in 2019, approximately 1% of all of the equipment that came through this product take back program, went to the landfill. So only 1% went to the landfill, all of the

AS (25:08): 99% of products away from landfills.

BJ (25:13): No, but I want to be clear. So our customers have a choice, right? They can either use the product take back program or, or participate in some other recycling program on their own. So the data that we have available is what came through our product take back program. And you're right. 99% of that was diverted from the landfill to reuse recycling or waste to energy. Um, and you don't get this result at the end by chance, right? So we get these results because we're designing our products for this assembly. They're designed to be disassembled, um, and recycled, which is why we get that result.

AS (25:52): Well, I think that's, Oh man. Okay. So if you're listening, look, I will talk about this at the end, but if you're listening, this is the easy way to make sure that you're proud of the products you use have another life. And bonus is that who likes old electronics taking up space in their garage or their closet or their office, nobody, nobody does at all. So I think that's a huge opportunity. And, um, I have a question for you. Maybe it's provocative. I don't know, but I'm going to ask it so let's get real people are freaking out about five G and they're saying that I've heard theories that five G caused the wet markets in China to like coronavirus and I've heard five G is going affect us, affect our brains and affect our health. So do you have anything to say on that matter? Cause I'm sure you've heard a to Z all of the theories around five G.

BJ (26:56): Yeah. So, you know, I mean, there's a lot of noise out there right on this topic. Um, and, and, you know, I think I can, I can talk about like kind of three things, right? Like three key messages. There is a large amount of research that has gone in to this topic. Um, over 50 years, we have done a large amount of research on radio waves and health. Um, and the exposure guidelines that have been established have been driven by this research number two world health organization, and other experts have concluded that there is no scientific basis or scientific evidence to demonstrate any health effects associated with radio waves. Mobile phones are base stations, the products that Ericsson develops, right? All of our products comply with these standards that have been set. Um, so the radio wave exposure levels from our products are in compliance with guidelines that have been set by health organizations and by governmental bodies.

BJ (28:00): So, you know, I mean, people need, I think what I would advise people to do is to do a little bit of research, right? If, if they go to, they can read up on this information. I'll kind of give you two quick quotes, right? And this is world health organizations, conclusion and mobile phones. They have done a large number of studies and over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risks and to date, no adverse health effect has been established as being caused by the use of mobile phones. And the same thing is about base stations. So when you, when you're driving around in look, you know, you see those towers where you do see radios mounted on it, the cell phone towers, the very low exposure levels, um, and the research results that have been collected collected today, there is no, again, there's no convincing, scientific evidence that we create radio frequency signals from base stations have any adverse effect on anybody's health. Um, you know, so we take a look, you know, we, we, again, like I said, we're a science based company, we're an engineering company. So when our, when we deploy our networks, we make sure that our products and the deployment is in line with FCC guidelines, with the guidelines that have been set for exposure. So that's, that's kind of the factual information out there. Um, so yeah, I would ask people to look at the science, um, and not the spin

AS (29:33): Well, and the other thing is, you know, I personally, um, tend to get a little lounged up when I think about my screen time, which is really just personal habit anyway. So that's something that's more personal, I guess. Um, okay. So let's talk about the third pillar. Ericsson's third pillar. I want to, uh, I want to get into that a bit more granular. It's called digital inclusion. So what does digital inclusion mean to Ericsson? Why is it important for sustainable development?

BJ (30:08): I, this is like personally important for me. Um, you know, um, so the way Ericsson looks at this is that we are an advocate for improving mobile broadband affordability and accessibility, um, because it meets a lot of societal need education, help, humanitarian response, you know, access to information and education are critical to achieving all of this UN sustainable development goals, right? So if you have access to education, then you have the ability to develop the innovations that we need to develop in order to meet the climate challenge without education, not thing matters.

AS (30:50): Well, especially today, I mean the education of the children and junior high students, high school students, college students, young adults is crucial too. Like they are the future, right? So if, if it's up to them to carry on these sustainable development goals, they need to have the tools to be able to do that.

BJ (31:13): That's right. Yeah. Do you need to have the, you said they need to have the tools to be effective, but you know, so the, so the way I kind of look at it is that, you know, people always think like America, U S you know, like North America, the United States and Canada were developed, developed world countries. And this is not a challenge in, in, in our geography. Right. But I mean, but that's kind of far, far from the truth, right? So the digital divide is very persistent in, in North America and it disproportionately impacts rural and minority communities. So I'll show, I'll throw some stats out at you, you know, 35% Americans in rural areas, lack of broadband access, 35%, 35%, 21 million Americans lack access to high speed internet. And the same is in Canada, about 63% rural, rural Canadians access, reliable, or can't access, reliable internet. So, you know, this is a gap, right? That exists. It's a, it's a persistent challenge. It is not a challenge that was created in one year. And it's not a challenge that's going to be solved in a year. You know, we need to be delivered about this, but yeah. So that's kind of the, that's kind of setting it up, you know, what are your thoughts?

