MWC’22: Sustainability – the new hot topic in telecoms

Though there was room for more genuine discussions around sustainability, the topic had more of a presence at this year’s Mobile World Congress than previous years. From large incumbents to young start-ups, everyone had something to say on the topic. In this article, we look at some of these ESG initiatives and the companies behind them.

Sustainable development and the telco ecosystem

Sustainable development is not going to be an easy win – it will take years of effort, sacrifice, and cooperation to get there. But the telco ecosystem is becoming increasingly aware of this reality. The sheer number of sustainability-related stands at this year’s Mobile World Congress indicated that it is top of the agenda for telcos and their ecosystem partners, and a key issue that they are striving to address.

In this article, we look at some of the interesting initiatives we saw in Barcelona, and the companies behind them.


Airly is a provider of sensors and a SaaS platform for governments and business to monitor air quality and reduce emissions by alerting when air quality is ‘bad’. Airly sensors measure the air quality in their immediate surroundings and are easy to install. The data that they collect is verified and can be viewed real-time from mobile and computer devices. Additionally, Airly API gives “all interested parties access to real time and historical air quality data thus enabling integration with applications”.

MWC22 Sustainability


Droople is a Swiss start-up that works on full-stack, all-in-one IoT water asset management solutions. The company aims to digitise 36 billion water assets that are currently off-radar. This includes sanitary wear, water treatment systems and appliances. Droople will provide monitoring and predictive maintenance to enable water and energy savings.

MWC22 Sustainability

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MOWEA – Modular Wind Power

MOWEA is a German start-up on a mission to “offer flexible modules for scalable wind energy solutions based on the Lego principle”. The company has developed a modular wind energy system, which enables demand-oriented, efficient and cost-effective energy generation. The system also supports IoT features for “intelligent applications of the future”. The product (see picture below) is well-suited to be placed on tower stations, thus creating the potential opportunity for telcos to use their existing network infrastructure for sustainable energy generation.

MWC22 Sustainability


Nokia unveiled its Liquid Cooling baseband solution, available in the AirScale product line. The solution is designed to make “radio networks more sustainable and cost-efficient by reducing the energy required to cool a base station”. With this product, Nokia claims that it’s possible to cut cooling system energy consumption by 90% and base station CO2 emissions by up to 80%.


Salesforce, the American cloud-based software company that provides customer relationship management software and applications, showcased its Net Zero Cloud product at MWC’22. Net Zero Cloud is a sustainability management software that businesses can use to track, analyse and report their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in a single dashboard. Customers can set and reset targets, review overall emissions and calculate emissions data using energy consumption bills. Users can also collect emissions data from suppliers and track sustainability commitments using the supplier scorecard. You can check out the tool and how it works in practice here.

SK Telekom

At this year’s event, SK Telekom had an entire stand dedicated to the UN’s 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), showcasing different ESG start-ups that are part of the operator’s incubatation programme. These startups address a range of environmental and social issues including food waste management and green mobility.

MWC22 Sustainability

Philip Laidler

Philip Laidler

Philip Laidler

Partner and Consulting Director

Phil specialises in strategic planning, innovation and marketing consulting. He brings over 25 years’ experience in TMT, both as a consultant and business leader with Verizon Enterprise for eight years. Over the past 15 years, he has led over 200 STL assignments most recently focusing on Telco Cloud, Sustainability, Transformation and Growth.

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