The major life cycle climate impact from Ericsson relates to products when they are used by our customers. Based on Ericsson research we know that the total energy bill for mobile networks globally is around 25 billion USD. Mobile data is expected to grow 4–5 times by 2025. To help our customers manage the deployment of 5G to cope with this exponential growth, we developed a model called “Breaking the energy curve”.
As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erik Josefsson.
Erik Josefsson has a passion for Industry 4.0 and is leading Ericsson’s Industrial IoT & 5G offering to manufacture and process industries. He is based at Ericsson HQ in Stockholm, Sweden and globally responsible for Advanced Industries.
Erik has always been active in 5G for industries programs where he had the role as “Head of Business Innovation”. driving the commercialization of autonomous vehicles and 5G industrial site deployments.
Prior, Erik worked 3 years in the US as Senior Account Manager and Chief of Staff for Ericsson sales to AT&T. He was driving IoT innovation in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, led Connected Car initiatives and was responsible for the Smart Sustainable Cities Alliance. Erik was also based in Malaysia 1 year as Head of Proactive Services and responsible for the South East Asia region.
Before joining Ericsson, Erik was a Committee Member at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, did military service as Staff Sergeant at the Swedish Armed Forces and volunteered at Surfing the Nations in Hawaii. Erik holds a Master’s degree in Business and Economics from the University of Gothenburg, Singapore Management
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always had a passion for technology, to do things people considered as “impossible” and make it happen. I started my journey at Ericsson in Singapore as an intern, then got the opportunity to work across South East Asia and the U.S. I’ve spent my career focusing on the new opportunities that big data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and now 5G bring to industries. Today, I am leading our effort in Advanced Industries to accelerate digitalization, reduce waste and enable full flexibility with 5G.
What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?
Ericsson’s purpose is to empower an intelligent, sustainable and connected world. Ericsson is a sustainability pioneer in the private sector with over 27 years of sustainability work and research. We base our actions on science and facts and share the growing concern for the climate crisis.
When we work with sustainability we look at three horizons; the first being our own operations and its impacts, the second our portfolio with the full supply chain and our industry’s impact; and the third being how our industry, through digitalization and technologies such as 5G and AI, impact other industries, people and society at large.
Our technology, applied in various industries will have a significant impact in creating a more sustainable world by reducing waste and increasing efficiency with 5G.
Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?
As an enterprise, we know that our own emissions constitute less than 1% of our life cycle impact. However, we recognize that we need to lead by example to be credible when we work with the other emissions in our supply chain and what our industry can do for other sectors. We start with our own impact. Last year we took the decision to be carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030. This was after we had already cut our own emissions by half between 2012 and 2017. We then set a Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) that was approved on a 1.5°C trajectory (2017–2022, 35% reductions in absolute terms).
The major life cycle climate impact from Ericsson relates to products when they are used by our customers. Based on Ericsson’s research we know that the total energy bill for mobile networks globally is around 25 billion USD. Mobile data is expected to grow 4–5 times by 2025. To help our customers manage the deployment of 5G to cope with this exponential growth, we developed a model called “Breaking the energy curve”.
Through Ericsson and other industry research, it’s clear that it will not be possible to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 without utilizing digitalization and technologies such as 5G and AI. The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry’s carbon footprint constitutes 1.4% of all global emissions. We have demonstrated that digitalization can reduce global emissions by 15% in sectors and industries that introduce solutions such as smart grids, control of electrification of vehicles, smart manufacturing, smart buildings, smart homes and reduction of travel
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
Sustainable profit will be the heart of all business decisions moving forward. Today, factories and industries are deploying kilometers of cabling for communication. With 5G, we will be able to eliminate this waste and create fully wireless industrial sites — saving resources and generating sustainable profits.
Not only will industrial sites be more efficient, but they’ll have significantly more impact on their sustainability goals. One example is the production of airplane turbine, BLISK, a manufacturing case where there is an opportunity to improve processes by enabling connectivity through smart sensors in real-time. Introducing 5G into the BLISK case could lead to a significant reduction in production time. This will decrease electricity consumption, which in turn means the potential to decrease annual CO2-equivalent emissions by 360 metric tons if applied to the overall global BLISK production. Higher-quality BLISK production also creates opportunities to reduce fuel consumption and thereby greenhouse gas emissions when operating jet engines. Increased production quality means BLISKs operate more efficiently, reduce fuel consumption and, in turn, lower CO2 emissions. Assuming an average 2% higher efficiency is achieved, global CO2 emissions could be reduced by 16 million metric tons annually. These savings equal the total annual consumption-based CO2-equivalent emissions of approximately 1.4 million people in Sweden, a greater number than the population of the capital, Stockholm. Another way to view these savings is to compare them with flying; 16 million metric tons of CO2 emissions is the same amount of 4.4 million people flying from London to Bangkok would emit. https://www.ericsson.com/en/reports-and-papers/consumerlab/reports/5g-business-value-to-industry-blisk
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father and grandfather always encouraged me to achieve what others think is impossible. To always dream big, work hard, stay positive and to “Do your best and let God do the rest”.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!