9 June 2023

Crossed Wires: Revolutionizing the Sustainability of Telecommunications

SIM Card Packaging
network interconnectivity

How is bespoke packaging revolutionizing the sustainability efforts in the telecommunications industry? As a market that relies heavily not only on natural ores, but also on continued expansions within technology that often have a negative impact on the environment – is there any way in which the telecommunications sector can regain a sustainable image? One which ultimately does contribute a positive effect to the climate crisis.


It would be difficult to have this conversation without a word on e-SIMs – the latest market disruptor in the telecommunications industry. These embedded SIM cards are not only incredibly effective in reducing the space taken up by chips in the mobile’s body, (leaving space for a bigger memory, or other capabilities). They don’t require a physical connector, they don’t require a customer to go in-store or wait days for a SIM card to arrive – in fact, they are changing the market in every way and ensuring that operators offer increasingly competitive options to their customers. e-SIMs mean that users can have more than one number attached to their device, they can enable M2M, (Machine 2 Machine) connectivity with IoT (Internet of Things) technology, they can also install 8 different e-SIM operators – it’s predicted that by 2025 35% of all connected devices will be using e-SIMs. If you want more information on e-SIMs and their impact on the telecommunications and mobile device markets, make sure you check out the article on the BPAK blog, e-SIM: The Future Of Telecommunications


Sustainability efforts in the telecommunications industry have been going on for a while, it’s well known that while the product of the telecommunications industry is invisible, the connectors are not. It was estimated that smartphones alone would produce 146 million tons of CO2 in the year 2022, globally the telecommunications sector is responsible for 3-4% of CO2 emissions, (that’s twice the amount of emissions created by civil aviation) and in 2021 SIM cards alone accounted for 560,000 tons of CO2. That is not only a huge carbon footprint, it’s also one which tracks across businesses in different markets.

Global data traffic is expected to grow by 60% – this isn’t going to decrease the amount of emissions in the telecommunications industry, instead it is more than likely going to increase it. If the internet were a country, by 2024 it is estimated that it will be the 2nd worst polluter after China. As well as impacting their own sector, telecommunications have a heavy influence over other sectors as well, often with a very symbiotic relationship – and that influence is only going to grow. So what can be done?


Packaging is a big part of the visible side of the telecommunications industry. Consumers get packaging for their phones, they get packaging for their SIM cards, (and e-SIMs too will still need to be packaged if brands are to get ahead in such a competitive market) they get packaging for their broadband, etc.

Everything visible that a telecommunications company sells comes down to packaging. And packaging is definitely where the industry can cut their carbon footprint.


So how do you make sure that you are offering your customers something they’ll love that doesn’t decrease in quality, but is also sustainable and ethically made? In this, e-SIMs will be a big step forward, reducing plastic consumption, shipping emissions and the entire lifetime cost of a product. All this product requires is a QR code, which can be printed with soy or algae inks on recycled or FSC/PEFC certified card packaging. Similarly, with other products, the secondary packaging can be as sustainable as technology will allow, especially with the growing capabilities within the eco flexible packaging industry, (for more information on sustainable flexible packaging options you can read the article Myth Buster: Flexible Packaging on the BPAK blog). This means that at least within the packaging of products, the telecommunications industry will be able to mediate its carbon footprint. Data and server farms are huge creators of carbon, due to the technology being relatively new, it is a largely unknown quantity where sustainability efforts are concerned.


While many of the areas of the telecommunications sector are new, and advancing with technology in a way that will only increase the carbon footprint of the entire industry – packaging is the area where technology is positively impacting not only the way it is being produced but also how it is being used and got rid of. SIM card holder packaging and e-SIM packaging are a huge way to change the sector’s footprint, and that’s just the beginning.


If you are a mobile network operator looking for new SIM or e-SIM packaging, get in touch with the BPAK team today to find out more about how we can help to get your brand’s packaging to the next level, without harming the environment.