Shaping a Greener Future: The Role of Environmental Sustainability in 6G Technology 

A Call to Action: Embracing Environmental Sustainability in 6G Era  

Megatrends shaping consumer expectations and economics are driving the development of next generation wireless technologies. Integral to these changes is a heightened focus on environmental sustainability.  The impact of climate change is becoming undeniable. Extreme weather and climate disasters in the US last year alone, caused $92 billion in damages1. Energy costs are already among the top expense categories for the telecommunications industry and are projected to increase as the world continues to digitize. Changes in consumers’ value judgements on sustainability, especially in younger age groups, indicate they are willing to pay a premium of as much as 10% for sustainable “green” telco products2

The industry is prioritizing sustainability and has created a science-based plan to achieve Net Zero emissions. The plan first aims to cut emissions by 45% within this decade and ultimately to reach Net Zero emissions throughout their value chain by 2050 at the latest3

As industries, societies, and countries accelerate action to address climate change, the Next G Alliance Green G Working Group is positioning North America as the global leader in environmental sustainability by defining a clear path towards a sustainable 6G ecosystem. This initiative is a shared objective critical for enabling the telecom industry to achieve its Net Zero goals and enabling the decarbonization of key industries.   

This blog explores the pivotal role that environmental sustainability plays in shaping the trajectory of 6G technology. It delves into the innovative strategies and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are driving the industry towards a greener future. And, it highlights the profound positive impact that our collective actions can have on our planet’s fate. 

Catalyst to Drive Change: Transitioning from Sustainability-Aware to Sustainability-Native   

Employing environmental sustainability principles in 6G design and operation is critical for the telecom industry to reach Net Zero emissions. While reaching Net Zero is the main objective, sustainability KPIs provide the ability to benchmark the efficacy of strategies and technologies to reach sustainability-native 6G systems. 

At the heart of these efforts lies a commitment to leveraging Environmental Sustainability KPIs that encapsulate the principles of enhanced observability, circular economy, and empowered choice applied across the value chain. These KPIs serve as beacons guiding us towards a path where every decision and every innovation is infused with awareness of its environmental impact. 

Advanced Observability: Key for Sustainable Decision-Making 

The advanced observability of sustainability KPIs serves as a critical tool to help understand and mitigate our actions’ environmental impact. This involves meticulous tracking of metrics such as energy consumption, carbon footprint, and resource utilization. By leveraging such sophisticated sustainability metrics and monitoring systems, the industry can gain deeper insights into the ecological footprint of telecommunications infrastructure. Through these, the industry will identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to enhance efficiency and reduce waste. Better understanding the environmental impact of our actions helps us proactively make informed decisions to minimize negative impacts. 

Circular Economy: Creating Closed-Loop Systems for Environmental Sustainability 

Circular economy principles underpin our approach to resource management, advocating for the reuse, recycling, and recovery of materials and components. By implementing measurable circular economy practices, we aim to create a closed-loop system where resources are conserved and waste is minimized. This entails designing products and infrastructure with longevity and recyclability in mind, ensuring that they can be easily disassembled, repaired, and repurposed at the end of their lifecycle. By adopting circularity, we unlock new opportunities to innovate and create value, while reducing the extraction of finite resources and mitigating negative environmental impacts. Implementing measurable circular economy practices with KPIs enables us to track our progress towards sustainability goals and identify areas for improvement. This will, in turn, drive continuous improvement across operations, paving the way for a greener, more resilient future. 

Empowered Sustainable Choices: Enabled by Adopting Advanced Observability and Circular Economy  

Embracing advanced observability and adopting circular supply chain strategies will empower informed decision-making and sustainable choices. The result is positive change at both individual and organizational levels. By empowering stakeholders to make informed decisions that align with sustainability goals, we can catalyze a culture of environmental stewardship across the industry. Whether it’s choosing energy-efficient technologies during the standardization of 6G systems, selecting eco-friendly suppliers, reducing environmental impact through quantifiable trade-offs in design choices before deployment, or adopting sustainable business practices, each decision contributes to a collective effort towards a more sustainable future.  Through implementing these sustainability KPIs, automation and network optimization tools empowered by artificial intelligence and machine learning are expected to deliver unprecedented energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, where choice becomes an even more powerful tool for minimizing environmental impact of 6G systems.  

These three dimensions – advanced observability, circular economy, and empowered choice – collectively guide industry actions towards creating a sustainable 6G system. By embracing environmental sustainability as a core value and metric and embedding these principles into our operations, we will lay the foundation for a 6G era that is not only technologically advanced but also environmentally sustainable.  

