Focus on increased environmental friendliness of products together with our customers
Together with our long-term customers, such as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and several others, we have applied ecodesign principles and implemented multiple improvements in their next product design.
The situation: Increased focus on ecodesign and products with reduced footprint
During the last financial year (2022/23), we had focus on assessment and mapping of improvement potential from future ecodesign developments. We have conducted several interviews with key customers, to better understand their sustainability priorities. This proactive approach was welcomed by our customers, and the next step is to further strengthen knowledge sharing and align on common goals.
Looking ahead, the EU’s updated ecodesign directive will enter into force and will further accelerate the work with ensuring increased environmental friendliness and circularity, through e.g., substance reporting and management, repairability, spare parts availability, etc. We have started implementing enhancements to our development processes and will continue our focus and efforts on this front.
The solution: Close collaboration with our customers
In collaboration with our customer Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, we have applied ecodesign principles and implemented multiple improvements in their next generation base station. Redesign of the electronic and mechanical parts of the product enabled a decrease of more than 30% of the product weight. Furthermore, the new design involved powering the base station via its network cable, which allowed the customer to remove the power accessories that were provided with earlier generations of the product. Overall, the improvements resulted in more than a 70% reduction in the weight of the product package transported. Due to the reduced size and clever packaging, this enabled our customer to reduce the volume of the product package transported by more than 80%.
Our strengthened focus also led to a collaboration with another customer, where we have designed, developed, and produced a headset for their portfolio, with a focus on reduced carbon footprint. This was accomplished via a focus on modular design and durability.
Modularity is key to sustainability as it enables repairs and updates without generating needless waste. If a single part wears out, it can be replaced, as opposed to replacing the entire headset, thus reducing electronic waste. Also, by using a replaceable battery we can extend the product lifetime as it is no longer limited by the typical battery lifetime. Lastly, a modular design enables software updates to incorporate new technology – also extending product lifetime. Another focus area is durability. While repair of individual parts is more sustainable than replacing the entire headset, not having to repair at all would of course be even better. With this in mind, there was also a focus on the sturdiness of the headset, including resistance to water and dust, the ability to withstand drops from certain heights without damage, etc.
The impact: Looking ahead
Looking ahead we continue our focus on environmental friendliness, including solutions for packaging:
- Smaller boxes: All products from RTX are packaged in brown boxes from recycled cardboard, which has not been exposed to chlorine or other chemical substances. We strive for the most compact packaging possible, with a minimum of surplus space, allowing for smaller packages and more efficient packaging in transport. This reduces transport costs per unit and results in less CO₂ emitted per unit.
- Zero plastic: In fall of 2023 we planned, with our partners, to introduce an ambition for ‘zero plastic’ in packaging. This builds on past years’ efforts and initial lessons on identifying ways to substitute plastic bags used inside the recycled cardboard boxes. By making this ambition explicit, we aim to drive strong focus on this both internally and in our collaboration with partners.
Sustainable packaging remains an area of increasing customer interest, and we continue to work with our customers to find new and improved packaging solutions as well as further solutions for environmental friendliness.