AS (32:31): Well, I think I'm just thinking, you know, part of, one of the barriers against sustainable development, or, um, even the average person's commitment or, or action around driving sustainability is that if you wake up in the morning and you're just trying to figure out how you can get internet to connect, to do your job, or you're trying to get, you don't have the tools to be able to get your education to learn. It's it perpetuates us being in survival mode and being reactive to things rather than being able to be proactive and be able to innovate and, and be able to have three choices in front of us and be able to choose the more sustainable one. Like I say, with, um, an example I always go back to is if, um, if a family is struggling to put food on the table, they're probably not going to be prioritizing getting the plastic out of the ocean.

AS (33:33): So, right. So, um, yeah, and to be honest, I've always been kind of weary of technology. Things like artificial intelligence really freak me out, but what I'm getting from this conversation is podcasts. Oh, I know. Yeah. And I'll, uh, yeah, but I, I'm kind of weary of technology in some ways. And I think what I'm getting from this conversation is that we can't make the difference we want to make by working alone. And part of being in today's society technology really allows us to be a team and work together and to have access to each other. So yeah, I'm, I'm in.

BJ (34:18): Yeah. And I mean, and like I was saying, you know, the, the challenges exist and, you know, one of the interesting things that Ericsson is uncovered in our own research on this topic is that just a 10% increase in mobile broadband adoption results in 8.8% increase in GDP for our community, the grass. So, so like, if you think about the number of people that are unconnected, and if there's a way that they do get connected, that's going to have a real impact on their lives. Yeah. Huge, huge,

AS (34:51): Well, I mean, it, even something that, you know, from at face value might not seem like is there's a tech real technology need, it's like farming. What if, what, what would that do for farming and food production? What would that do for, um, I don't know, uh, for apparel companies looking to, to track where their products are, all of that. So it, there really is no top to the mountain there seemingly, but I think the, the piece of it, um, regarding human behavior, it's really up to how people interact with technology that will it, or how they choose to, and, you know, ways parents can be about it with their kids and all that stuff. So that's a whole separate conversation.

BJ (35:42): Yeah. And we can, we can kind of get into that, but I want to make sure that I leave the view. You know, the listeners would kind of, you know, a couple of these things that I think are important. So I think the first thing is that, you know, the digital industry or the digital sector, right. The sector that we belong to only accounts for 1.4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Um, and we talked about how the generations of, you know, three G two G four G have evolved more subscribers, more data we've managed to keep our emissions flat as a sector at 1.4. The really cool thing that I get interested excited about is the potential. So the ICT sector has the potential to enable 15% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by enabling other sectors like buildings and transportation, to just leverage the power of technology, to be radically more energy efficient and drive carbon emissions down. You know, um, the objective that I think, you know, that we have to meet to avoid climate catastrophe is that we have 10 years. So from 2020, until 2030, we need to have, or reduce our emissions by 50% and then keep reducing emissions by 50% each decade to reach net zero by 2050.

BJ (37:00): And the digital sector has a huge role to play in helping all of the sectors transform and move towards decarbonization and net zero.

AS (37:09): Well, and I think so that's on the, on the business side of things and on the corporate side, and even on the policy side, um, just to, just to what I also want to leave listeners with is some actions that they can take. Right. So how can consumers leverage technology and connectivity to lead a more sustainable life?

BJ (37:32): Yeah. And, and, you know, I think the answer to that question is that we're doing that already in some ways. Right. Um, so if you think about what COVID has done is that I think COVID has, you know, accelerated digital transformation for the whole world, right. You know, you know, companies that weren't as digitally savvy or forced to be digital savvy students, teachers, parents weren't have to now. Um, so I think one of the things that we could do is, you know, leverage this technology to replace in-person business meetings that we might have. So, you know, next week we're going to have a virtual meeting of all of my peers, people who work in sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson, and we're going to have a virtual meeting, um, instead of being in person in Stockholm. So we're going to rely on zoom and Microsoft teams to basically do the work.