As we embark on this journey towards sustainable 6G, let us harness the power of technology to create a world that is not only connected, but is also a sustainable world where progress is measured not only by technological prowess, but by our ability to leave a positive impact on the planet that more than 8 billion people4 call “home.” 

ATIS’ Next G Alliance Green G Working Group: Embarking on a Journey to Shape a Sustainable Future, One Innovation at a Time

To learn more about the Green G Working Group’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability in the telecommunications industry and explore our findings, we invite you to read our white papers, available in the 6G Library. Also, visit





Green G Working Group Reports

About the Authors

Bhushan Joshi

Chair at Green G Working Group

Bhushan Joshi is the Head of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility for Ericsson in Market Area North America, where he helps drive the global strategy around corporate responsibility, climate action and digital inclusion. With over 15 years of professional experience, he is a recognized expert in corporate sustainability, business development, energy management, renewable energy, sustainability reporting, strategy development and program management. At Ericsson, Bhushan focuses on developing strategies to help telecom service providers achieve their energy and sustainability goals amid the transition to 5G and the growth in mobile data traffic. He serves as Chair of the Next G Alliance Green G working group, positioning North America as a global leader in environmental sustainability for wireless technologies like 6G. Bhushan has been recognized for his innovative work, winning Ericsson's 2021 Top Performance Competition for the USA 5G Energy-Smart Factory's sustainability impact. An experienced public speaker, Bhushan has presented at prestigious events like Mobile Word Congress Americas, Techonomy, Network X, GreenBiz and IEEE conferences. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Business Practices from Duquesne University and engineering degrees from Ferris State University and Bharati Vidyapeeth University. Bhushan enjoys welcoming new connections on LinkedIn to discuss his passion for creating a more sustainable world.

Gagandeep Bhatti

Vice Chair at Green G Working Group

Gagandeep Bhatti is a Senior Staff Standardization Specialist in 5G-Advanced and 6G technologies at Nokia, with over 16 years of experience spanning 3G, 4G, 5G, ORAN (RIC), and now 6G. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Green G Working Group within the Next G Alliance (an ATIS initiative), contributor to the several Next G Alliance Green G initiatives, showcasing his commitment to sustainability in technology. He is actively involved in the research and (pre) standardization of 6G and has made contributions to 3GPP 5G-Advanced RAN1/2 Network Energy Savings (NES), including publications and patent filings. He's an expert in R&D product software design, specification, and network performance optimization with a strong background in NPI technical management. He holds a B.E. and a diploma in Computer Engineering from Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, India.

Ralf Bendlin

Vice Chair at Green G Working Group

Dr. Ralf Bendlin is an Expert Member of Technical Staff in the Advanced RAN Technology, Standards & Spectrum Group within Network CTO at AT&T Services, Inc. Before joining AT&T, he was a Senior Wireless Systems Architect with Intel Corporation and a Systems Engineer with Texas Instruments Inc. He has worked on algorithm development, performance prediction, data-driven RAN optimization and data analysis, systems architecture, spectrum research, and technology strategy for current and next-generation wireless networks and has actively participated in the definition of several global communications standards. Dr. Bendlin holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from the Munich University of Technology in Munich, Germany as well as a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. All degrees are in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Dr. Bendlin is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was a Guest Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking (TCCN) and the Technical Program Chair of both the IEEE GLOBECOM 2019 Workshop on High-Dimensional, Low-Resolution Architectures for Power-Efficient Wireless Communications and the 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks. He served as presidential appointee on the Advisory Council of the College of Engineering and is currently a member of the Industry Advisory Council of the Department of Electrical Engineering, all at the University of Notre Dame. During his career Dr. Bendlin has received several awards, most recently the AT&T Science and Technology Medal.

Ian Deakin

Principal Technologist at ATIS

Ian Deakin has a 30-year career in the ICT industry, with a long-standing track record working with companies globally to define new product and service propositions, implementing emerging technologies to deliver new business lines. Before his current role at ATIS, he worked with executive-level leadership at innov8id to help organizations use blockchain innovation to facilitate change, optimize performance and productivity, and create new business models. Prior to this, he held senior management positions leading product and technology strategies with iconectiv, CMG Telecom, Motorola, O2, and Siemens Nixdorf. He has filed three patents in the ICT area. His most recent work at ATIS involves leading the organizations’ initiative to devise and deliver a solution using DLT to help combat fraudulent/spoofed telephone calls.