Creating Sustainable Products for a Green Economy

16 Sep 2019

world map in plantsCommScope strives to be a great corporate citizen, and one of the ways we do this is to continually improve the sustainability of our products. For example, everyone is calling for action when it comes to reduction of plastic. CommScope is taking steps to tackle this issue, and at IBC, visitors can see examples of how we are removing single-use plastics in Set-tops and Smart Media Devices (SMD) and how we’re incorporating the use of recycled plastics.

And we’re doing more. The following details are from the ARRIS 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report, and center around reduced energy consumption, transition to a circular economy, and eliminating single-use plastics (SUP). CommScope acquired ARRIS on April 4, 2019, and we continue these commitments and initiatives in 2019 and beyond.

“Our global network of research and development teams enables us to draw on a wealth of expertise to push the boundaries in both product design and environmental performance. Our focus on continuously improving our products’ sustainability credentials makes great business sense and adds significant value.” Anthony Zuyderhoff, SVP International CPE

Reducing Product Energy Consumption

The energy our products use is one of our most significant environmental impacts. Our engineers are constantly working to increase the capacity and functionality of our CommScope Network & Cloud (N&C) business units’ products while minimizing energy consumption and increasing space efficiency. The N&C business unit continues to align its product development in support of Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Energy 2020, a multiyear campaign, through the SCTE Energy Management program. This includes reducing power consumption per unit by 20 percent and cutting energy costs by 25 percent per unit.

For the first time in 2018, we reported the average greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our Set-tops and Small Network Equipment (SNE) products. Using 2016 as our baseline year, we reduced the GHG emissions of Small Network Equipment in the US by 11.6 percent in 2017, and by over 20 percent in 2018. We achieved these reductions despite an increase in performance of the newer products, including migration from Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1 and Wi-Fi from Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11n to 802.1ac and IEEE 802.11ax.

Our Set-tops have also achieved significant energy reductions. In 2018, our average GHG emissions per product were 16.3 percent lower compared to 2017 and by 26.2 percent when compared to our 2016 baseline year. Again, the absolute reduction in GHG emissions is despite an increase in features with newer Set-tops incorporating higher-performance Wi-Fi and 4k ultra-high definition (UHD) video processing.

Transition to a Circular Economy

At CommScope, we continue to work closely with our customers on circular economy initiatives to develop products that will reduce the environmental impacts at each stage of products’ lifecycle.  For example, we can design products that benefit from developing technologies, such as the use of plastics derived from recycled materials, while ensuring that the properties of the plastics are appropriate to meeting the products’ requirements. We are also improving the lifecycle of our products by designing them so new features can be added by updating the software remotely without user intervention. This approach has been used to add new features as well as improve energy efficiency by reducing the energy used in standby mode.

Eliminating Single-use Plastics

During 2018, we worked closely with our customers to develop products and packaging that are SUP-free from the start of development. For example, working with a European customer and now more widely adopted, we removed all polybags from products and accessories and added paper bags to the more fragile components to prevent transit damage. We also replaced plastic twist ties with paper alternatives and substituted the cellophane sealing tape that would seal the shipping carton with sustainably-sourced paper. In addition, to replace the polyethylene protection, the accessories are compartmentalized in the packaging to distance themselves from the product and one another to further avoid the risk of damage.

By focusing on initiatives such as these, CommScope is helping to lead the way toward a more sustainable future. Please visit us at IBC (Hall 1, stand B19) to see how we’re eliminating SUPs and using more recycled plastics in our products.