BJ (38:26): We need to do what we do remotely. So, you know, think about that, right? Every, every business meeting that you do it, can you, can you do that remotely? We are doing that when we bounce back from covert, can we keep doing that? And that's going to be a huge impact. Um, you know, then the other thing that I think is important, and this is kind of an emerging thing is like peer to peer sharing economy. So you have things like rent the runway, you know, it's the ability of technology to connect people with, with people who want stuff and who have stuff and can share it with each other. I think it's going to be transformational. You know, I think the younger populations, the millennials, you know, are interested more in experiences than owning stuff, right. So, so we've already reached peak stuff in this world and stuff. And so the sharing economy is going to allow us to, you know, exchange goods services along with ideas that we do now. Right. So, so I think that's

AS (39:24): Leaning into, um, any, any companies that have shared models. Right. So, um, being able to rent something and give it back or to, uh, you know, split usage of something with someone else through technology. Right. That, yeah.

BJ (39:42): Um, and then, and then you talked about this a little bit, but, you know, you know, with all of us being online, sadly, one of the things that happened happened is that children, there has been an increase in children being exploited online. Um, and this is a challenge that I think all parents like me have to, um, have to learn to cope up with and be, and be effective and create a safe, online experience for our children. So I think one of the organizations that I would suggest is that, you know, Ericsson has partnered with a nonprofit called the childhood foundation. And this was a foundation that started by queen Silvia of Sweden that has developed an app that anyone can download on their phone, you know, just look, look for childhood foundation in the app store. Um, and it's going to provide guidance and information about how do you spot child abuse and then what, so what resources and actions should you take if you do spot it?

BJ (40:34): Um, so I think it's a tool that people can leverage. Um, you know, the other thing is that there's an organization called faucets family, online safety Institute. Um, and they have a digital tool kit that you can download and learn how to be more effective at creating a safe, uh, online experience for your children. So I think those are, those are two things that I would encourage people to do. Um, and then finally, I think, you know, from going back to that theme of the digital divide, you know, we kind of touched on the lack of connectivity that people have, but, you know, there's also a big device gap. So, you know, some of the key stats that I had kind of looked up is that there's a large portion of people in, in rural America that don't have devices. So if there's technology, if there's connectivity available, if it's affordable, you still need a device to use it. So, you know, find organizations where you can go and donate your old laptops and tablets, um, you know, they're going to refresh it and they're to go give it to people who don't have them, you know, and that will make online learning experience better for people. So, you know, some, some quick kind of examples that I think the viewers can take action on.

AS (41:43): I love that. And, um, I, I particularly am interested in the, uh, resources for parents because there is that, um, a bit part of technology is how do you raise kids to be responsible and to have empowerment with technology in a world that can sometimes be kind of brutal online. Yes. So what do you want to leave listeners with

BJ (42:12): You? You weren't, you, you want me to have some profound closing thoughts?

AS (42:16): Yes, absolutely.

BJ (42:18): You know, I think so. And I think you said this, right. Like, I think that, you know, technology has been, and connectivity has been such a transformational, um, you know, functioning, you know, tool in our life. Um, it's, it's a, it's a, it's like any technology, right? It has its own, it has its positive. It has its negatives. Um, just, you know, we need to be responsible in how we use it to drive better social and environmental outcomes. Cause it has that potential. And then, you know, look out for things like we, we talked about, you know, from, from online safety, um, you know, so I think those things are important. Um, you know, just be safe, I think with covert happening right now, leverage the technology again, if you don't need to be in person somewhere, you can leverage technology to do that, you know, same business function safely and remotely. Um, so yeah, I mean, I think, I think that's what I have for people.

AS (43:10): So what I'm hearing is just, I think looking at how you've used technology in the past and how you could be more intentional and responsible with it in the future. Right. Yeah. Awesome. Perfect. That was super profound. Um, well thank you so much for being with us today. I got a lot out of this conversation and uh, let's talk about AI and all that other, all those other juicy conversations.

BJ (43:41): Yeah. That's a different podcast and, and we have some really good people at Ericsson that could talk to about that too.

AS (43:47): Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much. And I look forward to talking with you soon.

BJ (43:53): Sounds good. Thank you. Thank you.

AS (43:57): From the bottom of my ego heart. Thank you so much for being with me today. I can't wait to see what we create together. If you loved what you heard and are hungry for more, don't forget to click subscribe in this app. Also, I want to hear from you, tell me your burning sustainability questions, or even what's inspiring you by following me on Instagram at get real with a S or liking the get real Facebook page. Talk to you soon.

1 view0 comments